United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
September 14, 2006
Full Report and Photos (PDF)
LONDON - It was indeed wonderful to arrive at the New Connaught Rooms in central London just before 6:30 pm and to see nearly 800 members and guests waiting in eager anticipation for the evening to begin. Nobody would leave disappointed. Under the masterful stewardship of emcee David Hannah, the event kicked off with an energized and athletic break dance routine from the WAIT brothers. This was followed by a mellower but no less engaging act from the WAIT sisters who performed their trademark fan dance to the song “The Rose”.
Backed by a trio of familiar faces on guitar, drums and keyboards, second generation Gabriel Hughes and Trina Franklin were next on stage. In their first song, Gabriel demonstrated that he is not only a talented lyricist and song-writer, but a gifted singer too. Tina then expressed her heart in a beautiful song called “2000 years”. The audience was spellbound.
Guest speaker Councillor Faizullah Khan opened the speaking part of the program with a moving and poetic tribute to True Father. “Words are powerful tools”, he told the audience. He then expressed a deeply-felt gratitude for True Father’s founding of the Universal Peace Federation and his unrelenting efforts to teach the will of God. Following the Holy Wine and offering ceremonies, European President Dr Yeong Cheol Song read the Chairman’s Address, explaining the background and significance of this and the two previous world tours. True Parent’s life and work were then introduced to a rapt audience in a succinct and powerful new video, “A Giant Step towards World Peace. It moved me to tears.
Finally it was time for the founder’s address presented by Dr Hyun Jin Moon. It had been 28 years since he was last in the UK and many of us were seeing him for the first time. Hyun Jin Nim started by talking briefly about the right of inheritance. He then proceeded to read True Father’s words with such fluidity and conviction that it was clear we were listening to a speaker who actually “owned” the words he was declaring.
Following the World Peace Blessing, officiated by UK National leader Mr Tim Read and his wife Delores, Hyun Jin Nim came back on stage with his wife Jun Sook Nim. The audience was astounded to learn that this youthful and highly accomplished couple are also the parents of eight children!
Seven new Ambassadors for Peace then received awards and the evening closed with a dynamic dance performance from two colourful dancers that evoked images of a human firework display – surely a fitting finale to the last European event in the True Family’s Third World Peace Tour.
BIRMINGHAM - There was a joyful, energetic 'buzz' in the air as a very diverse group of people spilled into the reception area, where they enjoyed sandwiches, drinks and engaging conversation. A rich mixture of just over 200 people from the political, religious, academic and civic areas of Birmingham's multicultural society had gathered to receive God's word and blessing at lunchtime on Thursday September 14th.
In spite of torrential rain, most of the invited guests braved the elements, demonstrating a shared commitment to peace and a strong belief in the importance of faith, family and living for others, three central themes in this world speaking tour. Perhaps partly for this reason, there was a certain depth and dignity to the occasion, and feelings of deep emotion welling up inside us throughout the program.
Two songs by our children's Rainbow Choir genuinely moved people's hearts at the start of the program, complemented by words of support and encouragement which followed from several VIP guests, including a former Lord Mayor of Birmingham. We also had a letter of support written by Lord Tarsem King, a member of the British government who was unable to be with us. He welcomed our keynote speaker, Mrs Ji Yea Park, to our region as a member of Rev and Mrs Moon's family and wished her well for the remaining countries of the 40-nation speaking tour.
When Mrs Park came on stage and commenced the keynote address we could connect with her heart and presentation from the very beginning.
Having managed to compose herself, after a severe experience with the Immigration Authority earlier in the morning, she apologized for her English, but this simply had the effect of strengthening the rapport between her and the audience.. Applause came a number of times, particularly towards the end of the speech. After presenting 15 Ambassador for Peace awards, we brought the afternoon to a conclusion with several items of entertainment, a mixture of poetry, dance and song.
EDINBURGH - On one of the greyest, wettest, days we have had this year, a bright flame has been ignited in the hearts of all Owho gathered to be a part of the Universal Peace Federations Families for World Peace Tour held in EDINBURGH’s elegant Roxburghe Hotel.
Against a backdrop of national flags and with the sound of the fiddle and sweet song in our ears, a warm welcome was offered to one and all by our officiator Robert Williamson and our MC, Oliver Lane. An overview of the work and mission of the Universal Peace Federation was enthusiastically offered by Paul Currie in order to ground the gathered crowd in the work and the ethics upheld by the founders of UPF.
A warm welcome was offered to Mr In Sup Pak, the son-in-law of the Reverend Moon, as he boldly took the main stage and, with a sincere air, offered his humble thanks to be able to come to Scotland and deliver the Founders Address to the gathered audience.
He proposed and answered “Then what is True Love? Its essence is to give, to live for the sake of the whole. True Love gives, forgets that it has given, and continues to give without ceasing.” This is the God all should know and this is the way all should live.
Carrying the word of another is not an easy task yet In Sup Pak capably reinforced the full content of the speech God’s Ideal Family and the Kingdom of the Peaceful, Ideal World (2006).
HARROW - At the Cumberland Hotel the HARROW Chapter of The Universal Peace Federation was able to hold its Inaugural Meeting. We were officially welcomed to Harrow by Borough Councillor and microbiologist Mrs Vina Mithani.
When the main speaker Mr Shin Il Moon came onto the stage, the whole atmosphere changed, as, with the natural exuberance of youth, he was able to inspire the audience with his future plan of driving a Ferrari around the International Highway! He captured the attention of the audience, through his open, honest expression.
This definitely helped to break the ice, and form a natural bond between the audience and the speaker, who then often broke off from the main body of the speech to share with us his own personal feelings. He mentioned how much he envied us in Europe, where all the football teams and events are so multicultural, and also what a good idea he thought the European Union was.
He said he never really knows which country to identify with: as he is ethnically a Korean, who was born in America, who then grew up in Japan. He also mentioned about his International Blessing, as his wife is from Japan, and how much he wants to find common ground within their marriage. These comments revealed that he is personally engaging the truths for which his grandfather is so famous.
CROYDON - What a moving event for CROYDON! We were lifted up by the deeply spiritual music of the Indian Classical Musician Mr.Bharat Koria on the sitar, and mezzo- soprano Der-Shin Hwang singing movingly “Eternal Spring”. They made us feel how the human spirit is indeed supreme and beautiful. I was privileged to welcome Mrs Shin Sook Moon and her husband Hirotaka Otsuka at the airport this morning.
Our welcome by first and second generation members (from 8 years up) was deeply felt. As I closed the car door for Shin Sook Nim she looked up and asked “Aren’t you coming with us?” - even a few minutes conversation had drawn us closer.
She and her husband bade each other farewell as he set off for Bromley. It was delightful to see this newly married couple reveal their affection for each other with simple gestures and words, expressing their wish to spend more time together during their busy schedule.
Shin Sook Nim was radiant in a pale green satin suit with pink highlights. The speech seemed such an enormous declaration for such a delicate and warm hearted young lady. She gave it trustingly and with dignity.
I could sense how much she really felt the intensity with which her grandfather, Father Moon, had sent her out to embrace us. As she thanked us for our work, building the UPF, she broke into a beautiful smile. The room was full of a wide variety of guests coming from many religious and racial backgrounds.
An Imam’s wife who visits women in prison, a Pakistani student who works for racial tolerance, a member of the board of directors in Sutton Peace and Justice Group and a business leader were amongst them. One gentleman who has been to several of our meetings seemed to fill up with realisations during Father’s Speech, and took six copies to share with friends. He said “this speech doesn’t come from just a human hand! It has touched me so very deeply right into my soul! - I want to join you now and there’s so much to do!”
Mr David Kamsler M.B.E. fought in the Korean War, founded a charity and was one of those who welcomed Father Moon last November. He was very impressed and happy to receive the blessing.
WANDSWORTH - This afternoon we had the great honour of welcoming True Father's grandson, Shin Bok Moon, to give a speech at the Bina Hall in Tooting, WANDSWORTH.
A lot of prayer and hard work went into the preparation for the speech and it paid off well, as it was a great success! In spite of the weather forecast's warnings of rain, it was a pleasant, sunny day and the hall was packed with people. Pastor Franklin Fortune started off the afternoon by warmly welcoming all of the guests.
The Chairman's Address was beautifully read by Mrs. Barbara van Praag Sigaar; and the video presentation briefly recounted the life of our True Parents and explained their many contributions to world peace. Mr. Shin Bok Moon was very warmly welcomed on stage, and before starting to read the speech he shared a few words about how he is representing his Grandfather, Father Moon.
The speech was very well received and put inspiration into the hearts of the listeners. New Ambassadors for Peace were introduced to Shin Bok Nim Moon and had their picture taken together. Many commented on the profound truths explored and how much they enjoyed being present.
HALIFAX - Overcoming significant last minute transport difficulties the morning of the event, a successful and heartwarming gathering was held at the Imperial Crown Hotel, HALIFAX.
The Archives conference room was full with a multicultural audience who gave their sincere attention to Mr. Hyung Jin Lee, and responded with genuine warmth after the speech. The young people present were thrilled to talk to Mr. Lee. He also took the time to listen to an impromptu performance from one of them the award-winning opera singer Julia Williams.
BROMLEY - It was surely the most momentous occasion in the history of UPF BROMLEY, as we welcomed Mr Hirotaka Otsuka to the historic Ripley Arts Centre. The beautiful late Victorian interior was radiant. The glowing colours and glowing faces resulted in a glowing reception for the Founder’s Address. Mr Otsuka, representing the new generation of world leadership, delivered the word with charm and sincerity. All the preparations were rewarded with a very successful event.
STRATFORD - East Londoners mixed with Scandinavians to fill a crowded room in London’s Docklands for the 40 Nation World Peace Tour. The Opening Prayer was offered by Rev.D Sajowa who later embraced our speaker Mrs Yeon Sun Yu and offered the gift presentation. The VIP Remarks were made by Dr Colin Gardiner, present with three generations of his family. Here are some Guest comments:
- The meeting was very good. I could meet people from different walks of life. You say that True love is power, True love is God and True Love has no motive or agenda, this is, I believe, the essence of your teaching Mr Bakhshi – Sikh Amb for Peace
- I felt quite emotional during the main speech. This was because I felt God was with us. I saw a lot of spiritual activity from spirit world, angels etc. I admired Yeon Sun Nim. She seemed really genuine in her desire to love everyone and shake everyone’s hand.” Dawn – A British Christian who came with her mother –in- law.
CARDIFF - capital of Wales, greeted the three generation peace tour of the Universal Peace Federation in the historic Captain Scott Room of the Royal Hotel. The room was set up in banquet style with grandparents, parents and children gathered together. Mrs Jin Hwa Yoshida took special delight in seeing so many second generation and took a photo with them. When she gave True Father's speech, which was received with much enthusiasm and warmth, her presence and the words she spoke deeply moved everyone, even rendering the MC speechless with emotion.
BRISTOL - UPF hosted the World Peace Tour and invited Mrs Yashuben Amlani MBE to give the invocation, a Hindu prayer for peace - “Without love there is no truth”. Mr Ravi Pandaya, Chairman of the Bristol Cultural Palace, gave the welcoming remarks stating how his own prayer “to be useful” led him to meet the Universal Peace Federation where he can find his ideals realized in working together with all faith communities. Mr Young Jun Kim, representing UPF’s Founders Father and Mother Moon, captured the heart of the audience with his warm hearted interaction, reading the Founder’s Speech in a manner which allowed its beauty and power to touch the audience.