Forty Years Since Yankee Stadium Rally
This week in history marks the 40th anniversary of one of the most significant events in True Parents’ ministry in America: the Yankee Stadium Rally of June 1, 1976. On Sunday June 5, 2016, people from across the country will gather at the historic Belvedere estate in Tarrytown, New York together with True Mother to commemorate this anniversary and to revive True Parents’ vision for America as God’s Hope. Read on for more information about the original Yankee Stadium Rally and register for the upcoming God Bless America Family Festival.
June 1, 1976
America Is God’s Hope: The Yankee Stadium Rally
Forty years ago, our beloved True Father gave a public speech at Yankee Stadium in New York. He gave an urgent appeal to America to turn back to God. Yankee Stadium was the first of two major rallies held in 1976 as part of the movement’s Bicentennial God Bless America Festival. The second was held at Washington Monument on September 18. True Father compared himself at Yankee Stadium to a doctor and firefighter who came from the outside to help America meet its third great test as a nation, that of God-denying communism.
A rainstorm with strong winds hit the stadium prior to the start of the rally, blowing away many of the decorations. Unificationists rose in their seats or danced on top of the Yankee Stadium dugouts, singing “You Are My Sunshine” until the storm subsided. Approximately 45,000 people attended.
At the time, True Father’s message was translated as “God’s Hope for America,” but recently the original text of the speech in Korean was located. The title that True Father himself chose was “America Is God’s Hope!” which adds even more meaning to this historic and providential message. A 25-minute video of historical footage at the Yankee Stadium Rally can be viewed here. True Father’s entire message is narrated. He declares his message in his own words in the video at around the 12:00 minute mark. To read the entire speech, click here.
Also this week in history, May 29 – June 4:
- The Rally to Globalize True Families takes place (May 29, 1999)
- The Rally for Religious Freedom takes place (May 30, 1984)
- PWPA rescues the University of Bridgeport (May 30, 1992)
- True Father’s 1,000-day memorial is commemorated (May 30, 2015)
- Peace Road 2015 is launched around the world (May 30, 2015)
- HSA is officially registered in Korea (May 31, 1963)
- The First Summit Council for World Peace is held (May 31, 1997)
- Billy Graham preaches to 1.1 million on Seoul’s Yoido Island (June 3, 1973)
- Yeon Ah Moon is inaugurated as WFWP International President (June 3, 2014)
- The historic 72 Couples’ Holy Marriage Blessing held (June 4, 1962)
- Chairman Seung Ryong Moon ascends (June 4, 2012)
May 29, 1999
Rally to Globalize True Families
On May 29, 1999, True Mother held the Rally to Globalize True Families at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. Her speech that day was titled, “The Path of Life for All Humankind.” In it, she said, “There must be some common content that will be pleasing to God, to the angels, to the rest of creation and to human beings themselves.” She went on to say that this common content is “true love.” This was the final rally that True Mother held in her 80-nation speaking tour, which had begun on April 12.
May 30, 1984
Rally for Religious Freedom
The U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal on May 14, 1984, to review True Father’s petition to overturn his conviction on tax evasion charges set off a series of “Rallies for Religious Freedom.” The first of these, in Washington, D.C., on May 30, 1984, brought together more than 300 clergy from over 60 denominations and some 200 laypersons, including civil liberties leaders and political figures, to denounce the threat to religious liberties posed by True Father’s conviction. The event was organized by the co-chairmen of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Freedom, Dr. Timothy LaHaye, chairman of the Moral Majority of California, and Dr. Joseph Lowery, chairman of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). The rally ended with Dr. La Haye challenging all present to stand with him and “say, as one individual, ‘I believe in religious freedom so much I am willing, if necessary and allowed, to spend one week of those eighteen months with Reverend Moon.’” Participants afterward signed a Religious Liberty Proclamation, and on the back of the document signed their commitment to go to prison with True Father.
May 30, 1992
PWPA Rescues the University of Bridgeport
On May 30, 1992, the Board of Trustees of the University of Bridgeport reached an agreement with the Professors World Peace Academy (PWPA) whereby PWPA donated $50.5 million to the university, enabling it to stay open and maintain its accreditation. In exchange, PWPA had the right to nominate 60 percent of candidates for Board of Trustees vacancies and the university agreed to adopt an educational philosophy based on an international perspective. Including the initial loan, PWPA provided $110 million to the university over the next ten years. The UB-PWPA partnership was controversial because of PWPA’s ties to True Father and the Unification Church. However, the university prospered in subsequent years. In 2003, UB declared its financial independence and from that point on has been self-supporting, ending each year in the black, maintaining its accreditation and non-sectarian charter.
May 30, 2015
True Father’s 1,000-Day Memorial Celebration
The Unification movement observed the 1,000th day since True Father’s ascension in a service of Jeongseong (“devotional offering”) at the International Peace Education Center (IPEC) in Las Vegas. It was the first major event to be held at the magnificent structure. Special emissaries, regional leaders, current and former U.S. elected officials, Las Vegas commerce and industry leaders, and veterans—one thousand persons in all—participated, as well as 350 participants from Japan. The event also included an award ceremony to present special prizes to forty remarkable individuals from North America, Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Middle East who had demonstrated exemplary efforts in faith and peace activities. True Mother stated, “True Father is here with us, and he is looking at all of you with a very happy heart, and he is wishing that all of you can fulfill your blessed responsibility and will, without fail, be centered on Heavenly Parent and together realize one world centering on Heavenly Parent.”
May 30, 2015
World Launch of Peace Road 2015
The world launch ceremony for Peace Road 2015 took place at the International Peace Education Center (IPEC) in Las Vegas, on the afternoon of May 30, 2015. Peace Road 2015 was a project dedicated to resolving the racial, religious and national conflicts occurring in different regions of the world, and uniting the collective will of the people of the world for peace. The route extended from the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa to Santiago, Chile. Participants in 127 countries walked or rode bicycles or other means of transportation. A thousand people attended the world launch ceremony, at which twenty young people on bicycles rode around Las Vegas, starting the world race. Simultaneous launching ceremonies occurred in Santiago, Chile, and the Cape of Good Hope. The Peace Road 2015 World Tour continued for 93 days (May 30 to August 30) in commemoration of True Father’s 93 years of life. Participants displayed flags and banners with the tour’s theme, “Peace Road, toward a World of Peace!”
May 31, 1963
HSA Officially Registered in Korea
True Father and four disciples founded the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (HSA-UWC) in May 1954. However, the church did not achieve legal recognition until May 31, 1963 when it was officially registered as a charitable organization (n. 261). Prior to that, the Unification Church was essentially an underground church. Widely vilified in Korean society, registration followed intensive pioneer witnessing in Korean villages. Legal recognition of the church in Korea followed the incorporation of HSA-UWC in the United States on September 18, 1961 and preceded legalization of the church in Japan in 1964.
May 31, 1997
First Summit Council for World Peace
True Father convened the First Summit Council for World Peace at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul, Korea on May 31, 1987. It was an outgrowth of the Summit Club which he established in 1981. The Council was conceived as a forum where world leaders, particularly former heads of state, prime ministers, and senior government officials, can utilize the best of their creative energies, knowledge, wisdom, experience, and statesmanship for the sake of world peace and development. In his Founder’s Address, “Challenges and Opportunities for World Peace,” True Father stated that the reason why it has been impossible to achieve world peace is that “the internal struggle that goes on within each individual has not yet been resolved.” World conflict, he said, “is nothing other than the manifestation of the inner conflict of individuals.” He argued it was necessary first to find peace with God, then peace with people through true love and on that foundation a world community of nations could be “substantially established” centered upon a common value system and eternal principles. Nine former Presidents, 9 former Prime Ministers, 12 former ministers of government, 17 nobility, 5 former ambassadors, 3 current ambassadors, one university president and 6 others attended the first Summit Council meeting. The Council played a significant role in True Parent’s meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev and relations with North Korea.
June 3, 1973
Billy Graham Preaches to 1.1 Million on Seoul’s Yoido Island
On June 3, 1973, U.S. Christian evangelist Billy Graham closed his 5-day crusade for Christ in Seoul, South Korea, in front of a crowd estimated by local officials to exceed 1.1 million in an open space of Yoido Island. It was the largest audience in the history of Graham’s ministry. The 5-day total exceeded the totals of his historic 16-week, 1957 New York City Crusade. Some 75,000 attendees made a decision for Christ during the crusade, helping to spur an explosive megachurch movement throughout Korea. Following the event, a helicopter rose from behind the platform. Dr. Han, the event chairman, put up his hand for silence. He explained that Billy Graham was leaving Korea that afternoon, and he could not say goodbye personally to everybody, but his helicopter would circle in farewell over the plaza. A group of Unificationists from the Seoul Western Center attended the rally. Dr. David Carlson wrote, “Our heartfelt prayers go to Dr. Billy Graham, and we hope that someday Unified Family members might speak to crowds such as listened to Dr. Graham, and perhaps even larger.” Dr. Carlson’s wish was fulfilled on June 7, 1975, when True Father spoke before 1.3 million at the same open space on Yoido Island as part of the World Rally for Korean Freedom.
June 3, 2014
Yeon Ah Moon Inaugurated as WFWP International President
On June 3, 2014, the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) welcomed Professor Yeon Ah Moon, international vice president of the Family Federation for World Peace (FFWPU), as the new president of WFWP International and WFWP Korea. She became the third president of WFWP, succeeding Dr. Lan Young Moon, who would remain a close advisor to WFWP as president emeritus. Professor Moon taught Women’s Studies at Sun Moon University and expressed her resolve to lead WFWP in contributing to and supporting Vision 2020. True Parents founded WFWP in 1992. WFWP has members in 143 countries and is a UN NGO, having obtained general consultative status with the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 1997.
June 4, 1962
72 Couples Holy Marriage Blessing Is Held
True Parents held the second major Holy Marriage Blessing Ceremony after the original 36 Couples Holy Marriage Blessing Ceremony on June 4, 1962. They blessed in marriage 72 couples. Providentially, these 72 couples are understood to represent Cain and Abel’s restored families in relationship to the 36 couples who represent the original ancestors. They also correspond to Jesus’ 72 disciples. According to True Father, “Through the unity of the 72 couples representing Cain and Abel with the 36 couples representing Adam and Eve, all providential requirements for the family have been met, and the restoration of the family has been completed.” The way was opened for expansion of the providence beyond the family.
June 4, 2012
Chairman Seung Ryong Moon’s Ascension
True Father at right, Seung Ryong Moon holding the lid of the pot, and a mutual friend cook a meal together at their lodgings in Seoul, around 1939
Chairman Seung Ryong Moon, True Father’s second cousin and a continuous companion of True Father’s during his youth, ascended on June 4, 2012. Chairman Moon caught eels with True Father in pools near their hometown and accompanied True Father to school in Jeongju. He later attended high school with True Father in Seoul. Separated from True Father during the Korean War, Chairman Moon discovered him in Seoul during the mid-1950s and joined the Unification Church. He was blessed as one of the 36 couples and served as factory chief and chairman of Unification industrial enterprises. He was appointed national messiah to Burundi in 1996 and finally settled in the Geomundo Islands off the southern coast of the Korean Peninsula, following True Father’s direction. On his ascension, True Father wrote, “Congratulations on your Seonghwa and entry into the heavenly nation, blood brother of heavenly heart Chairman Seung Ryong Moon.”
This Week in History briefly lists significant events in the history of the Unification Church, the lives of the Founders, and world events that are momentous to Unificationists. Most items are marked according to the solar calendar. Items marked “H.C.” correspond to the Cheon-gi or Heavenly Calendar, which is based on the lunar calendar. This installment covers the week of May 29 – June 4.
Contributed by Dr. Michael Mickler, Professor of Church History at Unification Theological Seminary.