Unification News for May 2001

April 17 - Shepherdstown, West Virginia

An estimated 450 people gathered in Shepherdstown for a Tuesday afternoon prayer luncheon at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center. Dinner would be in Vermont on this the final day of the historic "We Will Stand" tour celebration of faith and family.

It was a miraculous victory of the human spirit and divine providence, considering that there were only seven days to prepare for the previously canceled event.

Reverend Doo of the regional Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) joined forces with West Virginia state representatives Henry and Katsuko Christopher to galvanize a small group of international volunteers.

Pier Angelo and Mary Beltrami put up half of the happy pilgrims at their house for the week, while the other half stayed with the Christophers.

Three teams met together each morning at the Student Union Hall of Shepherd College. After breakfast and some focused organizing, five to six car teams went out to nearly every church within the 30-mile radius, covering parts of West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. By Easter Sunday, between 200 and 300 churches had literally been visited, at least two or three times each.

Meanwhile, Pier Angelo's graphic design office in Shepherdstown, was abuzz with creative activity. All the signs, banners, maps, and any other literature for the program were prepared. Hotel and event coordination, including the ordering of flowers and a celebration cake, alerting the media for the planned press conference, the contacting of local officials, as well as countless other details were also managed efficiently and joyfully from there.

A united faith, hope, and love made the overcoming of all barriers and walls possible.

The banquet room at the Clarion Hotel was overflowing and alive with excitement. Many stood in the hallway outside the room to hear the messages and bask in the glow of the wonderful fellowship.

Father Sun Myung Moon was full of love and good humor.

The main sermon was simultaneously presented on a large screen television so everyone could see it and translated by Mr. Peter Kim.

Despite his age and the arduous schedule of the tour, Father Moon shared from his heart and soul for as long as possible. Suddenly he realized that he had to close in order to quickly to catch a plane to the final gathering in Burlington, Vermont.

"I didn't know I was spending so much time in West Virginia. Maybe I love you the most," he said to the attentive and cheering audience.

One of the local ministers in attendance, Joe Liles Sr. of St. John the Baptist Church in Shepherdstown said afterwards to the press that he had never followed Father Moon's teachings closely, but noted that his message "is very needed in the world we live in today."

"Different religious denominations have become barriers that prevent people from accepting and loving each other, but racism has existed in those churches too", was the conclusion of Henry Christopher, the West Virginia representative of the Family Federation.

Regional report

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