Multiple Holy Day Celebrations Held Nationwide
The National Ministry Team of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) celebrated the 100th birthday of FFWPU co-founders Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, affectionately known as True Parents, at the Hammerstein Ballroom of the Manhattan Center on January 25, 2019. A concurrent celebration of the 53rd True Heavenly Parent’s Day, observed in the Lunar New Year, was held as well.
“This is a very historical day for us,” said Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, regional chairman of Family Federation North America. “We are so blessed for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate True Father’s 100th birthday along with True Mother.” Throughout the years, Unificationists have celebrated True Parents’ birthday with a blowout celebration in Korea, inviting people of different religious backgrounds, nationalities, and ethnicities to show their love and support for this couple who have dedicated their entire lives toward world peace.
FFWPU-USA President Rev. Demian Dunkley has encouraged the five American regions to celebrate the two holy days as a regional-level event to bring family, friends, and Christian clergy together and share the Unification culture. “We want to use this festivity as a launch to renew the tradition of celebrating our holy days, and to come together with a spirit of honoring our culture and our roots. That’s the kind of spirit that inspires others,” said Rev. Dunkley.
More 1100 Unificationists, Christian clergy, and guests joined the 7:00 a.m. prayer service and enjoyed the holiday-themed festivities, which began with reciting the Family Pledge (core pledge of Unificationists) and reading a letter True Mother wrote on the occasion of True Father’s Holy Ascension anniversary, titled “Father, I Love You.”
After breakfast, there was musical entertainment and testimonies from clergy about True Mother’s commitment to peace and the responsibility we have to reciprocate that commitment. A video was also presented sharing how True Parents have been chosen to bless humanity, unite the world, and understand God’s creation. “Today, we are truly celebrating the chosen ones, the True Parents of humankind,” said one clergy member.
The Boston Family Church community held a memorable, spirit-filled and heartwarming event for guests and friends, including a former state senator and elder from the Church of the Latter-Day Saints. Bringing together Unificationists from Boston, Worcester, Gloucester and the rest of New England, they shared sincere devotion and gratitude to Heavenly Parent and True Parents. They sang traditional Christian hymns, which created a deep and moving atmosphere.
One young woman commented, “The service today felt like a beautifully woven tapestry of different pieces of faith. I was grateful for all those who came before me and comforted me to realize I could rely on them for help.”
After a special feast, the rest of the celebration consisted of a tournament of games like bean-bag toss, yut, and ping pong. “My team was really united, and even know we didn’t win we had a good time,” one participant said.
One elder commented, “It truly felt like past celebrations, with the carrying on of one of our most beautiful traditions of starting a new year together with True Parents and family members.”
The Providence Family Church in Rhode Island celebrated the holy days on Saturday, January 25 with an amazing luncheon prepared by local community members. They welcomed two Christian ministers to celebrate together with them.
Unificationists in Vermont gathered to observe the two holy days with a Saturday meeting as well as a Sunday service the next day.
Included in the program was an explanation of True Heavenly Parent’s Day, a place setting for True Parents, a reciting of the Family Pledge (core pledge of Unificationists), a reading of True Mother’s letter titled “Father, I Love You,” scripture readings, a prayer, and a bowling outing and a Chinese buffet on Sunday.
The Philadelphia Family Church community held a prayer breakfast in collaboration with their celebration of the two holy days. More than 55 pastors, deacons and youth ministers, many who attended the Peace Starts With Me Clergy Rally in December, participated on the rainy day.
After an opening prayer from a Muslim brother, Pastor Joel Barnaby of the Greater Church of Philadelphia gave the main address. Bishop Carl Turner, presiding bishop of Pentecostal Assembly of the World (PAW), then took to the podium and mentioned that January is PAW History Month to give tribute to Bishop Garfield Thomas Haywood and W.G. Rowe, original bishops of the Pentecostal movement. Fun fact: Bishop W.G. Rowe is the grandfather of Pastor Barnaby and ACLC Administrative Director Rev. Tanya Edwards!
Discussion and sharing among ministers ensued, along with songs of worship and praise.
Elizabeth, New Jersey
The Elizabeth Family Church celebrated with more than 80 people! The celebration started with pledge service then cutting the ceremonial cake, followed by a potluck dinner. After dinner, Rev. Emiljun Rapada, the pastor of the Elizabeth Family Church read True Mother’s letter, “Father, I Love You.” He explained the significance of the upcoming celebrations in Korea in February 2020, culminating on the celebration of True Father’s centenary and the CheonBo Registration Blessing. After his message, everyone participated in a question-and-answer game, where the family who had the most correct answers won a prize.