Rev. Reiner Vincenz: A Man of Victory
FFWPU USA, by the Vincenz Family: Reiner transitioned on Sunday, January 18, 2015, at 3:10 am CST. His transition was smooth, with his family by his side. He finally finished his battle and is marching on to his heavenly mission.
Reiner Vincenz was born on January 9, 1939 in Leipzig, Germany. He grew up during the Second World War and after that under the communist regime of East Germany. As a young boy there was always the fear of what the government might do if one thought or said the wrong thing. When he was around 10 years old, he heard a voice say, “Reiner, you must protect your soul.” He was surprised by this voice and curious about what a soul is, especially if he needed to protect it. This voice returned a few times throughout his life, and he later understood it was the voice of God.
During his youth he trained as a soldier in the day and secretly helped a church youth group at night. When he was 17 he had a chance to visit West Germany. His father took him into the forest to discuss this opportunity with him (so that no one would spy on them) and told him to stay in West Germany, saying, “If only one of us can be free, it should be you.”
Reiner arrived in West Germany and found a job at a car dealership. One of the managers who hired him was a man named Peter Koch. Reiner saw something in Peter and wanted to know what it was. As Reiner got to know Peter, he was surprised that Peter was inspired by a book called the Divine Principle. Peter and his sister Barbara had just learned the Divine Principle in San Francisco and wanted to bring the teachings to their home country of Germany. In 1963 Reiner became the first person to join the Unification Church in Europe.
After being in the church a few months, he was sent as the first missionary to France. He stayed in France for seven years, building seven churches with 120 members. Throughout his life he maintained a great love for France.
In 1969 True Father matched Reiner to Peter Koch’s sister, Barbara, and they received the Holy Marriage Blessing from True Parents as one of the 43 Couples. From then on they always worked together side by side. While Reiner focused on the big ideas and missions, Barbara prepared all the little details along the way. In 1973, True Father called Reiner and Barbara to bring 100 members from France as True Father began a U.S. public speaking tour. Reiner and Barbara would spend the next several years leading teams of young Unificationists to rally people to True Father’s tours. His proudest moment was when True Father asked him to bring 1 million people to the Yoido Rally in Seoul and the International One World Crusade teams were able to work together to accomplish this great feat.
Through his whole life Reiner continued receiving missions from True Father and giving everything to accomplish the goals. He was a man of great faith, determination and commitment, always a person one could rely on to be prepared. He was known by the sayings “Marching on” and “To make a long story short … . “
In 1987 he had an experience that changed his life: He and Barbara became the proud parents of Leena Mirelle Vincenz on January 12, at 12 minutes after 12. Reiner always talked about the historical significance of this: Jan. 1 was God’s Day, Jan. 3 was Jesus’ birthday, Jan. 6 was True Parents’ birthday, Jan. 9 was Reiner’s birthday and Jan. 12 was Leena’s birthday. In 2007, Leena was blessed to Jario Gavin, one of the sons of Jim and Gudrun Gavin. They followed Reiner and Barbara’s footsteps, always working together and being a public couple in their mission. Together with Barbara they will carry on Reiner’s legacy through their 3-year-old daughter, Mirelle Claire, and their soon-to-be-born son who will be named after Reiner’s middle name.
After his daughter was born, Reiner focused on building a business foundation for True Father—bringing millionaires to support the providence and create the Bering Strait Tunnel Project. During this time he carried out missions in South America, China, North Korea, throughout Europe and America. He felt strongly that True Father depended on him, and even in the last few weeks of his life he was still talking about his mission. His heart always drove him to work harder for the providence.
To make a long story short, Reiner lived a victorious life as a disciple of our True Parents.
The family is amazed and grateful at the letters and words of gratitude, inspiration and encouragement that have been flowing in from all over the world. They were able to read many of them to Reiner in the last few days before he ascended. We believe this comforted him and gave him strength. Let his legacy continue through each one of us. We invite you to attend the “National-level Seonghwa,” which will be taking place in the northwest suburbs of Chicago this weekend. Details will be coming.
* Here is a personal account of becoming a Unificationist and working closely with True Parents on their mission.
* Here you can also see a testimony by Rev. Vincenz, given on February 19, 2004 at unification theological seminary.
Rev. Reiner Vincenz: A Timeline of His Life and Missions
1939 – Reiner Vincenz was born on January 9, 1939, in Leipzig in the former East Germany.
1945-1956 – He lived under the communist regime in East Germany from age six to 17.
1956 – He escaped from East Germany to West Germany at the risk of his life.
1964 – On Aug 22, he was introduced to Divine Principle by Peter Koch, the first Unification Church missionary to Europe. On that day Rev. Vincenz understood that the Messiah was on the earth. He accepted the Divine Principle and True Parents and became the first person to join the Unification Church in Europe.
1965 – He was given the responsibility to organize the European segment of True Father’s first worldwide tour.
1966 – On Feb. 28, he left Germany and went as a missionary to France without knowing a single person or knowing the French language. He stayed in France, first as a missionary and then as the national leader of the Unification Church, for exactly seven years, during which time he established seven church centers and introduced 120 persons to the church.
1969 – He received the Holy Marriage Blessing with Barbara as part of the 43 Couples Blessing.
1973 – True Father, who was in the middle of a public speaking tour of the United States, called Rev. and Mrs. Vincenz to come to the U.S. to work for this campaign. They did so, bringing 100 French Unificationists to the U.S. with them.
1973-1974 – He served as one of the International One World Crusade (IOWC) commanders in the United States, leading an international team of Unificationists to 70 cities with the purpose of inviting Americans to True Father’s public speeches (21-city tour, 32-city tour, 8-city tour).
1974 – True Father asked him to lead the First Global Team of 360 members to Japan and Korea.
1975 – Rev. Vincenz led the Day of Hope tour to nine cities in Korea. In the same year he was responsible for the Yoido Rally in Seoul, where True Father delivered an anticommunist message to an audience of 1.2 million.
1976 – True Father called him back to the United States to work for the Yankee Stadium campaign.
1976 – Following the Yankee Stadium rally, also in 1976, Rev. Vincenz was one of the leaders of the Washington Monument campaign. Also in 1976 he led 175 members in the restoration of the New Yorker Hotel.
1976-1978 – He led outreach efforts in many states of the U.S.
1978 – True Father sent him to Germany as national leader of the Unification Church. During this time, he also led an outreach campaign in the United Kingdom that lasted approximately 18 months.
1983 – He was directed by True Father to return to the United States, and from 1983 to 1987 he served in different U.S. missions (state leader in Illinois, regional coordinator in Minnesota, regional director in Seattle).
1988 – True Father asked him to be his ambassador to 10 nations in South America, working out of Montevideo, Uruguay.
1988 – True Father gave him the responsibility for the development of a machine tool company in Germany.
In the later years of his life, Rev. Vincenz was challenged by True Father to raise a large amount of money for our world mission. He spent the rest of his life in the United States, exploring various business options and fundraising directly to millionaires.