Christopher Davies, UPF-Netherlands
November 1, 2006
On November 1, 2006, All Saints Day, 16 venues in the Kingdom of the Netherlands were scheduled to be visited by 16 saints of the new era. The clocks had just changed on Sunday to winter time, and the season had changed too. The day was rainy, windy, and stormy.
The main Rally for Family Values and World Peace was held in Utrecht, the geographical center of the Netherlands and also significant for the Union of Utrecht of 1579, which set The Netherlands on the road to independence from Spain, and established freedom of religious belief as a cornerstone principle of the emerging nation.
Other rallies were held in the afternoon. In the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, there were three meetings. In the UPF Dialogue Centre in “Old South,” Rev. Damon Rocah prefaced his reading of Father Moon’s speech “God’s Ideal Family and the Kingdom of the Peaceful, Ideal World” by saying, “I came not with my words, but I was commissioned by Rev. Sun Myung Moon”. He said his church was going through a major transition, involving the sale of the main property, “but it was important for me and my congregation that I be here. I have been pastoring for 29 years and have never missed Thanksgiving, but this was more important, these words are so dear to my heart.” He testified to his belief as a Christian that Jesus anointed Rev. Moon. The speech may not have been his words, but he made them his own, speaking with the fervor and passion that Europeans associate with the likes of Martin Luther King. Outside, thunderclaps accompanied his speech!
Three ministers arrived in Germany, not the Netherlands, so in Amsterdam West a local person read the speech.
Amsterdam New South, the Bijlmer is a post World War II development, with a large immigrant community, particularly from Africa and the Caribbean. The meeting was held in the Nieuwe Stad, a church built for use by different denominations. Among the guests was a Christian minister who had just returned from a visit to Africa and felt led by God to come.
The new city of Almere, an outgrowth of Amsterdam, was visited by Rev. David Scholet, a 45-year-old pastor who left a successful career in real estate to become a theological student. He said he was honored to be chosen to deliver Father Moon’s speech and hoped that Father Moon’s lifetime of overcoming great obstacles would inspire his audience to overcome problems in our own lives.
The Utrecht meeting was held in the home of Jean-Pierre and Elfi Verstraeten. One guest stayed afterwards to clean up so Jean Pierre and Elfi could attend the main event.
There were two events in The Hague, the political center of the Netherlands. Rabbi Mordecai Waldman spoke in the afternoon, and his wife, Susan Will, spoke in the evening. Local coordinator Rita Salaris commented that she was impressed by how the rabbi “really lived the speech.” It is fascinating how each speaker makes the speech their very own.
In Nijmegen, at the eastern edge of the Netherlands, Jan and Inger van Winden hosted Bishop Henry Coaxum and were pleased at their guests’ response.
Posters in Alkmaar, North Holland, attracted people to hear Rev. Margaret Bocanegra talking about her life and family, her motives for participating in the tour, and reports about how the tour had gone so far; thought-provoking discussion took place over coffee and cake..
Rev. Ken Owens, who is known for his photographs of other people speaking, delivered the speech in Friesland, from where one line of his ancestry immigrated to the US 150 years ago.
It was planned that ministers who spoke in the afternoon would rest that evening, but they were so caught up in the spirit, or serious about their mission, that most also attended the main event.
Rev. Michael Jenkins flew in unexpectedly and set the hall on fire at the main event in Utrecht. He proclaimed that the concept of brotherhood will not solve the divisions in the Middle East or anywhere else. “We need parenthood,” he said; “godly parental love has to emerge.” He reported about the ministers’ prayers at the DMZ in Korea and noted that talks regarding North Korea opened up three days afterwards.