Unification News for September 2002

SFP Rally at MCI Arena

by Michael Balcomb

As our President, Hyun Jin Moon has often said, real education comes not through the mind but through the heart. It makes sense that the way to learn about the transforming power of service is, well, to serve. And so each of the young participants who came to volunteer in Washington this summer went out to see for themselves what happens when you live for the sake of others.

Broken down into squads of 40 and teams of 7, these enthusiastic young people were soon out in the community, serving schools, churches, senior facilities, youth groups and more. ‘The most amazing thing is that people quickly want to join in themselves,’ said one 15 year old volunteer, ‘and pretty soon they find out that Service is rewarding on many levels, and it’s fun!’

One of the most popular projects was the mobile shop window washing service. The group would go up to a shopkeeper and offer to clean his windows for free with their super-soaker water guns and squeegees.

After the service, an SFP poster would be prominently placed and the team would move on, usually very wet due to the amount of water that was ‘misdirected’ onto the volunteers instead of the windows.

By the last few days of the Summer of Service, there was significant response from the City of Washington DC itself. Led by the Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Paul Vance, more than 20 schools announced a ‘schools readiness day’ and invited volunteers from the community to come and get their schools ready for the new academic year. The Department of Public Works and the Parks and Recreation Department took the challenge seriously enough to provide equipment and materials and a big team of its own workers. In this way a second goal of the campaign was realized, which was to find a broader group of owners, people in society young and old alike who caught the vision of service and put it into practice. There is already great interest in creating a Year of Service together.

Another significant feature of the Summer of Service was that the results were not just something subjectively decided by us, but were broadly recognized by others as well. Shortly after September 11th, President George Bush created the National Student Service Award program and invited young people to fulfill the ‘Gold’ award by completing over 100 hours of community service in a one-year period.

All the volunteers of the Summer of Service reached that goal in just a few weeks and received certificates signed by the President himself. In a separate development, many of them took a few moments to visit their senators and congressmen on Capitol Hill to show the power of service.

Both local newspapers, the Washington Times and the Washington Post wrote very fair articles about the events. Thus, before the first person walked into the MCI Center for the long term goals were already won.

The celebration included a Gospel choir several hundred strong, recruited especially for the event itself. One of the songs, ‘Send Me!’ was written for Service for Peace, and the theme of service as an act of love not only for humanity but for God was repeated several times. The Clouds of Witnesses, a Message of Peace was read to music and then Kenny Muhammad, known as the Human Orchestra, had the crowd on its feet.

Minister Torrey Barrett, son of Rev. TL Barrett of the Family Life Center Church of God in Christ in Chicago was the MC this time. This was another important development, where one of the youngest and newest owners of Service for Peace led the event.

Just a year ago, his father was in Japan speaking at the ‘New Paradigm’ rallies. Now here was his son on fire!

Hyun Jin Moon’s message was brief and to the point. "We have to break down the barriers," he said repeatedly. "We all know they exist, even in this very auditorium. Some of you feel that there is only one true religion. Others think that there will always be a racial div ision, or an economic division. I tell you tonight the answer will never be found in race, politics, economics or even in religion. It has to be found in the realm of heart, and the way to get there is through love and service."

"Forty years ago next year, a young man stood at the Lincoln Memorial and said ‘I have a dream!’ That dream is still not fulfilled. Won’t you join me, and 100,000 others, in making 2003 the year that the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. is fulfilled? And why stop there? Why not fulfill the biggest dream of all, the dream of God to see all his children in every land, living in peace?"

After this stirring call to action, the young people in the crowd just couldn’t sit still anymore and they rushed forward to dance to Go spel sensation Trin- I-Tee 5:7, followed by Axe 6 and their special guest, Hyun Jin Nim who after a quick shirt change was back out on the stage belting out songs from his latest CD and encouraging the dance party that followed. 2003, Here we come!

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