This week in history 17 to 23 October

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October 19 ~ 22, 2001
Post-9/11 Conference on “Global Violence: Conflict and Hope”

The Global Violence Crisis and Hope assembly is held as a response to the tragedy on September 11.
The Global Violence Crisis and Hope assembly is held as a response to the tragedy on September 11.

Like the rest of the world, the Unification Church and its affiliated organizations were shocked by the tragic events of September 11, 2001. After a 12,000-Couple World Clergy Marriage Blessing Ceremony scheduled for September 22 at Madison Square Garden was canceled, a “Day of Prayer and Healing” prayer breakfast and rally were held in the heart of Manhattan. However, True Father did not consider this to be sufficient and convened a major gathering at the New York Hilton from October 19-22 to address “root causes and potential solutions to global violence.”

Assembly 2001 was the second in a series of meetings sponsored by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP) to address global problems. The event gathered some 400 political and religious leaders, media representatives, NGO representatives, scholars and peace activists from 101 nations, whom conference organizer Dr. Thomas Walsh congratulated for their “courage” in coming to New York.

Those attending included former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle; H.E. Abdurrahman Wahid, former president of Indonesia and head of the world’s largest organization of Muslims; the former presidents of Guatemala, Seychelles, Costa Rica, Belarus and Mongolia, and the former governor-general of Canada as well as many religious leaders such as Dr. Jerry Falwell, founder of Liberty University, Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, and Rabbi David Broadman, chief rabbi of two cities in Israel.

In his closing banquet address, “Let Us Discover the True Meaning of I,” True Father focused on human beings finding their “true” selves. This, he said, was possible only through “living for one’s family, nation, world and God.” In this way, “I” expands to ever more inclusive levels of “we.” Based on this vision of solidarity, True Father asked participants to go out to the world as “God-appointed ambassadors to realize world peace.”

October 20, 1978
First World Media Conference

In its sixth year, the World Media Conference, held in Cartagena, Colombia, was the largest and most successful gathering in its history.
In its sixth year, the World Media Conference, held in Cartagena, Colombia, was the largest and most successful gathering in its history.

Having experienced the “awesome power” of the media “to create or to destroy,” True Father established the World Media Association to advance the cause of world peace by championing freedom and moral responsibility in the press.

The association convened the first World Media Conference in October 1978 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, under the theme “The Future of the Free Press.” Thirty-eight journalists from 16 countries participated.

The association continued to sponsor World Media Conferences and associated “fact-finding” tours for journalists throughout the 1980s. The sixth conference, held in Cartagena, Colombia, in September 1983, brought together 600 media representatives from 92 countries. The conferences culminated in the 11th World Media Conference, which was held from April 9-13, 1990, in Moscow. The conference, jointly sponsored with the Soviet Union’s Novosti news agency, resulted in True Parents’ private audience with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.

October 20, 1997
True Father Begins Journey on Amazon River

True Parents made South America a focal point of their work during the mid- and late 1990s. During a speaking tour of 23 Latin American nations in 1995, True Father emphasized the region’s “stunning and abundant potential,” noting that its “mountains, rivers and jungles hark back to the original state of creation.” Having purchased land in the Brazilian outback that would become New Hope Farms, True Father began exploring the Paraguay and Amazon Rivers in 1997. He pointed out that the Paraguay River divides the continent east and west and the Amazon divides it north and south, but that their sources were only four kilometers apart.

He envisioned that area being preserved as a “place of encounter where God, people and all things meet in a New Eden.” He also envisioned representatives of the nations settling along the banks of the two rivers. In pursuit of this, True Father set out by boat on the Paraguay River in mid-summer. According to a travel companion: “Every 50 kilometers we set out a sign numbered on a stick. … It was not easy to do that, because it is swampy ground covered with growth, and we had to clear the area; walking through the water and getting bitten by bees and ants. We set 63 signposts along the Paraguay River.”

True Father speaks at New Hope Farm in Uruguay.
True Father speaks at New Hope Farm in Uruguay.

True Father did the same along the Amazon, beginning October 20, although given the vast stretches of river to be covered, he adopted a different strategy: flying to different sites and then renting boats in which to explore the river. True Father expressed admiration for the small villages and villagers whom he viewed as “pristine Adamic families.” The same companion noted that it was so hot and steamy” and “we all got blisters on our mouths” but that despite his exhaustion and the unbearable heat, True Father “continued to push us, saying that this is where we can build the Garden of Eden.” Following the stake-setting expeditions, the church began purchasing property along the Paraguay River for future development.

October 20, 2014
Julia Kim Ascends

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Mrs. Julia B. Kim, the wife of Dr. Christopher Kim, ascended on October 20, 2014, in Seoul, Korea, after a long battle with illness. The Kims served briefly as continental directors of FFWPU in North America in 2008, after completing almost 20 years of service as the continental directors of the Asia region, where they led FFWPU in many nations from the early stages of pioneering to become a movement with national influence, planting churches and establishing schools, non-profits and related businesses. They traveled widely throughout Asia and established many church centers in the Philippines and Thailand. They received awards from True Parents for their outstanding contribution.

Upon hearing the news of Mrs. Kim’s ascension, True Mother bestowed a calligraphy and instructed that she be buried at Paju Wonjon. Mrs. Kim joined the church in 1964 and received the Blessing with the 777 Couples in 1970.

October 21, 1970
777 Couples Holy Blessing

True Parents presided over the first truly International Marriage Blessing Ceremony when they blessed 777 couples on October 21, 1970. As part of the 430 Couples Holy Marriage Blessing in 1968, True Parents blessed 43 non-Korean couples overseas in 1969. For the 777 Couples Holy Marriage Blessing, participants came from 10 nations to Korea.

The Marriage Blessing was conducted at Seoul’s Changchung (Metropolitan) Gymnasium in the presence of over 15,000. True Father stated that this was the last Marriage Blessing that he would conduct “before globalizing my mission.” He noted that the 777 Couples Holy Marriage Blessing was the seventh following True Parents’ Holy Wedding. This Marriage Blessing lay the foundation for the Unification movement to work on the worldwide level. “What belongs to Korea,” he said, “can now belong to the world and vice versa.”

October 21, 1974
7-Day Fast for Japanese Wives of North Korean Repatriates

Protestors hold a 7-day fast on behalf of wives in North Korea.
Protestors hold a 7-day fast on behalf of wives in North Korea.
True Father speaks at the conclusion of the 7-day fast.
True Father speaks at the conclusion of the 7-day fast.

Seven hundred Unificationists fasted for seven days in front of the United Nations in New York from October 21-27, 1974, to protest the treatment of Japanese wives of North Korean repatriates. True Father initiated the fast for humanitarian and providential reasons. He noted that Korean men living in Japan who married Japanese women and then repatriated to North Korea had “cheated” the wives who were “now ill-treated and persecuted under the regime.” In this connection, the Unification Church published a volume of testimonies from these women, If I Had Wings Like a Bird, I Would Fly Across the Sea, which publicized their plight.

Apart from the humanitarian issue, Unificationists undertook the fast within the context of a North Korean proposal, which had gained traction in the UN General Assembly, that called for UN forces to be removed from South Korea. True Father stated that the fast’s purpose was to “make naked the evil reality of what they are doing in North Korea and in all the communist regimes.” Unificationists’ efforts continued after the fast, and on December 9, 1974, the UN General Assembly approved a U.S.-sponsored resolution providing for maintenance of the United Nations Command in South Korea.

October 21, 1990
Middle East Peace Summit

On August 2, 1990, forces under the command of Iraqi President Sadaam Hussein invaded and annexed the neighboring country of Kuwait. This was met with international condemnation, international sanctions and a coalition of the largest military alliance since World War II. All this was deeply troubling to True Father. Unknown to most, Unificationist organizations had cultivated contacts within the Muslim world since the early 1980s. The Professors World Peace Academy (PWPA) and the Council for the World’s Religions (CWR) had convened several conferences of high-level Muslim religious leaders, including the grand muftis of Syria and Yemen.

True Parents meet the Grand Mufti of Syria during the Middle East Peace Summit.
True Parents meet the Grand Mufti of Syria during the Middle East Peace Summit.

In response to the Gulf Crisis, True Father was confident enough of his contacts in the region to call a Middle East Peace Summit in Cairo, Egypt, at short notice, beginning on October 21, 1990. In a “Message to Islam” read to participants, he stated, “The greatest imaginable tragedy would be for war to erupt between Christians and Muslims in the Middle East.” He urged all present to “live only for one goal, and that is, to protect and safeguard this situation against the possibility of a religious war.”

Unificationists were not successful in averting the first Gulf War. However, Muslim leaders were impressed with True Father’s message. The grand muftis of Syria and Yemen agreed to send core followers to New York for a 40-day Inter-Religious Leadership Seminar (IRLS), and in 1992, 42 Muslim couples took part in a Holy Marriage Blessing Ceremony officiated by True Parents. True Father termed the participation of Muslims “a miracle.” In effect, it broke the tribal barrier, enabling True Parents to extend the Blessing to persons other than Unificationists.

October 22, 1980
The News World Creates Dailies in Other Languages

A Spanish-language New York daily, Noticias Del Mundo, was inaugurated on October 22, 1980, as a sister publication to The News World (started in 1976). Other News World spinoffs included a Korean-language daily, a Harlem weekly, and a small press service, Free Press International (FPI), out of New York. Overseas newspapers affiliated with The News World included Sekai Nippo, a daily in Japan; Ultimas Noticias, a daily in Uruguay; and The Middle East Times, a weekly published in Cyprus.

October 22, 1981
True Father’s Foley Square address

True Father speaks at the Foley Square Rally
True Father speaks at the Foley Square Rally

Following his indictment on tax evasion charges, which later were shown to be riddled with irregularities, True Father returned to the United States from Korea for his initial appearance in a New York City court on October 22, 1981. At a large, public post-arraignment rally before supporters in a park across the street from Foley Square Courthouse in Manhattan, True Father said:

“I came back to America not just for my own vindication. I came back to America as a representative of all those who suffer governmental injustice, racial prejudice or religious bigotry. … Today I declare war against these enemies.”

He spoke under a massive “We Shall Overcome” banner that exhorted those present to “Protect Religious Liberties and Minority Rights.” In a memorable turn of phrase, True Father stated:

“I would not be standing here today if my skin were white and my religion Presbyterian. I am here today only because my skin is yellow and my religion is Unification Church.”

The movement subsequently published the text of True Father’s Foley Square Address in a full-page advertisement in The New York Times. It also provided an initial endowment of $2 million for the creation of a Minorities Alliance International (MAI).

October 22, 2011
Peace Week Ceremony commemorates 20th anniversary of True Parents’ visit to North Korea

After a Hoon Dok Hwe session in the Cheon Jeong Gung (Peace Museum), True Father headed for Sun Moon University to attend the 2011 Peace Week Proclamation Ceremony. The ceremony, which commemorated the 20th anniversary of True Parents’ visit to North Korea, began at 10:30 a.m. in the Grand Hall on the sixth floor of Sun Moon University’s main building.

True Father presided over the event hosted by the Ambassadors for Peace Council and Universal Peace Federation (UPF). More than 600 Ambassadors for Peace from regions across Korea attended. True Father’s talk centered on his speech given at the Cosmic Assembly for the Settlement of the True Parents of Heaven, Earth and Humankind and for the Proclamation of the Word by God’s Substantial Self. After True Father finished speaking, the event ended at around 4:00 p.m. with three cheers of Eok Mansei led by Dr. No Hee Pak.

October 23, 1955
Seonghwa Student Council founded

The Seonghwa Student Council was founded on October 23, 1955. At the beginning of that month, True Father was found innocent of draft evasion and released from Seodaemun Prison. The headquarters church was then moved to Yeongsan Gu, Cheongpa Dong. On October 16, Sunday school was opened. It was on this foundation that the Seonghwa Student Council, encompassing students in elementary school, middle school and high school, was founded. This was the result of activities that the founding preparatory committee, under the guidance of Rev. Won Pil Kim, carried out since September of that year. High school graduates this year are the 60th group of Seonghwa students. (Materials provided by the FFWPU History Compilation Committee)

October 23, 1999
Declaration of the Day of Liberation of the Blessing for the Entire Cosmos

On October 23, 1999, the Declaration of the Day of Liberation of the Blessing for the Entire Cosmos was held in East Garden, beginning at 7:00 a.m. In attendance were the children of True Parents and around forty movement leaders.

On this day True Father said, “As of today, I proclaim the unity of the four great realms of the heart, the liberation of creation, the liberation of children, the liberation of a couple and the liberated realm of the True Parents of Heaven and Earth.” Based on this victorious foundation, True Father said we had entered the era of the realm of absolute ownership in which God can freely act. It was at this declaration that True Father instructed that holy wine and pure love candy be distributed to people on the street. (Materials provided by the FFWPU History Compilation Committee)


Source: Sunhak Institute of History, accessed 19/9/21