A Global Responsibility and Revival
This week in history, September 10-16:
- The 9/11 attack on America takes place (September 11, 2001)
- The Universal Peace Federation is founded (September 12, 2005)
- A dedication ceremony is held for the Ocean Cheonjeong Palace Hotel on Geomun Island (September 12, 2011)
- Members of Congress invite True Father to speak on Capitol Hill (September 13, 1974)
- True Mother delivers the Completed Testament Age message before 50,000 at the Tokyo Dome (September 14, 1993)
- True Mother tours Japan with President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush (September 14, 1995)
- A new prayer tradition begins (September 14, 1999)
- True Parents officiate an interreligious and international Marriage Blessing and Rededication Ceremony (September 14, 2002)
- True Father’s Seonghwa Ceremony is held (September 15, 2012)
- Korean surnames are bestowed upon 172 faith leaders from the United States (September 16, 2011)
September 11, 2001
Attack on America
The terror attacks of September 11, 2001, deeply impacted America and the world. Prior to 9/11, True Father had called for a 12,000 couple World Clergy Holy Marriage Blessing Ceremony, scheduled for September 22 at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The events of 9/11 not only forced the cancellation of the September 22 Blessing but also challenged the interreligious and world peace premise upon which it was based. In the days after the World Trade Center’s destruction, Unificationist leaders and American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) clergy who were gathered in New York to prepare for the September 22 Blessing Ceremony ministered directly to bereaved families as well as to police, firefighters and others at the site of the attack. Many even went out on the first night.
In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Unificationists looked to True Father for guidance as to its meaning. He was in Kodiak, Alaska, at the time of the attack and learned of it through a note that was passed to him during morning devotions. Dr. Chang Shik Yang, then the Special Emissary to the Americas, reported that True Father “remained by himself and prayed” for the next three days, not appearing in public. He then made the decision to cancel the clergy Marriage Blessing and flew to New York on September 18. On arrival, he offered his interpretation of the tragedy. In his words, “Jesus was on the cross, now America stands on the cross of the world.” The question was, how would America respond? According to True Father: “Now is the time to change everything. America and Americans must take the lead in practicing ‘Love your enemy.’” As he saw it, religious leaders needed to take the lead. They “must unite beyond their religion and guide the political leaders of their nations.” He directed Unificationists to convene an assembly on the theme “Global Violence: Conflict and Hope” in October, and on November 15 he proclaimed Cheonju Pyeonghwa Tongil Guk(the Nation of Cosmic Peace and Unity). Just as Christianity emerged from the crucifixion and the Unification movement from the rubble of the Korean War, so True Father saw a new world rising from the devastation of 9/11.
September 12, 2005
Universal Peace Federation Founded
True Father speaks at the inauguration of the Universal Peace Federation on September 12, 2005.
True Parents at the inauguration of the Universal Peace Federation on September 12, 2005.
True Father established the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) on September 12, 2005, prior to the United Nations’ 60th anniversary. Its inaugural convocation was held before 376 delegates from 157 nations at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in New York. Its mission, True Father declared, was “to renew the existing United Nations and provide a new level of leadership as an ‘Abel-type’ United Nations.” As part of the launch, he also proposed a “World Peace King Bridge Tunnel” to “build a passage for transport across the Bering Strait.” He described this as “a truly providential and revolutionary project” and envisioned it as a crucial “link” in “an international highway system connecting the world as a single community.” UPF was a successor organization to the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP, established in 1999). In addition to its UN renewal and Bering Strait initiatives, UPF led the movement’s Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI), which sponsored interfaith “Pilgrimages for Peace,” and its Northeast Asia Peace Initiative (NEAPI), which supported Korean unification.
September 12, 2011
Dedication Ceremony for the Ocean Cheonjeong Palace Hotel on Geomun Island
The dedication ceremony of the Ocean Cheonjeong Palace Hotel on Geomun Island off the southern coast of Korea near the city of Yeosu, began at 10:30 a.m. at the newly built hotel located in Deokchon hamlet. More than three thousand people attended, including members of the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC), church members, core members of the Tongil Group, chief executives of providential organizations and corporations, Ambassadors for Peace, Japanese leaders, leading celebrities of Yeosu and the surrounding area, and local residents of Geomun Island.
September 13, 1974
Members of Congress Invite True Father to Speak on Capitol Hill
On September 13, 1974, one U.S. senator and twelve congressmen issued a formal invitation to all members of Congress and their staff to attend True Father’s speech on “America in God’s Providence” in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on October 8, 1974. The invitation read:
“Dear Colleague: The United States today is in need of strong moral leadership. The great moral and spiritual values upon which this nation was founded must be renewed at all levels of American society. Moreover, our nation seeks a clarification of its national identity and the role it must play as the leading nation of the free world.
“Many of us have been impressed with the work of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon from Korea. We well remember the three days of prayer and fasting on the Capitol steps conducted by young people last month, in which they sacrificed food and rest to ask God’s guidance for each of us on the critical decisions we were facing at that time. Beyond the exuberance and dedication of those young people is a deep concern for America and a fresh new vision of America’s role in God’s providence, which stems from the teaching of Reverend Moon.
“We in the Congress now have an opportunity to hear the message of this dynamic man.”
The invitation was signed by: Senator John Sparkman, Congressman Robert L.F. Sikes, Congressman O.C. Fisher, Congressman Bob Wilson, Congressman Tim Lee Carter, Congressman Robert H. Michel, Congressman John E. Hunt, Congressman Barber B. Conable Jr., Congressman Bill Chappell Jr., Congressman Charles W. Sandman Jr., Congressman Goodloe E. Byrne, Congressman Manuel Lujan Jr., and Congressman C.W. Bill Young.
September 14, 1993
True Mother Delivers the Completed Testament Age Message before 50,000 at the Tokyo Dome
On January 10, 1993, True Father announced “the transition today to the Completed Testament Age,” which shifted the focus of salvation from the individual to the family. In May 1993, True Parents began a speaking tour of 33 U.S. cities under the theme “True Parents and the Completed Testament Age.” True Mother delivered the message on July 28 on Capitol Hill and on September 7 at the United Nations. This was the springboard to a world tour in which True Mother delivered the Completed Testament Age message to audiences in forty countries. From September 11 to 30, True Mother conducted twenty-five rallies in Japan, the highlight being her speech before 50,000 at the Tokyo Dome. On that occasion, which also commemorated the first anniversary of the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP), Princess Eva Maria of the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia and Marilyn Quayle, wife of the former vice president of the United States, offered congratulatory remarks.
September 14, 1995
True Mother Tours Japan with President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush
Former U.S. President and First Lady George and Barbara Bush attend a WFWP conference.
On September 14, 1995, fifty thousand representatives from 53 countries gathered in the Tokyo Dome for a rally to celebrate the third anniversary of the founding of the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP). True Mother spoke, as did former U.S. President George H.W. Bush. Mr. Bush, along with former first lady Barbara Bush, accompanied True Mother on a historic five-city tour which focused on building bridges of friendship between the Japanese and American people. The Bushes were inspired to do so as a result of their participation in the WFWP-sponsored “Sisterhood Ceremonies,” which brought together women from Japan and the United States in a demonstration of friendship on the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II.
September 14, 1999
A New Prayer Tradition
The press conference announcing the World Festival of Culture.
On September 14, 1999, True Father opened the era in which blessed families were no longer to pray in the name of True Parents or any mediator but in their own names as blessed couples who have inherited True Parents’ realm of victory. True Father explained that this was meant to mark the era of “personal responsibility.” He said that couples should “report their work” and that it was no longer “a time to pray to receive blessings.” This guidance was consistent with True Father’s view that humankind had entered the Completed Testament Age.
September 14, 2002
True Parents Officiate Interreligious and International Blessing and Rededication Ceremony
True Parents officiated four major Marriage Blessing Ceremonies in 2002, all in the United States. On April 27, they officiated the 144,000 Clergy Couple Blessing, the main venue of which was the Sheraton National Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. On July 3, they officiated the 1.44 million Second Generation Christian Youth and World Religious Youth Blessing from the same main venue. Then on September 14, 2002, they officiated the Interreligious and International Blessing and Rededication Ceremony. This historic Blessing ceremony was held in New York City’s Manhattan Center, just a few short miles from “Ground Zero,” where the twin towers of the World Trade Center had been destroyed barely one year earlier. Couples from many faiths participated as well as several Christian-Muslim couples in a poignant and moving statement of hope that New York’s Daily News said “couldn’t be more appropriate on the week America marked the first anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.” The final 2002 Blessing Ceremony, a “National Blessing for Reconciliation,” was conducted at the Marriott Crystal Gateway Hotel in Arlington, Virginia, on December 7. It marked the 61st anniversary of the Japanese bombing raid on Pearl Harbor and included some 300 Japanese leaders who expressed their wish for reconciliation among former enemy nations.
September 15, 2012
True Father’s Seonghwa Ceremony
True Father ascended to the spirit world on September 3, 2012 and his Seonghwa ceremony was held on September 15 in Korea.
True Father’s “Universal Seonghwa Ceremony” took place at Cheongshim World Peace Center on September 15, 2012, twelve days after his ascension on September 3. From September 6 to 14, an estimated 157,000 people had come to pay their respects to True Farther, many waiting for hours to sign an electronic register and offer a rose or lily before True Father’s portrait. Most were able to offer a final bow to True Father, who lay in state at the Cheon Jeong Gung Peace Museum. On the day of the Seonghwa, True Father’s body was carried reverently to a waiting vehicle and a flower-bedecked procession wound its way slowly down the mountainside to the stadium where tens of thousands of mourners waited. The casket was met at the main entrance by an honor guard of pallbearers and began a dignified processional entry through the center of the arena up to the main stage, which had been transformed into a garden of roses, lilies and chrysanthemums. True Father’s family accompanied the procession, and True Mother took her seat next to True Father for the last time. Following the representative prayer, Seonghwa address and eulogies, True Father began his final journey, with the procession winding its way back up the narrow mountain road lined with flag-waving supporters to the burial site on the grounds of the Cheon Jeong Gung Peace Museum. There, close family members and leaders gathered to hear final words from True Father’s teachings. Each offered flowers and sprinkled soil onto the casket as it was lowered into the waiting earth.
September 16, 2011
Korean Surnames Bestowed Upon 172 Faith Leaders from the United States
Ministers of different faiths and backgrounds embrace after receiving honorary Korean surnames.
True Parents conducted a grand ceremony in the Cheongshim Peace World Center for the bestowal of Korean surnames upon 172 ministers, 43 each from the North, South, East and West quadrants of the United States. They came to Korea representing America, Christendom and the entire world, with the purpose of registering in God’s Kingdom and testifying that God had anointed True Father. The clergy, who understood and supported True Parents’ historic mission from the point of view of 77 different religious denominations, were united through a singular cause. By joining into and becoming part of a Korean family and exchanging names, they gave a powerful testimony to the Korean people of the fruits of True Parents’ work to remove all barriers between races and denominations. Through proclaiming that Korea is God’s Homeland and Hometown, they affirmed that God had chosen this nation to be the base for the Kingdom of God and the family culture that honors elders and has fidelity and faithfulness in every aspect of the family—from marriage to the filial piety of children to their parents.
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 September 10-16.
Contributed by Dr. Michael Mickler, Professor of Church History at Unification Theological Seminary.