UPF Founders Speak in London
May 11, 2011
UPF — United Kingdom
London, UK — Returning to London for the first time since founding the UPF in 2005, Dr. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon said they had “great expectations” for their visit, which culminated in both of them giving public addresses on May 11.
The first two days were spent in informal gatherings and visiting historic sites, including a walk in the beautiful St. James Park, full of flowers, birds, and squirrels. The services of a Korean tour guide very knowledgeable in British history enhanced the visit to Westminster Abbey, the site of the coronation of Kings and Queens since 1066. The party went on the London Eye, where they enjoyed the fantastic views over the city on this clear blue sky day, then to Blackfriars Pier on the Thames River.
A trip up and down the river was graced with very pleasant weather, delicious food, and the very best company! Everyone started off inside the boat eating lunch but then went outside to the stern where all joined in singing the children’s song “London Bridge is falling down” and taking lots of photographs.
The third day began with a special event in the Houses of Parliament. Mother Moon was the honored guest of Lord Tarsem King of West Bromwich, who led a tour of the impressive public rooms and the Chamber where the Queen opens Parliament and the members of the House of Lords meet to debate legislation.
By 10:45 am they entered the largest Committee Room in the House of Commons, overlooking the Thames, for a gathering organized by Member of Parliament Dave Anderson, who has supported the work of UPF from the Middle East Peace Initiative to proposals to launch a low-cost housing project. In his speech he reported how pressure had been brought to bear on him to try and prevent the meeting:
“I will be very clear, because there have been attempts in the past 24 hours to attack the UPF for what they are trying to do here. I am not, never have been and probably never will be a member of the UPF. I don’t support its political or religious philosophy or believe that the only way of peace is through God, but what I do believe is that it will be one way for some people to support peace, and I believe that that is good thing. I believe that if other people with responsibility in the press and the media and other parts of this country were at least to say what is true, to reach out to people, find and build peace through dialogue, through listening to people and not through attacking people, that this would be only for the good. I believe that is the responsibility of people who genuinely want to find a light for the future. You all know as well as I do the tensions that are in the world today, the only answer is when people of good faith come together and start to find the way forward.”
Next spoke Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake, who has responsibility in government for
“The whole agenda of community cohesion, in other words faith communities in the UK, working together to identify common ground, and common purpose, and get an understanding of where they stand on different issues, and perhaps dispelling some of the myths that exist around the different religions.”
Hence the reason for his presence at the meeting to support the work that UPF is doing through interracial and interfaith dialogue. He wished UPF well for its further development, to make sure that we have stronger working relationships between the faiths, at a time that this is so much needed nationally and internationally.
A welcome address was also given by Lord King, the Patron of UPF in the UK and the first representative of the Sikh faith to become a member of the House of Lords:
“Father Moon has worked all his life to create peaceful situations. The sooner we realize and take advantage of the teaching of the Rev. Moon, the better off we will be. Dr. Moon is very special, and I think he has a unique vision in the world to influence for good what is happening. If the slogan One Family under God really takes off, we will avoid the difficulties that we are going through now.”
As well as offering a welcome, Lord King offered an apology for the delay at the airport, due to the failure of the British Home Office to communicate assurances given to British Parliamentarians that Father Moon would be allowed to enter without any need for prior clearance.
Mother Moon was introduced to offer her keynote address by her daughter In Jin Moon, who talked about her mother’s work with the Women’s Federation for World Peace, her efforts to uplift women while setting an example of loyalty to her husband, and her encouragement for humanitarian work through the International Relief Friendship Foundation.
The evening program at the Hilton Metropole Hotel was preceded by a wonderful build-up of congratulatory addresses, ceremonies, and musical performances for the packed audience of approximately 1,500. The proceedings began with an exquisite rendering of the famous “Flower Duet” by two young British sopranos, which brought an early spirit of tranquility to the convention hall. A water ceremony was conducted by representatives of the faith traditions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Each spoke (or chanted) to share their understanding of the importance of water in their respective traditions, in particular its symbolism of healing and cleansing, a goal shared by all the faith traditions, as was expressed symbolically by each pouring water into a common large vessel.
The European UPF Chairman, Dr. Yong Cheol Song, gave the first congratulatory address, encouraging all Ambassadors for Peace to embody the broad principles expounded by the Founder. His words were taken to heart by the two Ambassadors for Peace who followed him.
Mr. Edwin Shuker, Vice-President of the World Sephardic [Jewish] Congress, spoke of how at a recent International Leadership Conference in Seoul he saw the visible manifestation of the achievements of the UPF Founders: hospitals and seminaries dedicated to serving others; many races and creeds were present but he only saw one — a single family under God. Society, he said, is controlled by fear — of the unknown, of the other. The confusion in the world reflects our individual confusion. We are unclear on right and wrong. But UPF shows clearly the right way — common hope not fear. He spoke of our dreams, aspirations, and ideals, not following transient trends but rather our holy books.
Mr. Anton Rop spoke next, a leading economist who served as Prime Minister of Slovenia from 2002 to 2004, during which time he took his country into NATO and the European Union. He now works as Vice-President of the European Investment Bank. He referred to the financial crises starting in 2007, the economic and social crises all around the world, and the various environmental crises. Too much pursuit of short-term profit cannot continue to drive us. We must behave as one family and make things better for all. Father Moon, he said, points out that these crises arise from selfishness.
“We need to live for others. We changed many things in the EU to increase material prosperity, but we need more social improvement and solidarity. Father Moon’s message should move from heart to heart and from family to family, and from strength to strength.”
Two musical performances followed, the first by a young male duet from the Lovin’ Life Ministries of Rev. In Jin Moon. They performed a new song entitled “Sailing Ships,” followed by a classic romantic ballad from the 1970s entitled “She,” exquisitely performed in a more modern setting. Next was a mother-daughter combination with Mata Williams accompanying her daughter Julia’s vocal performance of the classic “The Impossible Dream.”
Rev. Hyung Jin Moon in his introduction to his father spoke profoundly and engagingly of the value of human beings primarily being secured by their lineage as the children of God. He also candidly revealed how his own understanding of his parents’ role had developed over recent years: God being the Parent of the universe bringing love to His children and the True Parents of humankind standing as the corporeal counterpart to this role.
Finally at 8:20, the time came for Father Moon to give his speech. The lights were strong so he couldn’t see the audience at first, but he certainly could hear the strength of numbers when he offered the choice between a long speech or a short one and a unanimous shout came back requesting the long one. His listeners were warned that the material might be a challenge to digest but the reward would be great since it was a summary of his life-long teaching.
The speech followed along the lines of the prepared text but with additional explanations and ad lib asides to challenge the translator and audience. A continuing theme was whether, based on their history, many accomplishments, and the great academic tradition of Oxford and Cambridge Universities, the British people are qualified to victoriously enter the next stage of life, the spirit world. His answer was a very clear “No!” Even being buried in Westminster Abbey doesn’t give one such a qualification, he said; it is merely a church built on top of a cemetery!
Only True Parents, he continued, can understand and explain the things people need to know. He stated that 450 volumes of his speeches have been published and are in libraries in 43 countries. A professor at Oxford, he said, would have trouble making headway on his 2,700 speeches even with ten years at his disposal. Thus, his keynote address would give the audience a head start. In addition, he encouraged people to read his biography, as many of the distinguished people in the audience said they had (and had not been disappointed).
Suddenly at the stroke of 10:00, with four pages of the 12-page text still to read, Father Moon asked everyone to study the speech themselves and brought his Founder’s Address to a conclusion. A standing ovation from people amazed by his stamina and undiminished ability to fascinate and engage an audience was accompanied by bouquets and a beautiful gift. It was a poignant moment, with many in the room wondering if they would have the chance to see him in London again.
The study period at 5:00 the following morning, in which 200 people turned out to offer a final send-off, was a joyful, informal affair. Father Moon bombarded the front rows with sweets and chocolates, followed by a demonstration of his dexterity catching sweets in his own mouth and downing a cup of tea in a single sip. He will be much missed.