Unification News for March 2000

WCSF and The Blessing in Korea

Frank Kaufmann
March, 2000

It is hard to believe it has come and gone. How we prayed, and dreamt, and devoted all our energy and our very lives to the success of True Father's 80th Birthday.

Never has there been such a whirlwind of events each one greater and more cosmically significant than the last. First there was True God's Day for the dawn of the 3rd Millennium, next was the two-part American celebration of True Father's 80th Birthday, and at last the Korean celebration of True Father's birthday, combined with the Convocation of World Leaders at the Fourth World Culture and Festival, and the first stage of the Blessing for 400 million young couples.

Surely our Unification movement was stretched to its very limits. Each member gave his and her life to make all of these once in a lifetime events glorious and victorious for True Parents.

Each nation sought out its best leaders and representatives to send to the international conferences. Each church leader and member poured out his and her heart to find young matching couples for the Blessing. The costs of these events were astronomical, one right after the other. As always Japan gave until it hurt. Bearing vast financial demands, while simultaneously sacrificing its precious mothers to witness in America and elsewhere.

How right it would be if every brother and sister who humbly sacrificed themselves could have been on hand to witness the great and joyous success enjoyed by True Parents and True Family in Seoul.

The Birthday and the World Culture and Sports Festival 2000 consisted of 8 basic events, but the middle section, namely the Special Convocation of the Fourth World Culture and Sports Festival itself had 16 parts!

Eight events

The eight main public events were: 1. The celebration of Father's 80th Birthday itself, which took place in Gymnasium # 1, in Seoul Olympic Park, 2. The Afternoon of Culture and Celebration, in Sejong Cultural Hall, 3. The Opening Banquet of the WCSF Convocation of World Leaders, and 80th Birthday Tribute, 4. The Special Convocation (two day conferences) of the World Culture Sports Festival (WCSF), 5. The World Ministerial Summit at Chung Pyung Lake, 6. The 400 Million couple Blessing in Seoul Olympic Stadium, 7. The WCSF 2000 Commemorative Exhibition in the Little Angels Performing Arts Center, and 8. The Closing Banquet of the Little Angels Performing Arts Center.

Each and every event deserves a whole book unto itself. To provide a brief journalistic account can only do injustice to the sheer wonder of each and every part of this historical occasion. We all have experienced first hand God's own sense of drama. We all know how God must love True Father and Mother. We all know how important and historical these events must be, and how God would want to offer True Parents joy, gratitude, encouragement, and honor on these days. If we know these things, we can already begin to imagine how deep is each story behind these events. How many deep and dramatic testimonies lie behind each guest and each occasion.

It is my hope that many articles will appear in these pages in the issues to come, so that Unification News readers may learn more and more of the wonderful events surrounding True Parents 80th Birthday. Now, however, I will limit myself to the barest account of the events with which I had immediate experience, so that readers may quickly get at least a general sense of these miraculous days under the blessing of God and True Parents.

First it must be said, that all events were well planned, timely, conscientious, and orderly. There was in all cases a strict and respectful adherence to time and schedule which gave the entire occasion an air of maturity and sophistication. Guests were not exploited or dragged through endless and tiring programs. Rather they were treated to elegant and elevated events of high artistic, aesthetic, and rhetorical quality.

Public Birthday Celebration

The Anniversary Ceremony Program in Gymnasium # 1 of Seoul Olympic Park, began at 10:30 am on February 10, 2000. The program consisted in part of introductions, invocation, presentations of flowers, cutting of cake, a video on the life of the True Parents, a commemorative address by Reverend Chung Hwan Kwak, a presentation of the most incredible collection of birthday gifts from all the continents, then plaques of appreciation by representatives of each country.

An important part of this occasion was the presentation of Commemorative Publications. On this occasion a number of important publications appeared. These include those books of True Father's Sermons which brought the number over 300 Volumes (to 304 the story of these publications is an article all to itself). The Fruits of True Love commemorating True Parents' work for peace appeared, as well as the two-volume curators collection of ancient Korean art housed at Sun Moon University. Hopefully True Parents literary record will be presented carefully in the not too distant future.

Prior to the video, Reverend Chung Hwan Kwak offered a Commemorative Address, and after the presentation of publications, Congratulatory Addresses were given by In Gok Hong, Chief Executive of the Korean Buddhist Taegoh Order, and then by Vice President of the United States, Dan Quayle (Vice President in the administration of George Bush Senior).

It was deeply gratifying to me that Vice President Quayle offered True Parents genuine, heartfelt warmth, fondness, and appreciation. Certainly Vice President Quayle was present as an important international guest of honor. But there was no aloofness or distant formality to his engagement with True Father. His remarks were from the heart, and expressive of an honest fondness for True Parents.

The same was true for the Honorable Edward Heath, former Prime Minister of Great Britain, and sitting member of Parliament, who introduced True Father. Prime Minister Heath also made it abundantly clear that he was not on hand merely to perform a tour of duty. Rather he was in Seoul to honor a man whom he profoundly respects and admires, and this too was evident in his warm and gracious introduction of True Father.

Following the introduction by Sir Edward Heath, True Father delivered a path breaking, watershed speech entitled North-South Unification, and World Unification Will be Accomplished by True Love. This is one of those speeches, like the famous I Have a Dream speech of Dr. Martin Luther King, which will prove seminal in altering the course of human affairs.

Opening Banquet

That evening back at the Lotte Hotel, the opening banquet of the World Culture and Sports Festival Convocation of World Leaders. This was attended by approximately 1,500 leaders from overseas and Korea. Perhaps this banquet held the greatest drama for True Parents and the providence from among all the wondrous events which occurred this week.

Dr. Bo Hi Pak was the master of ceremonies. Archbishop Milingo, Director of the Pontifical Council for Refugees and Displaced Persons, from Vatican City, offered the invocation. A new video was shown, and a cake cutting was celebrated once again. At the outset of the program Father received Honorary Doctorates, including from a University in Brazil, as well as a medal of honor. Vice President Quayle once again offered congratulatory remarks and a toast. In the short course of a single day, Vice President Quayle seemed to grow even closer to Father. Later we learned from testimony that Vice President Quayle had taken up a very sincere interest in Father's speeches and Father's life during his time in Seoul.

After dinner Reverend Kwak offered Chairman's Remarks (since he is the Chairman of the World Culture and Sports Festival). Congratulations were also offered by Mr. Ji Won Park, the Minister from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism for the nation of Korea.

Thus coming to the end of the evening President Kenneth Kaunda, former President of Zambia, and often called Father of Modern Africa, was called upon to introduce Father. While this was truly an honor and mark of great glory for True Parents, there was an unspoken, almost secret undercurrent of sadness and disappointment by this point in the program. And the reason for it was this.

The sitting President of Indonesia had promised True Parents that he and his wife would attend True Parents' Birthday. There had been some scheduling difficulties because as a sitting president, he was obliged to attend the State Dinner offered by the President of Korea. His plans were to arrange that the State Dinner be held early, and allow him to depart from there early. He was to be at True Parents Birthday dinner by 8:30 pm.

Now it was 9:30 pm, Dr. Kaunda was just at the final sentence or two in his introduction to Father, and Father was preparing to take the stage.

Just at THIS moment the back doors to the entrance hall opened, and surrounded by military and a big entourage, in walks the incumbent president of Indonesia, His Excellency Abdurrahman Wahid, and the First Lady. What a thrilling moment and a delight.

They were brought immediately towards True Parents' Table, and Father and Mother both arose from their table to come to meet them en route. There one witnessed a fond and warm welcome and embrace.

As President Kaunda completed his remarks President Wahid (or Gus Dur as he is widely known) took the stage and offered a short speech. His opening words were this:

"I am sorry I am a bit late, thanks to this thing called politics. But I can assure you that my heart was here the whole time... My first reason for coming to Korea was because I wanted to be with Reverend and Mrs. Moon on their birthday." Later at the close of his remarks he noted: "I fully subscribe to the views and program of the Reverend and Mrs. Moon."

The other content of his speech was a visionary statement mostly about the visionary, and peace-seeking side of Islam; also very important content in itself.

With that, True Father took the stage to present the Keynote address entitled "The Cosmos is My Hometown and Fatherland."

The Convocation

Technically the convocation of the WCSF had its formal start at the opening banquet. Conference events began the following morning.

Fifteen distinct, world peace organizations co-sponsored the convocation; all founded and maintained by the True Parents. The Family Federation for World Peace (FFWPUI), The Federation for World Peace (FWP), the Federations of Peninsular, Island, and Continental Federations, The International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences (ICUS), The International Relief and Friendship Foundation (IRFF), The Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace (IRFWP), The Literary Federation for World Peace, The Martial Arts Federation for World Peace, The Professors World Peace Academy (PWPA), The Religious Youth Service (RYS), Unification Thought Institute (UTI), The Women's Federation for World Peace (WFWP), The World Media Association (WMA), The World University Federation (WUF), and the Youth Federation for World Peace (YFWP).

All fifteen held conferences within the two day schedule of the WCSF. On average, and virtually across the board, each sponsoring organization convened two 90 minute sessions dedicated to the conference theme of their choice. The exception this time was PWPA, and ICUS, who held full schedules throughout the entire time available for the Convocation.

Prior to the start of the sessions for the particular, sponsoring organizations, an official opening plenary took place. United States Vice President Dan Quayle, British Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, Ugandan Vice President Dr. Specioza Wandira Kazibwe, and IIFWP Chairman Reverend Dr. Chung Hwan Kwak were the speakers at this session.

The Inter Religious Federation hosted sessions with the theme: "The Future of Religion at the Dawn of the 21st Century: Promise and Problems." This program was designed to allow presentations from various, representative, religions. This time they were: Catholic (Professor Hugo Meynel, University of Calgary), Buddhist (Professor Kosen Nishyama, Tohuku College of Social Welfare), Jewish (Professor Richard Rubenstein, University of Bridgeport), Unificationist (Professor Thomas Selover, University of Saskatchewan), and Muslim (Professor Sulayman Nyang, Howard University).

The section was well attended and drew a good deal of interest and participation. Dr. Meynel spoke of the elements of genuine dialogue and interfaith, particularly the requisite intellectual rigors. Dr. Nishyama concentrated in part on the environment, as well as such social issues as care for the poor. Dr. Rubenstein spoke of classical challenges to modernity, as well as the religious response often called "fundamentalism." Dr. Selover spoke of family patterns as the root of genuine religious form and instruction, and Professor Nyang spoke of the genre's of discourse, and the malleable and flexible qualities which allow the great traditions to persist and to remain indispensable and uniquely qualified to respond to a an inner and eternal side of being human.

In addition to the formal presentations from the five panelists listed above, all IRFWP participants prepared papers and statements on the conference theme. Following the panel presentations of the opening session, participants broke out into dialogue groups of 8 - 10 in which they introduced the content of their respective writing and reflections on the issue.

I am sure that all groups would have interesting and exciting information to report about the mini-conferences which occurred under the WCSF in these two days.

The Convocation closed officially following the Sunday morning sessions at 11:30 am. From there participants prepared for a day of different activity.

Blessing 2000

Following an early lunch all Convocation participants boarded buses headed for Seoul's Olympic Stadium. Once again, as with the year before, the weather proved miraculously warm. Now two years in a row, and this year warmer than the last really must have people wondering, and must have opponents of True Parents wondering whether it might be a good time to retire.

Our VIP guests arrived to a full stadium, with 40 - 50,000 couples and the rest guests, friends, and family. The ceremony was crisp, beautiful, and beautifully executed. Like clock-work Dr. Bo Hi Pak led the event through precisely 90 minutes of scheduled procedure and performance.

Prior to the Blessing of True Parents, the millions of couples the world over received prayers of Blessing from 10 great leaders from the world religions.

After this glorious show of profound inter-religious harmony, and genuine cooperation to bring God's Blessings to the Blessed couples, Mother and Father descended the regal stairwell and conducted the sacred rituals to bestow the Blessing and change of blood lineage upon the Blessed couples.

It was a memorable and moving day, not only for those who will mark this day as the start of the Kingdom of God through their couple, but even for all the guests and friends who could witness this glorious event.

Convocation guests were afforded the chance to return to their hotel rooms so that they could change and prepare themselves for the closing banquet at the Little Angels' School

WCSF Exhibition

As we entered the Little Angels' School we were astounded to discover that the entire school had been converted into a museum of genuine, superior quality and sense of curatorship. The displays covered three floors, and did a truly impressive job of captivating the viewer, and communicating at least in small part the utterly astonishing career and life work of Father and the True Parents.

The brochure of the exhibition described its purpose in this way:

In commemoration of Reverend Moon's 80th birthday and the 2000 World Culture and Sports Festival, and exhibition of photographs and other items has been prepared, illustrating Reverend Moon's life course of suffering and victory, and his accomplishments

Although we have done our best to capture the essence of his life and work... it is impossible to do justice to a man of his depth and breadth in the time and space available.

This is humble, and of course accurate. One cannot adequately introduce Father and True Parents no matter how much time one has, but it must be said that the responsible figures for this exhibit did a sterling job, and produced an exhibition which could occupy a visitor for hours and hours.

Included in this sudden museum was an Exhibition of Antique Pottery and Classical Korean Paintings. This too was stunning. Apparently Sun Moon University was the recent recipient of a previously privately owned cache of rare, ancient, Korean art treasure in both painting, and pottery and sculpture.

Guests at the school could only stand in awe of the range of Father's and True Parents' world and life.

Closing Banquet

The Closing Banquet proved to be an extremely full event, with a number of important moments and events taking place. There were traditional activities including the presentation of flowers, and the cake cutting (of perhaps the tallest cake ever! so high that Mother and Father had to mount a small ladder to light and blow out the candles way up top!)

The meal began with the invocation from Minister Benjamin Muhammad from the Nation of Islam. After dinner there were a number of presentations and awards prior to the Founders Address. This time Father presented the talk entitled, "Everybody Wants True Love," thus completing a triptych of "birthday" speeches which will serve as an eternal foundation for the future world.

What might have been a reasonable and appropriate end to the evening's activities proved to be almost a beginning! After Father's speech Pastor T.L. Barrett of the Church of God in Christ in Chicago, USA was then invited up to read the conference "resolution." Pastor Barrett read with great zeal and persuasiveness, point by point, and in so doing, created the opportunity for Master of Ceremonies, Mr. Neil Salonen (President of the University of Bridgeport) to invite Father and Mother to the stage to introduce the founding of two new organizations, namely The Family House of Cosmic Peace and Unification, and The Cosmic True Family Federation. As these were introduced, Father painted the founding calligraphy for each organization. The over 2,000 guests were invited to sign the declaration of support for these federations at they left the Little Angels' School at the close of the program.

Once these organizations were founded and the grandeur of this way of closing the Convocation of World Leaders of the World Culture and Sports Federation was completed, those in attendance were treated to a magnificent program of entertainment. The centerpiece of the program was the breathtaking repertoire of the Little Angels, who have uplifted and inspired everyone from the least of us to Kings and Queens for all the decades of their existence since their founding by Father.

I believe that we as a movement, by the grace of God, were able to make an offering to Father on his 80th birthday that was encouraging and pleasing to True Parents.

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