Peace Starts With Me: Thousands Attend Clergy Rally In New Jersey
Photo credit FFWPU-USA
Doors opened to a sea of beaming faces as thousands of people eager and ready to celebrate unity and peace flooded into the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, on Saturday, December 28. Months of hard work and preparation led to this very moment—a Peace Starts With Me Clergy Rally, where more than 600 clergy from around the world, 1200 from the United States, and about 25,000 guests from near and far, including some who tuned in via satellite, convened to unite Christianity and promote global peace.
“Now is the time to come together and help God establish the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth,” said Rev. Demian Dunkley, president of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU-USA), as he and Elder Edwin Perry of City of Refuge megachurch in Los Angeles welcomed the cheering crowd. The year-end rally titled “Clergy Rally A New Hope for a Heavenly Unified World,” cosponsored by FFWPU and the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC), was the highly anticipated capstone of numerous international Peace Starts With Me rallies held since 2017.
Many esteemed religious leaders from around the world took the stage, including Dr. Prophet Samuel Radebe, founder of The Revelation Church of God in Johannesburg, South Africa; Bishop Noel Jones of City of Refuge megachurch; and keynote speaker and FFWPU co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, affectionately known as True Mother and the Mother of Peace. Dr. Moon has tirelessly continued the peacebuilding legacy of her late husband and FFWPU co-founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, recently finishing a global speaking tour promoting world peace and reconciliation. “You should be able to embrace the nation and the world with true love, living for the sake of others, instead of living only for yourselves,” said Dr. Moon. “I pray that you will all become the righteous people and religious leaders standing in the vanguard and that you will not look back, but run forward.”
The rally message, ‘What The World Needs Now,’ transcends borders, race, religion, and creed, calling for hope, love, unity, and peace as one global family under God through its broader theme of Peace Starts With Me. The event also launched the World Clergy Leadership Conference (WCLC), aiming to unite Christianity. “I’m convinced no one pastor can perfect the church, there has to be other voices and denominations have to come together,” said Bishop Noel Jones. “None of us have had a vision as wide and as grand as Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, with Christ as her head.”
Along with other religious leaders, Dr. Moon signed a peace declaration of the WCLC. A premiere musical lineup of performers was also featured throughout the program, including the legendary Dionne Warwick who wowed the crowd to their feet; an incredible 2,000-voice choir; renowned gospel singer Bishop Hezekiah Walker; Grammy Award-nominated gospel artist Kim Burrell; and Spanish Christian songstress JoAnn Rosario. Guests were inspired and empowered as they listened to the speeches and entertainment.
“I’m so overjoyed with the different nationalities that we have here,” said David Coulibaly, who traveled from Chicago to attend the event. “The atmosphere was phenomenal and I’m so happy to be here.” The powerful energy and message of peace resonated with many people in the crowd. “We really have to spread the message of God,” said Sarah Bambe, who came to the rally from West Africa. “This was an amazing experience and I loved it. I think that is what God wanted in the beginning, seeing everybody together.”