Austria: Welcoming True Mother
Welcoming True Mother to the 50 Year Anniversary Celebration of the European Movement – Vienna, Austria, May 10, 2015
FFWPU Austria: For Europeans the year 2015 is marked by a list of anniversaries: It has been 200 years since the Vienna Congress, in which Europe’s political leaders aimed at bringing peace and stability to the continent; World War II ended 70 years ago; and most significantly it has been 50 years since True Father came to Europe for the first time and since Unificationist missionaries were sent to pioneer various European countries.
While many nations honored Mother’s Day on Sunday, the 10th of May, our European family warmly welcomed True Mother to celebrate with us the 50 year anniversary of the European Unification Movement in Austria’s largest conference hall, the Austria Center Vienna. Over 2,400 friends and members from all over Europe came to attend the event in a country that has recently been designated as a new providential nation on December 4, 2014.
Czech and Austrian Second Generation music groups brought us all into a celebrating mood and the uplifting song “People Get Ready” led the audience over to the main program, starting with an exciting video presentation that conveyed historical impressions from the last 50 years of our movement’s various activities in Europe. The program was emceed in a gentlemanly fashion by the Vice-President of FFWPU Europe and National Director of the UK, Jack Corley, and opened by the Cheon Il Guk Anthem and a spirit-filled prayer given by the National Director of the FFWPU Germany, Dieter Schmidt. “The olive tree is a tree that can survive anything since it has powerful and deep roots. Likewise, our European movement, being rooted in God and True Parents, has been overcoming opposition and persecution, only to become stronger in spirit,” the president of the FFWPU Europe, Rev. Young-shik An, said in his welcoming address. While we reflected on our precious memories and the highlights of the past at this occasion of our movement’s 50 year anniversary, we could sense that the wind of change is blowing and we can confidently state that in some countries we already have become contributors to the mainstream culture.
Congratulatory Addresses and Introduction of True Mother
Mr. Corley introduced two distinguished guests, who gave heartfelt congratulatory addresses. Dr. Werner Fasslabend, who served as Austria’s minister of defense from 1990 to 2000 and as Member of Parliament from 2000 to 2007, explained how he first came to know our movement a few years ago at a UPF conference on the relation between the Western world and Africa. He warmly welcomed True Mother, as the person who together with True Father founded a broad variety of initiatives in the field of peace and security, family values, youth programs, and social and humanitarian projects. He explained that Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon is not just by chance called ‘Mother Moon’, and her personality and engagement is highly esteemed within and beyond our organization.
Dr. Ursula King, a Professor Emerita of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Bristol, has studied our activities from an academic point of view for many years and become a friend of our movement. She deeply appreciates the value we put into family relationships and she reflected on her experiences at various conferences of our movement, such as ICUS, the God-conferences, or conventions on interfaith dialogue. “I am deeply grateful to the Unification Movement for love and friendships, and for having had the privilege for meeting the True Parents several times at these conferences,” Dr. King said. She especially appreciates True Mother’s insight, that “our global problems cannot be solved by power anymore. We need the logic of love, the logic of the heart!”
The opera singer Kaeko Onoda delivered two congratulatory songs, titled Sanyuhwa (The Flowers in the Mountains) and Nella Fantasia (a song based on Ennio Morricone’s theme Gabriel’s Oboe), accompanied by Aseo Friesacher on the piano.
After a video presentation that featured True Mother’s words spoken during the last three years, the International President of the FFWPU, Mrs. Sun- jin Moon, introduced True Mother in an elegant and deeply respectful manner.
Sun-jin Nim states about her physical and spiritual mother that never “in the history of humankind has there ever been a more beautiful, more loving, gracious and compassionate being on earth.” She explained how True Father would often describe the inner beauty his wife’s kind and loving heart that brought him so much joy. She said that “True Mother has taught me two Korean expressions that can lead us to true peace and joy. These are: ‘Kamsahamnida’ and ‘Saranghamnida’, meaning ‘thank you’ and ‘I love you’.” Sun-jin Nim continued to testify how True Mother was protected by Heaven throughout her life during the oppressive Japanese occupation of Korea, during the chaos and misery of the Korean War and how she encountered True Father. As the one person who completely fulfilled the course of restoration of woman, she attended True Father with absolute faith, absolute love and absolute obedience for more than 52 years. True Mother has mastered her mind-body-relationship through her true love for Heavenly Parents, True Father and humankind. Sun-jin Nim admits that even for herself as a young person, it is not easy for her to keep up with her mother’s intense schedule and sacrificial lifestyle. She explained that True Mother has come to Europe in order to guide us in realizing our portion of responsibility in the building process of the Nation of Cosmic Peace and Unity, Cheon Il Guk.
Following Sun-jin Nim’s introduction, True Mother was welcomed to the stage with a powerful, rousing and warm standing ovation by the European family and with flowers presented by a second generation couple.
True Mother’s Keynote Address
True Mother was wearing a long, sparkling spring green blazer with a silver brooch in shape of an Edelweiß. In her keynote address True Mother congratulated the European movement to its 50 year anniversary and spoke about the providential history of changing wild olive trees to true olive trees through connecting humankind with True Parents through the Blessing. For an olive tree to grow its roots in desert land it may take 15 years. Likewise, the history of God’s providence moves forward since 6,000 years. Even though Jesus was tragically crucified, Christianity has been able to expand to the world over the last 2,000 years through the European continent and humanity could receive resurrection through salvation by the cross.
True Mother explained that today we are living in an era that goes beyond the New Testament Age. We have passed the Completed Testament Age and are entering the age Cheon Il Guk. True Parents came as the returning Christ and his Bride, and centering on True Parents as our root we as Blessed Families shall prosper as true olive trees. True Mother asked us, if we are confident to make the next 50 years victorious by forming deeper roots and creating a new cultural revolution. For all those who wish to meet the Second Coming of Christ, True Mother promised to prepare the Cheonji Seonhakwon, a museum that testifies to the life and works of True Parents.
“As Blessed Families, please become the lights of hope to others, reveal your identity and become successful Tribal Messiahs! Let us reach out to the world and lead a dedicated life of which our descendants can be truly proud of,” True Mother appealed to the audience.
Offerings and Awards
Commemorating the past 50 years of the European Unification Movement a special history book has been compiled and was offered to True Mother by Mr. Tim Miller and Mrs. Carolyn Handschin, Vice Presidents of FFWPU Europe. Representatives of Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Austria offered national gifts to True Mother.
True Mother then presented awards to the Special Emissaries of Europe, Dr. No-hi Pak and Dr. Lan- young Mun, to second generation members who have been engaged in providential organizations, to elder members who have been faithfully attending True Parents and serving the movement already for fifty years, to the members who have pioneered the Communist nations of Eastern Europe through the underground project of Mission Butterfly and to the missionaries that were sent out in 1975. Two nations, France and Albania, received a special One-million- Euro award fund to establish a CARP Center for the education of the youth.
True Mother and Sun-jin Nim cut the victory cake while all the 2,400 participants cheerfully sang “Happy Victory to You”, accompanied by a buoyant Hans Campman on the piano. Dr. No-hi Pak conveyed his deep gratitude to True Mother and her entourage of the True Family, and led a toast for the victory of Heavenly Parents, True Parents, Cheon Il Guk and the European Unification Movement in the upcoming 100 years. The following luncheon was accompanied by some musical pieces by the Cranes Piano Quartet and lovely performances by the Little Angels. The event was formally concluded with a group picture, three rousing cheers of Og-Mansei and a Kyungbae- greeting to True Mother, led by Italy’s National Director of the FFWPU Italy.
Historical Background (Selections)
While Peter Koch came to Germany as the first Unificationist missionary to the European mainland in June 1963 and already as early as August 1954 David Sang Cheol Kim came to Wales as the first Unificationist overseas missionary, True Father visited Europe for the first time in July 1965 as part of his first worldwide tour through 40 countries. On that occasion Paul Werner drove True Father and his entourage across Europe in his Volkswagen bus for the purpose of dedicating Holy Grounds by planting Korean soil and stones in various cities such as Amsterdam, Brussels, Luxembourg, Paris, Geneva, Vaduz, Vienna, Rome and Athens. In the same year Austria, Italy and the Netherlands were pioneered by Paul Werner, Doris Walder and Teddy Verheyen respectively. Thus, the year 1965 marks the beginning of the European Unification Movement.
The first Western missionary to the United Kingdom was Sandra Pinkerton, who arrived there twelve years after David S. C. Kim in 1966. As in the case of Sandra, many of the early missionaries to Europe were sent from the U.S. and had experienced the personal guidance of Dr. Young Oon Kim, a former professor of theology at the Ehwa Women’s University and one of the Unificationist pioneers to the U.S. It was Dr. Kim’s translation of the Divine Principle from Korean into English that served as an important medium to convey True Father’s thought and spirit.
A significant number of missionaries in the pioneering phase of the European movement were provided by our German and Austrian brothers and sisters. From Germany Ursula Schuhmann was sent to Spain in 1965, Reiner Vincenz to France in 1966 and Ellen Kocher together with Kirsti Laaninen to Finland in 1972. Norway and Sweden were each pioneered in 1969 by Ingrid Schneider and Friedhilde Bächle. The Austrian missionaries Bernhard Maierhofer, Emilie Steberl, Harald Unger, Chrisine Schönenberger, Beate Paul, Robert Brandner were sent to pioneer Switzerland (1968), Czechoslovakia (1968), Turkey (1969), Belgium (1969), Denmark (1969) and Luxemburg (1969), respectively.
In the early 1970s, more than 500 European Unificationists were sent to Japan, Korea, the U.S., and other nations as international missionaries of the International One World Crusade. In 1975 True Father sent missionaries from the U.S., Japan and Germany to 120 countries. During the Cold War Europe was divided between the Communist East and the Democratic West. In order to reach the young people suffering under Communist regimes and to nurture their souls that were thirsting for the meaning of existence with the life-giving word of the Divine Principle, Peter Koch initiated the underground outreach operation Mission Butterfly. From 1980 to 1992 missionaries from Austria were secretly sent to the Communist countries in Eastern Europe and to the Soviet Union. The sacrifice and endurance of those pioneers have been exemplary in the history of our worldwide Unification Movement.