A Pioneer of Peace
This week in history: July 20-26
- The first 40-day pioneer witnessing tradition began
- True Father Enters Danbury Prison
- True Father launches the forty-day National Prayer and Fast for the Watergate Crisis
- True Father establishes 120 holy grounds throughout the world.
July 20, 1957
40-Day Pioneer Witnessing Tradition Begins
The Unification Church’s 40-day pioneer witnessing tradition began on July 20, 1957 with member-pairs being sent to 120 villages and towns throughout the Republic of Korea. Prior to setting out for the witnessing condition, members fasted for 7 days. Thus, the tradition of a 7-day fast began at that time. In addition, 40-day training sessions for core church leaders began in 1957. During the 40-day period, True Father made a condition of visiting each pioneer, giving them encouragement as an itinerant worker (IW). He traveled in a World War II jeep for that purpose. Members had little or no money and ate barley rations rather than rice. The first 40-day pioneer witnessing condition bore fruit in subsequent summer and winter 40-day pioneer witnessing not only in Korea, Japan, the United States and elsewhere.
July 20, 1984
True Father Enters Danbury
Having exhausted all of his appeals, including a petition before the U.S. Supreme Court, True Father entered Danbury Federal Correctional Institution on July 20, 1984. He would remain there until July 4, 1985 when he was moved to Phoenix House, a halfway facility in Brooklyn where he served out the reminder of his 13 month incarceration. Prior to departing from East Garden, True Father spoke to gathered members. He told them, “This is a glorious, victorious and historical day” and asked them not “to send me off in tears” unless they were “tears of determination, telling me, ‘Trust us. We are going to bring 100 times greater victory in the days to come.’” He said, “Wherever I go, whether it is a high place or a low one, my life will be the same life” and noted “I am going to prison on the worldwide level at this time,” having already gone to prison on the individual, family and national levels.
July 22-24, 1974
Three-Day Fast for the Watergate Crisis
True Father launched a forty-day National Prayer and Fast for the Watergate Crisis (NPFWC) in late 1973. Stating that “the crisis for America is a crisis for God,” True Father directed a multi-faceted campaign that included publication of his “Answer to Watergate” statement, rallies, letter-writing, leafleting in all fifty states and eventually a meeting with then President Richard Nixon. True Father was especially concerned that the United States stands unified and strong in the face of communist aggression. In the end, the Watergate tapes doomed the Nixon presidency.
Nevertheless, True Father mobilized 610 members for a 3-day fast and vigil on the steps of the U.S. Capitol at the height of the crisis from July 22-24, 1974. Those participating wore placards with a quotation from True Father’s Watergate statement on the back and a picture of the elected or appointed official for whom they were praying on the front. The vigil received national exposure. Seventy-six congressmen and five senators came out to meet the person praying for them. Newspapers across the nation carried pictures and interviews in over 350 stories. Local television stations and all three broadcasting networks showed film of the event and described it in their newscasts. Among the news magazines sending their own reporters to cover the vigil were Time, Newsweek, New Republic, U.S. News and World Report, New Yorker, and the Washingtonian.
July 24, 1963
Holy Blessing of 124 Couples
True Father noted that the 36 Couples, 72 Couples and 124 Couples “are one team which cannot be separated.” Providentially, the 124 Couples (sometimes referred to as 120 Couples) represented Jesus’ 120 disciples and signified the nations of the world. The 124 Couple Blessing was one of the conditions by which True Father undertook his first world tour, establishing 120 holy grounds throughout the world. The ceremony was conducted in a community hall and couples paraded through Seoul in a convoy of cars, thereby testifying to the growth of the church before Korean society.
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 July 13 to 19.