Unification News for March 2001

Rev. Moon's 50 City Tour - Boston, MAŚMarch 1

Over 1,000 guests filled the main ballroom at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel for a night of blue ribbons and transcendental love, on this the 5th stop of the "We Will Stand" tour on its way across all of America.

The evening started at 6:00 PM, with the enormous ballroom rapidly filling to capacity. The Master of Ceremonies for the evening was James B. Edgedy, who welcomed the guests and enthusiastically acknowledged the presence of over 80 ministers and 148 "Young Heroes" and their families (Young Heroes of New England is an awards program now in its third year). He explained that Father Moon's first address in Boston took place in 1972, and that this would be the fourth.

An initial musical offering was performed by "MlT/Wellesley Toons". The 19 singers in the group are students from two outstanding schools, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Wellesley College. Following the musical performance, an invocation was offered by Rev. Jerome T. Edgerton of the Rush AME Zion Church in Cambridge.

Following dinner, Dr. Irma Tuuli from Boston University welcomed the "Young Heros of New England", explaining the spiritual basis for love as the primary motivation for public service.

The first award of the evening was the Young Hero Crystal Award, presented to 16 year old Jami Lynn Soya of Gloucester, Massachusetts. Ms. Soya was acknowledged for the continuing care she had provided to her hospitalized friend Melissa Allen for the five months prior to her death last January as a result of a severe head injury. Since Melissa's death, Jamie has raised funds for a scholarship fund she has established in her friend's name.

The Family Award was presented to Reverend and Mrs. Stanley Edwards of Dorchester, Massachusetts. Rev. Edwards is Bishop of the New Testament Church of God and has carried out his ministry in Somerville, Cambridge and Dorchester for over thirty years. He and his wife are active in a local youth ministry and operate a food pantry for the community. They have two children.

The first Community Service Award was presented to Reverend Richard Wright leader of the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Worcester and Mrs. Shirley Wright, Director of Worchester's Human Rights Commission. Together, they have founded the Martin Luther King Jr. Child Development Center, The Martin Luther King Jr. Business Endowment Center and "HEART' an after school project for children. The couple was awarded the "Isaiah Thomas Citizen of the Year Award" for Central Massachusetts in 1999.

The second Community Service Award was presented to Archbishop Dr. Timothy Baymon of the Grand Cathedral Church of Christ (Springfleld, MA). Dr. Baymon is President of World Council of Bishops and is responsible for developing the leadership in a large number of churches throughout the Northeast US. Dr. Baymon attended the event with almost thirty members of his congregation. (Because his group arrived late, they were unable to be seated at a banquet table. However, they were rewarded later in the night when several members won valuable door prizes.)

Finally, the Patriot Award was presented to Mr. Michael Kaprielian, Past President of the Viet Nam Veterans of America. Mr. Kapnelian is from Providence Rhode Island. He has received wide recognition for his work on the radio and video relating to women's studies and the psychiatric rehabilitation of earthquake victims in Armenia. His work has brought him to over forty countries during the past 28 years.

The twenty five person Interfaith Choir (composed of congregants from Mt. Sinai Baptist Church, area members of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification and others) performed a traditional gospel song, titled "Pass Me Not" prior to beginning the main program. The choir includes a diverse mix of ages, races, as well as church affiliations.

James Edgerly then introduced Reverend Michael Jenkins, the President of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, who presided over the remainder of the program.

Following an introduction by Reverend Jenkins, special remarks were offered by Minister Don Muhammad, from the Nation of Islam. Minister Muhammad is a founder of Muhammad's Temple #11 in Dorchester, Eastern Regional Representative of the Nation of Islam since 1985, and National Consultant to the Regional Ministers of the Nation of Islam. Minister Mohammed has spoken at a number of recent AFC and FFWPU events in Boston. Minister Mohammed welcomed Father Moon to Boston and acknowledged the important contribution made by him to the Million Family March. held in Washington, D.C. last October.

Special remarks were also offered by President Merlin R. Jenson, of the Massachusetts Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints (Mormon Church). President Jenson spoke briefly on the importance of Family and read the Church of Latter Day Saints Proclamation on the Family. He also referred to the magnificent Mormon Temple that has recently been opened in Belmont, Massachusetts.

Reverend Jenkins then introduced Cynthia M. Gray of the Historic Charles Street AME Church. Ms. Gray, a soprano with extensive educational and professional credentials, sang a powerful version of "How Great Thou Art" and received a standing ovation from the SRO (standing room only) audience.

Former Massachusetts State Senator William Owens offered welcoming remarks to Father Moon. His remarks acknowledged Father Moon as the only leader who has clearly broken the color barrier that tragically has divided races and ethnic groups in America.

Rev. T.L. Barrett, Jr. Superintendent, Church of God in Christ of Chicago, introduced Father Sun Myung Moon.

Father Moon was greeted with a standing ovation. His speech, from text was "The Path for America and Humanity in the New Millennium". He began his speech by stating that he knew Massachusetts well because of his oceanic undertakings in Gloucester and Provincetown. Furthermore, he referred to the extensive persecution and misunderstanding that he had received in Massachusetts in the past.

During his speech, Father Moon repeatedly added spontaneous comments to the text. He chastised Christian leaders for limiting their concern to the needs of their own congregation, and admonished them to make their lives straight and pure in the eyes of God and then take responsibility for America. He made clear the role of America as a modern day Israel, and explained that God had no choice but to use America in the central role of saving the world. Father. If white clergy failed in this responsibility, then African-American clergy would need to take full responsibility.

Mr. & Mrs. Bernard DeLory of the St. Joseph Catholic Church presented flowers to Father and Mother Moon. Gold watches were then presented personally by the beaming host couple to selected ministers. The recipients were Rev. Harold K. Dutille (First Freewill Baptist Church), Rev. Jerome T. Edgerton (Rush AME Zion Church), Rev. Eduardo Yarde (Mt. Sinai Baptist Church), Rev James Archer (Adventist Congregational Church), and Rev. Dr. Thomas Mayers (St. Mark's Episcopal Church).

Rev. Jenkins then invited all of the ministers up onto the stage. Prior to the event, a large leather bound Bible had been ordered from England and upon its arrival in Boston, the bible had been personally signed by all of the ministers, inscribed with "Champions of God", and dedicated to Reverend Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon. In a brief ceremony on stage, the large bible was given to Father and Mother Moon by Archbishop Baymon, representing all the eighty ministers in attendance.

Dr. Anthony Guerra, Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Divinity School then read the entire text of a second speech by Father Moon, "In Search of the Origin of the Universe".

At the end, Rev. Jenkins congratulated all of those remaining in the audience for their perseverance. Christine Okano, Youth Coordinator of FFWPU was invited onto the stage. She read the names of each of 148 "Young Heroes" as each came up onto the stage.

The "Young Heroes Committee' contacted community service organizations and churches throughout Massachusetts, and invited them to nominate "Young Heroes" to be recognized at the event. Those selected had demonstrated exemplary and consistent commitment in caring for others.

With the stage filled with children, a number of prizes and gifts were distributed based upon raffle type drawings. These included cash awards for three of the Young Heroes, gold watches for six ministers, and then gift certificates for others in the audience. Although the children and remaining members of the audience were tired, the gifts created an atmosphere of further excitement.

The program ended with a selection by the New England Interfaith Choir, some final remarks and a prayer by Reverend Michael Jenkins.

ŚRegional report

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