Unification News for March 1997

True Parents' Birthday In New York

by Dr. Frank Kaufmann-NYC

North America was blessed indeed to be selected as host for the 1997, True Parents' Birthday. We were all disappointed when North America fell out of the running at the last moment at the time of God's Day. So when the chance arose to receive True Parents so soon, this time for the Birthday, the American family was especially ready and excited. Despite this uncommon readiness, Father and Mother somehow outstripped us, giving more to enrich the occasion than we could anticipate.

Father and Mother returned to the States early February 11, 1997. They invited those on hand to welcome them home to a generous breakfast during which time Mr. Kuh Beh Pak told those gathered about the vast range of activities undertaken by True Parents during the five months since we last saw them here in the States. One of the highlights of Mr. Pak's report was his account of how Father's initiatives ultimately embrace the full cycle information. Beginning with National Messiahs, and ending with Wacom's proposed computing and telecommunications hardware, we find within the realm of Father's creativity the alpha and omega of information, from news-makers, through news providers, to news transmitters.

Father spoke after Mr. Pak offering graceful yet penetrating wisdom regarding our lifelong pursuit of mind-body unity centering on God. He revealed how this task correlates to forming a harmonious Blessed couple. Also he explained how our "ten" senses function in such a harmonized individual.

On February 13, 1997, two days later, True Parents began the public celebration of the Holy Day at 7:00 am with the Main Ceremony in the Crystal Room. There Blessed couples joined the True Family for Pledge Service followed by an impromptu speech from Father which lasted over 3 hours.

The moment that speech was finished the True Family raced to the Grand Ballroom, leaving themselves no time for breakfast or any sort of break to recover from such an exhausting investment at Pledge. As Father arrived he quickly apologized to those members and religious leaders who had been waiting. This was barely heard, however, amidst the cheers and joyous well-wishes that emanated from the capacity crowd on hand. As the crowd settled down, prominent guests offered representative gifts. Dr. Richard Rubenstein, President of Bridgeport University, brought up a gift from the university administration, students, and faculty. Father Athanasius Paul of the Coptic Orthodox Church offered a congratulatory plaque on behalf of the first 100 Christian Ministers in the United States who received the preliminary Blessing. Finally, the United Nations Association awarded Father a Human Rights Award.

After cutting their Birthday Cake, True Parents sought a way to convey to those gathered the official speech from the 1997 Day of Victory of Love. Currently only a Korean transcript exists. Mr. Peter Kim was commissioned to translate the Korean text into English on the spot as he read aloud. He faithfully, and with quite impressive success undertook the translation and presentation for some time.

At a certain point Father broke into Mr. Kim's reading so as to give a live rendering of the essential message from the January 2, 1997 speech. For the next several hours Father delighted his listeners with pearls of wisdom from the "earthiest" to the "heavenliest." Most importantly Father revealed the secret to being a man or woman of God; the core message from the Day of Victory of Love Speech. To paraphrase, after giving several penetrating examples, Father urged us

to imagine the most profound imaginable sadness that could befall us, and in that moment decide that you can continue full of joy for God's sake. This is the meaning of the Day of Victory of Love. No tears. Bring joy to God and take away his Han. It was close to 5:00 pm before Father took his leave.

The evening entertainment came not long after that. Doors opened at 6:00 pm and the performance began at 7:00 pm. Mr. Alan Inman did an able job as MC creating an atmosphere both elegant and energetic. The True Family themselves were both regal and intimate. The program while a family affair never sacrificed an unbroken quality of professionalism, and was most especially characterized by a more international flavor than ever before. Brothers and sisters from 5 nations, each selected for their proficiency in some manner of the performing arts had the memorable treat to perform for True Parents on their birthday. These included native music and dance from Turkey, Mali, and Russia. The Kirov Ballet performed three enchanting pieces, including a timely performance of "Cupid."

The students of Bridgeport University performed a narrative in dance with some choreography reminiscent of early Michael Jackson videos. Many were especially thrilled to hear a couple of vocals performed by Hyo Jin Nim, a performer with over 14 albums under his belt. We were happy for lots of reasons, not the least of which is that he is a superb vocalist. Technical difficulties forced him into some improvisation which he handled with aplomb.

The day was sweet from A to Z. We have fond memories of spending True Parents birthday with all the members of the True Family. Alas such opportunities have become increasingly rare.

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