This week in history May 2 to 8

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  • Unificationists clean Manhattan and the Bronx (May 3, 1976)
  • True Father declares a New Sabbath and “The Era after the Coming of Heaven” (May 5, 2004)
  • New FFWPU Headquarters building is dedicated in Korea (May 5, 2005)
  • A joint worship service for the kickoff of Vision 2020 is held (May 5, 2013)
  • The Professors World Peace Academy is founded (May 6, 1973)
  • The New York State Court of Appeals declares the Unification Church a bona fide religion (May 6, 1982)

MAY 2, 2004

2004 World Peace King Cup Fishing Tournament Begins in Yeosu

05-02-16 Fish King Cup

The opening ceremony of the 2004 World Peace King Cup Fishing Tournament was held at Heung-guk Gymnasium on May 2, 2004. The event, which was hosted by the World Sports Fishing Federation, a providential organization, attracted around 3,000 lovers of angling. The tournament took place in the sea off Yeosu. At the awards ceremony on May 5, True Father said, “When the winners from each country partake in the fishing tournament, win prizes and achieve a pastime satisfaction in which all are happy, a nation on earth can be formed in which all are equal.”

MAY 3, 1976

U.S. Members Clean Manhattan and the Bronx

True Father launched an “America the Beautiful” project on May 3, 1976, as part of the “God Bless America” campaign on the occasion of the United States’ 200th anniversary. More than 1,000 Unificationists from across the nation took up brooms and dustpans to clean the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx. Dressed in white jumpsuits with the God Bless America Festival logo on the back, they cleaned in their witnessing area every morning from 7 to 8. The cleanup project was intended to raise awareness for the upcoming “God Bless America Festival” at Yankee Stadium on June 1 at which True Father would deliver an address on “God’s Hope for America.” The Unificationist folk-rock band Sunburst provided free lunch-hour concerts, and hundreds of additional Unificationists arrived for the final push, spearheading street rallies and massive ticket distribution efforts.

MAY 5, 2004

Declaration of a New Sabbath and “The Era after the Coming of Heaven”

05-02-16 Ssang Hab Shib Seung Il 02

On May 1, 2004, the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (HSA-UWC), or Unification Church, observed the 50th anniversary of its founding. In connection with this observance, True Father made two bold announcements—first, that the Sabbath had been fulfilled and that he was proclaiming Ahn Shi Il, the Day of Attendance of Safe Settlement, to be observed by Unificationists every eighth day. The first Ahn Shi Il was conducted on May 5. On that day, True Father made the second announcement: that a great transition from “the era before the coming of heaven” to “the era after the coming of heaven” had taken place. The key implication of this providential announcement was that world peace, which had been impossible to achieve during “the era before the coming of heaven,” was now possible. This, in particular, was understood to be the reason why the United Nations, born prior to “the era after the coming of heaven,” had not been able to fulfill its mission. True Father’s proclamation of a new Sabbath and “the era after the coming of heaven” culminated trends in his thought and practice that he had introduced previously, including his declaration that the “providence of salvation” was “over,” that “blessed families” should pray in their own names, that humankind had entered an era “beyond the realm of the Fall,” that a time of “high noon” with “no shadows” had arrived, that the time of “indirect dominion” had passed and that “God is now directly teaching and instructing us.”

MAY 5, 2005

New FFWPU Headquarters Building Dedicated in Korea

05-02-16 New HQ Korea

The dedication ceremony for the new FFWPU Headquarters building was held on May 5, 2005, with the attendance of True Parents. The headquarters consisted of four floors under ground level and nine floors above ground level. Construction began in June 2003 and took a little over two years. Some 1,000 people gathered for the ceremony. True Father offered a simple prayer in the lobby before cutting the tape. True Parents then presided over the sprinkling of holy salt to sanctify the new building. True Father wrote calligraphy for the new building: “Mansei for the Kingship of Peace throughout Heaven and Earth” (unofficial translation) and then went up to the 8th floor to participate in the main ceremony.

MAY 5, 2013

Joint Worship Service for the Kickoff of Vision 2020

Prior to Foundation Day 2013, True Mother declared, “Foundation Day is not the end. Until we liberate all humanity and bring back all 6.5 billion people to Heaven, we have to offer our utmost effort.” In line with this commitment, True Mother announced the “2020 Vision,” which launched Unificationists on a new seven-year trajectory. True Mother’s stated intention was to “substantiate” Cheon Il Guk and, in particular, offer Korea “to Heaven” on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of True Father’s birthday in 2020. The “Joint Worship Service for Victory of Vision 2020” was held at the Cheongshim Peace World Center on May 5. Forty-three students from the Universal Peace Academy entered the stadium holding the flags of the 43 strategic and providential nations which would take the lead this effort.  True Mother asked that all families who had received the Holy Marriage Blessing and all young people born into the Unificationist faith carry on True Parents’ tradition of absolute faith in fulfilling their mission as tribal messiahs and expand the scope of our responsibilities beyond the tribe to the society, nation and world, so that all humankind can become citizens of Cheon Il Guk.

MAY 6, 1973

The Professors World Peace Academy Founded

The Professors World Peace Academy (PWPA) was founded by True Father during an assembly of 168 Japanese and Korean professors, to “contribute to the solutions of urgent problems facing our modern civilization and to help resolve the cultural divide between East and West.” The organization held discussions such as healing historical tensions, first only in Korea and Japan, then spreading around the world to more than a hundred countries. PWPA sponsored a providentially significant conference on “The Fall of the Soviet Empire” in 1985. PWPA-related scholars have written important works through Paragon House and publish the International Journal on World Peace four times annually. PWPA is a major supporter of the University of Bridgeport.

MAY 6, 1982

New York State Court of Appeals Declares the Unification Church a Bona Fide Religion

The Unification Church was embroiled in near-constant litigation from 1975 to 1985. Though this was costly and time consuming, several decisions, won on appeal, gained the Church gradual recognition as a bona fide religion with tax exemption privileges, public solicitation rights and access to missionary visas. In addition, the Church was able to extend constitutional protections to its adherents and successfully press for action against deprogrammers. By unanimously overturning lower court decisions which had refused to recognize the Unification Church’s religious purposes, the New York Court of Appeals in HSA-UWC v. Tax Commission of New York City [1772], decided on May 6, 1982, held as a matter of law that the Unification Church was a bona fide religion entitled to tax exemption privileges.

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 instalment covers the week of May 2-8.

Adapted from “A New Era Begins“, this week in history, May 1 – 7 (2014). Contributed by Dr. Michael Mickler, professor of church history at Unification Theological Seminary. At