Hopes for Peace and Reconciliation
This week in history, December 4-10:
- The dedication of the Washington, D.C. Church is held (December 4, 1977)
- The Third World Assembly takes place in Seoul, Korea (December 4, 2010)
- True Parents meet Kim Il Sung (December 6, 1991)
- Japan attacks Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941)
- The National Blessing for Reconciliation is held (December 7, 2002)
- San Francisco Bay Area welcomes “The Day of Hope” (December 7-9, 1974)
- The Korean Cultural Foundation in Seoul, Korea is established (December 9, 1969)
- True Mother gives a speech in Brasilia, Brazil (December 9, 1993)
- True Mother and Korean FFWPU aid typhoon-afflicted Philippines (December 10, 2013)
December 4, 1977
Dedication Ceremony for the Washington, D.C., Church
A dedication ceremony for the Unification Church at 1610 Columbia Road NW in Washington, D.C., occurred on December 4, 1977. Two hundred members attended this ceremony, at which True Father spoke on the topic “Let Us Renew Ourselves.” Among other things, True Father said, “We need to know that all heaven and earth, the entire world, and even America is on the path through a process based on providential numbers.” The Unification movement purchased the building and property from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and had it remodeled before dedicating it to God.
December 4, 2010
Third World Assembly Takes Place in Seoul, Korea
The third Cosmic Assembly to Proclaim the Substantial Word That Firmly Establishes the True Parents of Heaven, Earth and Humankind was held in Seoul, Korea, on December 4, 2010. The assembly, which began at 2 p.m. in the Main Sanctuary of the Cheong Bok Gung headquarters church, drew three thousand participants, including distinguished social and religious leaders and Ambassadors for Peace. The purpose of the assembly was to transfer the victorious providential fruit reaped from the rallies in Washington–New York, and Hoover Dam–Las Vegas. True Father spoke as if delivering his final will and testament to all humanity. He said that all people must restore their spirituality, which was lost through the Fall, and that the process of re-creation has to go through three stages as did the original Creation. True Parents signed the written declaration and sounded the peace gong, which marked the conclusion of the first Cain-Abel UPF rally of the third Cosmic Assembly to Proclaim the Substantial Word That Firmly Establishes the True Parents of Heaven, Earth and Humankind.
December 6, 1991
True Parents Meet Kim Il Sung
After much preparation, True Parents have a successful meeting with Kim Il Sung.
True Parents met North Korean President Kim Il Sung on December 6, 1991. Their meeting was the high point of a week-long visit to North Korea that had begun on November 30. It also culminated more than four decades of True Father’s public work as he returned to the land of his birth, upbringing and call to ministry. More than that, it encapsulated and vindicated True Parents’ life course as they turned a former enemy into a friend. True Father stated on his return:
“No one can claim more justification than I for harboring feelings of ill will against North Korea. I received severe persecution from the current government of North Korea because of my position as a religious leader and my unswerving anticommunist principles. I was tortured harshly and then imprisoned for nearly three years in a labor camp. There I witnessed the deaths of many who also had been imprisoned without cause. …
Now I have visited North Korea in the spirit of true love. True love is love that loves even that which cannot be loved. …
As I set foot in Pyongyang, my heart was as clear as the autumn sky. I did not feel that I was entering the house of my enemy, but rather that I was returning to my hometown to visit the house of my brother. I carried with me to North Korea the principle that I have always lived by: that is, to forgive, love and unite.”
Still, it wasn’t easy. North Koreans were shocked by the manner and extent to which True Father criticized their ideology. Besides saying, “Juche ideology is not going to work. … The world is not this small. … You people are in … [a] cave,” True Father made several staggering proposals. In one meeting he asked the government officials in the audience to persuade Kim Il Sung to place a large announcement in the North Korean newspaper instructing that the 30,000 to 40,000 spies and agents in the South surrender to Rev. Moon and be instructed in his headwing ideology. In another session, True Father stated that he had to be the initiator and leader of reunification efforts, with Kim Il Sung and South Korean President Roh Tae-woo working as deputies under him.
North Korean officials who had dealt with True Father were fearful of a disastrous encounter with their leader. However, their fears were misplaced. Kim Il Sung directed that True Father’s speech at an opening banquet be published in North Korea’s only newspaper, Rodong Shinmun, and it was, word for word, including all references to God. He also overruled his subordinates and insisted that he wanted not only to meet Rev. Moon but also “to have lunch with him as well.” According to Dr. Bo Hi Pak, “The big man recognized the big man.” Significantly Kim Il Sung chose to meet True Parents at his Hamheung palace, about one hundred and fifty miles from Pyongyang, near Heungnam. In fact, the route from the state guesthouse to Kim Il Sung’s residence passed right by the Heungnam prison and fertilizer plant where True Father had been imprisoned for two years and eight months from 1948 to 1950. Dr. Pak speculated that this was a symbolic apology for earlier mistreatment.
On meeting, True Father and Kin Il Sung gave one another “a big bear hug.” Their private 90-minute conference went exceedingly well, with True Father cordially presenting his ideas for Korean reunification and Kim Il Sung reportedly initiating applause and saying “thank you” three times. They exchanged hunting and fishing stories during the two-and-a-half-hour luncheon and afterward strolled hand in hand down a long hallway for official pictures. The Pyongyang newspaper carried a large front-page photo of them holding hands with big smiles on their faces, something that North Korea experts regarded as extraordinary. Later, the Segye Ilbocarried the same photograph. Kim Il Sung reportedly requested True Father to arrange a meeting with U.S. President George H.W. Bush. He also offered True Father first rights to develop North Korea’s Diamond Mountains as a tourist area. They both agreed to cooperate in establishing a place where members of separated families could meet and in facilitating the exchange of mail. Kim Il Sung told True Father that he would preserve his birthplace as a shrine and that he was welcome to return any time.
December 7, 1941
Japan Attacks Pearl Harbor
On the morning of December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched a surprise military attack against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Japanese sank or damaged all eight U.S. battleships, three cruisers, and three destroyers. One hundred eighty-eight U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded. The following day, December 8, the United States declared war on Japan. President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy.” During the war True Father was enrolled in Waseda Koutou Kougakko, a technical engineering school affiliated with Waseda University in Japan, while active in the Korean student underground independence movement. He began his public ministry with the defeat of Japan and independence of Korea in 1945.
December 7, 2002
A National Blessing for Reconciliation
The Interreligious and International World Peace Blessing and Marriage Rededication Ceremony.
True Parents conducted an “Interreligious and International World Peace Blessing and Marriage Rededication Ceremony” on December 7, 2002. It was the fourth in a series of clergy and interreligious blessings conducted during that year. This Holy Marriage Blessing, also referred to as the “National Blessing for Reconciliation,” marked the 61st anniversary of the Japanese bombing raid on Pearl Harbor. It included some 300 Japanese leaders who expressed their wish for reconciliation among former enemy nations. More than 1,200 couples filled the Marriott Crystal Gateway in Arlington, Virginia, which was the main Blessing venue. The Rev. Dr. E.V. Hill, a nationally famous pastor and friend of presidents, participated and said in his public remarks, “God meant for me to be with you. All races and religions are here. I am meant to be with you and know you and become your brother.” There was a reconciliation ceremony for three representatives of the Abrahamic faiths and others for representatives of the communist and democratic worlds, white and black pastors, and for Native Americans. It was noteworthy that American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) pastors formed a highly effective outreach team in supporting the Holy Marriage Blessing.
December 7-9, 1974
San Francisco Bay Area Welcomes “The Day of Hope”
True Father’s December 7-9, 1974, San Francisco Bay Area Day of Hope tour stop was the greatest success since Madison Square Garden. The December 7 kickoff banquet, held at the Fairmont Hotel, brought out 1,160 San Franciscans. A letter of welcome from California Governor Ronald Reagan was read, and proclamations were announced from San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, San Leandro, Concord, Burlingame, San Mateo, Stockton, Menlo Park and Hayward. The city of Oakland proclaimed December 9 as Sun Myung Moon Day and presented True Father with a tie tack and cuff links in the shape of an oak tree. The December 9 talk brought 5,000 people to the 3,200-seat San Francisco Opera House, with the overflow directed to the Municipal Auditorium a block away.
December 9, 1969
Establishment of the Korean Cultural Foundation in Seoul, Korea
The Korean Cultural Foundation was established in Seoul on December 9, 1969, in order to support the Little Angels, who had been enhancing the nation’s prestige by promoting Korean culture around the world. In obedience to True Parents’ instructions, Korean elders created a foundation to manage the Little Angels. They obtained permission from the Ministry of Culture in December 1969. The Little Angels troupe has visited more than seventy nations, performing more than six thousand times, and, acting as an emissary of peace, has met top-level leaders in more than fifty nations. (Courtesy of the History Compilation Committee.)
December 9, 1993
True Mother’s Speech in Brasilia, Brazil
The first-ever speech of True Mother in South America took place at the Naun Plaza Hotel in Brasilia, Brazil, on December 9, 1993. At this speech, part of True Mother’s “True Parents and the Completed Testament Age Tour,” the president of Brazil’s Congresso Nacional warmly welcomed her. She spoke about the importance of the mother’s role in the Completed Testament Age, and the audience responded with warm applause. The South American leg of her speaking tour continued through Montevideo, Uruguay, on December 10, Buenos Aires, Argentina, on December 11, and Lima, Peru, on December 13. (Courtesy of the History Compilation Committee.)
December 10, 2013
True Mother and Korean FFWPU Aid Typhoon-Afflicted Philippines
Super Typhoon Haiyan—one of the strongest storms recorded on the planet—smashed into the Philippines on November 8, 2013. The deadliest Philippine typhoon recorded in modern history, it killed at least 6,300 people. The international community responded generously with monetary aid and aid workers. One Unificationist city leader was killed and 100 members in the Philippines’ central region were left homeless. After hearing reports about the situation in the Philippines on November 15, True Mother gave a direction that one million dollars should be sent to the Philippines, and the Korean Family Church designated November 17 as a “Day to Support Members in the Philippines,” fasting in the morning and kicking off a campaign to collect donations and relief supplies until December 10. Korean FFWPU President Kyeng Seuk Lu visited the Philippines, bringing with him 200,000 dollars in donations collected by Korean church members and delivering a message of encouragement. More than 5,000 Philippine church members who had participated in international marriage blessings were living in Korea, and another 7,000 in Japan.