An International Sisterhood
This week in history, March 5-11:
- True Mother goes on tour in Japan (March 5-13, 2012)
- Sun Jin Moon is appointed as FFWPU International President (March 6, 2015)
- The Middle East Times begins publication (March 7, 1983)
- One Hundred City Speaking Tour is held in the United States (March 8, 1994)
- A power outage occurs during True Father’s speech (March 8, 2001)
- True Father’s autobiography is published (March 9, 2009)
- The Family Party for Peace and Unity is inaugurated (March 10, 2003)
- A Unificationist is freed in Kazakhstan (March 10, 2009)
- International sisterhood ceremonies are held (March 11 – Novemeber 8, 1994)
- A massive tsunami hits Japan (March 11, 2011)
March 5-13, 2012
True Mother’s Japan Tour
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the founding of Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP), True Mother delivered an address, “The Role of Women in the Age after the Coming of Heaven and the Mission of the Women’s Federation,” in a multi-city tour of Japan from March 5 to 13. In addition to her public speeches, True Mother led Hoon Dok Hwe each day and reported to True Father, who viewed each event from locations in Korea. On departure, True Father told her, “I pray that God will be with you so that a flower garden will come into bloom where the True Mother goes.” He also told True Mother to take his wallet, containing all of his ID cards with her, so that members would feel his presence. True Mother distributed donations from his wallet at three locations. After returning to Korea, True Mother said: “The faith of the Japanese members is so beautiful. There are so many difficulties internally and externally in Japan, but when I see the members firmly holding their faith and doing the best they can on the front line, I want to do what I can for them. I wish I could have done more for them.”
March 6, 2015
Sun Jin Moon Appointed FFWPU International President
On March 6, 2015, at the Cheon Il Guk Leaders’ Assembly, True Mother appointed Sun Jin Moon as FFWPU international president and her husband, In Sup Park, as FFWPU vice president. True Mother stated: “More than anybody else they represent the True Family, and they have selflessly followed True Parents’ tradition, showing you the example. Together with you, they will move us toward the fulfillment of Vision 2020 and they will build, together with you, the eternal Kingdom of Cheon Il Guk.” She expressed hope that leaders “will help them wholeheartedly.”
March 7, 1983
Middle East Times Begins Publication
True Father first shared his vision of the importance of creating a newspaper for the Middle East at an international leaders’ conference at his sixtieth birthday observance in 1980. He did so for two major reasons. First, Unificationist missionaries were specifically forbidden from pursuing traditional missionary activities in predominantly Islamic nations. Second, local publications were of generally poor quality both in production standards and, more importantly, editorial standards. In fact, Middle East media contributed to divisions within the region by being highly partisan, controlled either directly or indirectly by government or religious interests. The Middle East Times, founded at the end of 1982, published its first edition on March 7, 1983. Its vision was to promote a regional view of the Middle East, taking a position of reconciliation between different sides. Published out of Cyprus, the weekly paper utilized the talents and experience of Unificationist missionaries in the region. By 1985, it circulated in 12 countries. By 1991, it circulated in 18 countries with a readership of 50,000 every week. It also played a significant providential role in connecting the Grand Muftis of Syria and Yemen as well as other Middle East leaders to True Parents.
March 8, 1994
One Hundred City Speaking Tour in the United States
A 100-city speaking tour in the United States was conducted from March 8 to April 27, 1994. In this tour, which had the theme “True Parents and the Completed Testament Age,” True Mother went to ten Ivy League universities, starting from Harvard University, and several of the True Children gave speeches at other universities. True Mother emphasized in her speech, “Adam and Eve were supposed to perfect their true love, and, as true parents, they were supposed to form a perfected family characterized by true love and true lineage.” (Courtesy of the History Compilation Committee)
March 8, 2001
Power Outage in Minneapolis
One of the more bizarre occurrences during any of True Father’s public speaking engagements happened in Minneapolis during his 2001 “We Will Stand in Oneness” tour with the American Clergy Leadership Conference. True Father was speaking at the New Salem Missionary Baptist Church, which was filled to capacity with close to 1,000 people. Archbishop George Augustus Stallings had given a rousing introduction in which he stated that True Father has “a triple A rating from clergy who know him,” being “Anointed, Appointed, and Approved by God.” The atmosphere, as one report put it, was “electric.” Then, with some twenty minutes to go in True Father’s speech, a transformer blew, plunging the whole neighborhood into darkness. The microphones went out and no one could see anything. According to a report, “At first there was silence and then a young girl’s scream. Some of the audience fled into the night. There was confusion and even despair, until an usher shone his flashlight on the stage.” True Father was heard to say, “Please don’t leave.” Bishop Stallings also went out into the audience, saying: “Be at peace. God is in control.” As more flashlights surfaced and candles were lit, the stage was bright in the warm glow of candlelight. Large candelabras were placed behind the podium. True Father completed his message.
March 9, 2009
True Father’s Autobiography Published
As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen
The idea of publishing True Father’s autobiography, As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen, was first proposed by Gimm-Young Publishing Company, a leading Korean publisher. Its president, Ms. Pak Eun-ju, a practicing Buddhist, approached the church in 2008 and obtained access to voluminous source material, notablyTrue Parents’ Life Course (12 volumes), a work comprising excerpts from True Father’s speeches arranged chronologically in the form of an autobiographical account. Church representatives worked with the publisher’s writers to craft the final product, published on March 9, 2009. It quickly made Korea’s non-fiction best-seller list. On June 1, 2009, the church hosted a commemoration of the autobiography’s publication at the Seoul Convention and Exhibition (COEX) Center for 3,500 people, including 200 foreign dignitaries. An English translation was ready by May 2010, and there was a parallel launch event. Many U.S. members purchased 430 copies, at True Parents’ request, for distribution to contacts. More than 144,000 were distributed in Las Vegas alone.
As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen consists of eight chapters which follow the general chronological flow of True Father’s life. The earlier chapters are exceptionally rich in autobiographical detail surrounding his family background, early upbringing and call to faith. The account vividly describes True Father’s torture at the hands of Japanese and North Korean interrogators as well as his imprisonments in South Korea and the United States. The later chapters focus on True Father’s marriage and family ministry and initiatives for world peace. True Father described the autobiography as an “honest and candid account.” He said it “expresses about 80 percent of [my] life.” In one speech he said he had “as much faith” in his autobiography as in the “Eight Great Textbooks.”
March 10, 2003
Inauguration of the Family Party for Peace and Unity
True Father founded the Cheonju Pyeonghwa Tongil Gajeong Dang, or Family Party for Peace and Unity (FPPU), on March 10, 2003. Its purposes were primarily educational—to promote a true-family movement and a pure-love movement to expunge the immoral culture that has produced problems throughout the world. In fact, the Family Party neither campaigned nor fielded a candidate for office by 2007 and thereby was legally dissolved, according to a Korean law which required that a political party elect at least one candidate to office within a four-year period. The Family Party was re-registered on August 28, 2007, and it announced that it would field candidates in the 2008 general elections for the National Assembly. FPPU was the only political party to field candidates in all 245 legislative districts. However, none were elected, and FPPU’s party registration was again canceled. Nationally, FPPU won 1.05 percent of the vote. There were some positive outcomes. Many Family Party candidates campaigned earnestly on buses, in public speeches and in television or radio debates with opponents. Their efforts did not necessarily translate into votes but helped turn public opinion on the Family Party and on Unificationism from negative to friendly in some districts. Parents and relatives of members, many of whom had been negative, were also said to be proud that their sons and daughters, nephews and nieces had committed to be candidates for public office.
March 10, 2009
Unificationist Freed in Kazakhstan
On March 10, 2009, an appeals court in Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan, took action to release Elizaveta (Liza) Drenicheva, who had served 61 days in prison for a “crime against the peace and security of humankind.” Her offense had been to gather four persons for a seminar in which she taught the Unification Principle. Ms. Drenicheva, who is a Russian citizen, joined the Unification Church in 1995 and began mission work in Kazakhstan, a former republic of the Soviet Union, in 2006 during which time twelve full-time members joined. However, on January 2, 2008, at 6:00 a.m., KGB officers broke in to the Unification Peace Embassy, taking away literature and computers and arresting Ms. Drenicheva. She was released after two days but faced trial on October 24, 2008, was convicted, and sentenced on January 9, 2009, to two years in prison. Unificationists worldwide considered her to be a “prisoner of conscience” and launched a broad-based “Free Liza” campaign which resulted in her release. Unfortunately, the government refused to reverse her conviction. It wasn’t until 2013 that the Unification Church obtained official registration as a religious association.
March 11 – November 8, 1994
True Father understood that women would play a leading role in fostering peace in the Completed Testament Age. Under the auspices of Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP), more than 200,000 Korean and Japanese women came together to create sisterly ties on 38 separate occasions between March 11 and November 8, 1994. The sisterhood ceremonies in the United States between Japanese and American women had a significant impact due to the involvement of persons with exceedingly high public profiles, most notably, former President George H.W. Bush and first lady Barbara Bush. They were deeply touched by their experience and later traveled with True Mother to speak in support of her work on a six-city speaking tour of Japan.
March 11, 2011
Massive Tsunami Hits Japan
True Father in Las Vegas, praying for the safety of Japan after the earthquake.
A 9.0 magnitude undersea earthquake approximately 43.5 miles off the Japanese coastline on March 11, 2011, triggered a powerful tsunami, with waves reaching heights of up to 133 feet, which, in the area of the city of Sendai, traveled up to 6 miles inland. Referred to in Japan as the Great East Japan Earthquake, it was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded to have hit Japan, and the fourth most powerful earthquake in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900. The earthquake moved Honshu (the main island of Japan) 8 feet eastward and shifted the Earth on its axis by between 4 and 10 inches. A Japanese National Police Agency report confirmed 15,889 deaths, 6,152 injured, and 2,601 people missing across twenty prefectures, as well as 127,290 buildings totally collapsed, with a further 272,788 buildings “half collapsed” and another 747,989 buildings partially damaged. The tsunami caused level 7 nuclear meltdowns at three reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex, affecting hundreds of thousands of residents in an 18-mile radius who were forced to evacuate. The World Bank’s estimated economic cost was US $235 billion, making it the costliest natural disaster in world history.
As a major center of world Unificationism, the Japanese Unification Church was directly impacted by the tsunami. In the immediate aftermath, there were reports of two confirmed deaths. However, Unificationists also lost relatives and homes. Some 300 to 400 Unificationists resided in Sendai, the worst-hit city. More than 500 Unificationists were evacuated to four facilities in Japan. The Japanese Church called for a three-day fast immediately after the earthquake and began relief efforts, delivering food and blankets to survivors. True Father directed the International Church to donate $1.7 million for relief through the Japanese Red Cross. American Unificationists donated $120,000 and partnered with the Christian Disaster Response organization to train Youth Ambassadors for Peace and other volunteers in Japan.
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 March 5-11.