The Words of the Orme Family
The following is full article, entitled "Unified Family" come to Dunsden, from October issue of the "Caversham Bridge" which is a famous religious newspaper in England.
DUNSDEN WOULDN'T EXACTLY REMIND ANYONE OF S. KOREA. UNLESS, THAT IS THEY KNEW ABOUT DORIS ORME. Or unless they'd been to a concert at the beginning of the Reading Festival, where a group of young people from all over the world danced and sang to an audience that only half filled the Town Hall. Which would really amount to knowing about Doris Orme. Because after a sequence of well- performed but amateur pieces she came and sang some Negro spirituals in a way that was distinctly professional.
Other people may have come across Mrs. Orme in the streets of Reading, evangelizing for the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity. Or across other young people who come up in the street and ask if one is interested in religion or philosophy. Dunsden is the local center for all these, where the Unified Family (a less cumbersome name for the Association) moved in to Rowlane Farmhouse beside Dunsden Church in February of this year.
When I arrived at the Farmhouse a storm was brewing. A few heavy spots of rain fell on the car windscreen. Mrs. Orme appeared from a secluded part of the garden with her husband and their baby son. After a family of Kittens had been chased away and the photograph taken, we moved inside. The room had been painted recently in olive green and white. Piles of pamphlets stood on large tables.
"New Singers for a New Age"
The baby got rid of, Mrs. Orme told me about the founder of the movement, Sun Myung Moon. Born in 1920, this South Korean had a vision as a boy. Early one Easter Sunday morning Jesus Christ appeared to him and told him he was to accomplish a great mission on the earth. Many more visions were to follow, satisfying the young man's immense longing to find an answer to the problems of the universe.
He left his home and went to live in the mountains. For nine years he lived there, receiving constant visions that explained many things to him. "On one occasion", said Mrs. Orme "the Spirit filled him so much, he spoke for three and a half hours so fast that it could not all be written down".
In 1954, Sun Myung Moon laid the formal foundation of the Hold Spirit Association in Pusan, second largest city of South Korea. Meanwhile, thousands of miles away in America, twenty year-old Doris Orme was increasingly preoccupied with Christian Unity. She had become a Roman Catholic, but, she said: "Contrary to what many of my Catholic friends thought, I knew that Protestants would be saved; and contrary to what many Protestants thought, I knew Catholics would be saved. They laughed at me sometimes.
As a child, she had been strengthened in these beliefs by occasional visions of her own.
Not till 1960, however, did she meet one of the members of the Holy Spirit Association who had studied directly under the founder and then travelled to America. At this time she was singing in the churches and doing social work. This new contact, however, was to integrate and deepen her Jong-felt convictions, at the same time as it brought an explanation for many of the problems she had puzzled over for a long time. She went to college and became a minister in the Association.
It was in this way that Mrs. Orme found her way to Rowlane Farmhouse in Dunsden. As the thunder cracked outside and the rain poured down I asked her a little about the present state of her movement. She told me there were centers like the Rowlane Farmhouse one scattered throughout Europe, with as many as 23 in Germany. In these centres a group of teachers would be permanently based(there are 8 at Dunsden) and members of the Association would come for "workshop weekends", to be taught about the Bible in the light of the revelations granted to Sun Myung Moon.
The average age of these members is 23, and they can be found all over the world, in all kinds of jobs. By joining the "Unified Family" they learn how to "put God into their lives 24 hours a day". Their lives are simplified, and they are expected, although not obliged, to exercise a certain amount of self- discipline. Many members are ex-addicts, who find new meaning in their lives though joining the Association.
I was interested when Mrs. Orme told me that their prayer was usually aloud. "If the thought is not directed" she said,..
Doris Orme and her party are presenting their spiritual singing of a new age. The Unified Family is an international religious group which was started in South Korea in 1954. The fast-growing organization has its British headquarters in Reading.
"you attract evil spirits". Often they will pray for a certain intention for a fixed number of days. This they call a "vigil".
It became increasingly clear that the Unified Family had an excellent organizational network behind them. Their headquarters is the Washington Center in America, with 100 resident members, who work in close liaison with all other denominations; and they gain, publicity by constant activity. Evangelizing campaigns in the streets, singing in church of any denomination that asks them, services in squares in London and concerts such as the one held in Reading-all these help to spread the message that started in South Korea.
One thing puzzled me, however, as I considered this large 10-bedroomed house which had changed so much from the slightly dilapidated building I remembered. How did the Holy Spirit Association organize its finances? Mrs. Orme laughed at my suspicions. "Oh, we're not rich," she said. Members usually have jobs like anybody else.' Rowlane Farmhouse was rented--"very reasonably, when they saw we kept it in good condition". So much for those who suspect Mrs. Orme and Co. of being yet more Christian capitalists, I thought.
The thunder had by now died away, and the rain outside had stopped. Impressed by this new addition to the local Christian, communities, clearly no haven for the lazy or the escapist, I asked finally whether any members had dropped out. Mrs. Orme admitted some had.
"They soon find they've got to help -- there's so much to do, with services, concerts and lots of other things. If they don't pull up their bootstraps, they just won't last."