From Point of Pain to Holy Ground
Photo credit FFWPU-USA
Point Comfort, Virginia, was the first stop on the Peace Road 2020: Reconciling All People tour, where a group of Unificationist leaders, local public officials, and other clergy gathered on July 29 to offer heartfelt prayers for healing and reconciliation. The coastal city, near Jamestown, is where the slavery era in America began in 1619.
“We pray that Jesus will bless us this day and that all of God’s children will come together now,” said Rev. Michael Jenkins, president of Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and national co-chairman emeritus of the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC). “We will turn this place of pain, sadness, and sorrow into a holy ground.”
Rev. Jenkins shared his personal connection to the area as a descendant of Adam Thoroughgood, a notable colonist and community leader in 1600s Virginia. “Point Comfort is a precious site and we want to remember our brothers and sisters who came here in chains,” said Rev. Jenkins. “They broke those chains through faith in God and love. Mother Moon says that we make historical monuments where there were tragic relations in humanity so that we never forget, but also so that we repent and seek forgiveness.”
Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, known affectionately as Mother Moon and the Mother of Peace, founded Peace Road in 2015 among several peace-building initiatives worldwide. The international movement physically connects people all over the world who walk, bike, and drive in solidarity for peace, thereby fostering exploration, cooperation, and unity. At Point Comfort, Rev. Jenkins referenced a passage from Dr. Moon’s recent memoir where she recalls a trip to Gorée Island, a tiny island off the coast of Dakar, Senegal, where she prayed for the countless enslaved people who were held captive there.
“Many passed through the slave house in Gorée Island. No one knows how many innocent lives were lost at sea. It broke my heart that such atrocities were being committed. God called me to Gorée Island to liberate the historical agony and heartbreak of all the Africans who suffered.” (Mother of Peace: And God Shall Wipe Away All Tears from Their Eyes)
In kind, the group at Point Comfort offered their repentance and prayers for healing of those who were enslaved there. “The first Africans were taken against their will to slave ports,” said Rev. Dennis Dillon, pastor of the Brooklyn Christian Center and publisher of Christian Times. “I think it’s important for us as we wrestle with reconciliation, and as we deal with this journey going forward, that we must really connect and link the continent of Africa with the continent of Europe and with the continent of the Americas to bring healing.”
Rev. Dillon, a well-known black leader in New York City, shared that reconciling the past is essential toward healing and uniting all people. “I’m overwhelmed to be here on Peace Road and to see the spirit and the solidarity brings me joy,” he said. “We are on the right road; the road to peace.”