Beyond Barriers: Unity Festival
June 22 has finally arrived and the Peace Starts With Me Unity Festival lived up to its hype. Thousands of guests gathered in the Marquee Ballroom at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to join together for peace.
This unity festival was a joint project of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), an organization striving to establish peace and unity among all people, and the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC), a coalition of faith leaders working beyond denomination to strengthen marriages and families.
After opening remarks from co-hosts Elder Edwin Perry from the City of Refuge Church and Rev. Demian Dunkley, President of FFWPU USA, Prophet Samuel Radebe from the Revelation Church of God in South Africa gave an opening prayer, advising everyone to trust in God and unite for world peace. “This afternoon, we pray for peace and true unity in all nations,” he said.
Several musical numbers took place throughout the program, including Latina Gospel singer and pastor Joann Rosario Condrey, the 500 Voice Choir, who did not disappoint and brought the roof down with their beautiful harmonies, and many more. Following one of the 500 Voice Choir’s performances, the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP), a national college organization for youth, performed their iconic “Mujogeon,” or “Unconditionally” dance with lyrics depicting unconditional love for co-founder of FFWPU and the Mother of Peace, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.
Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, FFWPU Regional Chairman for North America, thanked the crowd for joining together in the name of unity. He briefly acknowledged the mission of Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Moon and their determination to build the national restoration. “We all gathered here because we want to see greater unity among our human race,” he said. “We are all one children of God.”
The Blessing Rededication Ceremony followed, hosted by Director of FFWPU Blessing and Family Ministry Crescentia DeGeode who began the ceremony with a video presentation explaining its significance which is to reinforce the commitment of couples to God and each other. Dr. Luonne Rouse, National Co-chair of the American Clergy Leadership Conference, and his wife Marie served as officiators.
Bishop Noel Jones, pastor of the City of Refuge Church in Los Angeles, spoke on the topic of peace before introducing the keynote speaker. He said, “God gave humans dominion because he wanted to see his image in the world. So how can you say you love God and at the same time say you don’t love your fellow brothers and sisters who were made in the image of God?” Bishop Jones preached about Dr. Moon’s greatest joy as serving God through sharing the Blessing Rededication Ceremony with the world.
Dr. Moon was welcomed to the podium with reverent cheers and delivered her message about America being “the shining representative of Christianity and democracy.”
“America is in the position to create change,” she said. “The time has come to welcome God as the true owner. This is the key for Earth to be healed.”
The event came to a close with high energy from Kim Burrell, a Grammy-Award nominated and Stellar Award-winning singer, who sang two of her songs and preached to the work of Rev. and Dr. Moon, dedicating her last song performance to the Mother of Peace, and Bishop Hezekiah Walker who conducted the 500 Voice Choir in singing a few of his hit singles such as “Souled Out” and “Every Praise.”