We Will Create a Religious Organization that will be Respected’
Weekly KyungHyang, September 1 2015 issue (Korean Mainstream Weekly Magazine)
Translated by PR Department of Tongil Foundation
Commemorating the Third Anniversary of Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Seonghwa, FFWPU Korea President Kyeung-Seuk Ryu:
‘We Will Create a Religious Organization that will be Respected’
The Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (Family Federation/ Unification Church) are hosting various memorial events in honor of the third anniversary of the founder of the Unification Church, Rev. Sun Myung Moon. The Family Federation has evaluated themselves revealing that for the past three years they have been expanding the internal and external foundation of the church under the leadership of Rev. Moon’s wife, Dr. Hak Ja Han. On August 19, we met FFWPU Korea President Kyeung-Seuk Ryu at the Family Federation Headquarters in Cheonpa-Dong, Yong-San and asked him to tell us about the Third Anniversary of Rev. Moon’s Seonghwa.
What do the Third Anniversary events aim to focus on concerning sharing the spirit of Rev. Moon?
“On August 30, memorial events commemorating the Third Anniversary of Rev. Moon’s Seonghwa will be held at the Cheong Shim Peace World Center, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi. The Seonghwa third year anniversary itself holds great significance. When an elder in the family passes away, the three-year mourning period is very important. In the Family Federation we also consider the number three to be very important. Every living thing must reach three stages in order to become complete. After Rev. Moon’s Seonghwa, Dr. Han proclaimed that she would go through a three-year course. She said that she would develop a foundation to inherit Rev. Moon’s legacy. These three years of solidifying our internal foundation were very important and precious to us. It was a period to reestablish the Family Federation, which was established in 1954, as a strong religious organization with 60 years history.”
As part of the Seonghwa Third Anniversary commemorative events, there will be the first Sunhak Peace Prize Award Ceremony (August 28 at the Grand Continental Hotel). A monetary prize of one million U.S dollars will be awarded making it the humanitarian award with the world’s highest accompanying monetary prize. Kiribati President Anote Tong and India’s Dr. Modadugu Vijay Gupta were selected as the first co-recipients.
“The Sunhak Peace Prize is awarded to individuals who have contributed towards world peace, and awardees will be selected every two years. The recipients were selected based on this year’s focus which was resolving climate change and the food crisis. While Rev. Moon was alive, he said that, ‘After the 20th century, global warming and the food crisis would become major issues,’ and searched for future solutions in the ocean providence. Going beyond taking action as the President to save his nation of Kiritbati from being submerged in 30 years, President Anote Tong has been raising awareness on the gravity of global warming all over the world. Dr. Gupta is a fisheries scientist and forerunner of the ‘Blue Revolution,’ who has been spearheading the development of fish farming technology as a solution to future food crises. The commonality shared by these individuals is that they are both contributing toward projects aimed at preparing the future generations. Rev. Moon also invested much effort for the sake of peace for the future generations. Therefore, these two individuals have led very similar lives to Rev. Moon, and deserve to be the first recipients of this award. We originally planned to select only one individual, but we came to the conclusion that they both had achievements qualifying them as recipients, and were therefore selected as co-recipients.”
You were appointed as the FFWPU Korea President in 2013. What kind of personal religious connection did you have with Rev. Moon while he was still alive?
“My parents are first generation members of the Family Federation. Rev. Moon gave me my name. Originally, my major while studying in the university was not theology. I was once scolded by Rev. Moon at a religious event. That is why I began studying theology at Sun Moon University. Theology is a difficult field. I suffered a lot the first 7-8 months. I could not adapt and so I talked to many of my seniors and gave it a lot of thought. I was moved when I saw my seniors doing ministry with absolute faith, despite being in difficult situations, and thought that living such a life must be meaningful. Rev. Moon said, ‘You must have dominion over yourself before you can have dominion over the universe.’ This means that I must learn to rule and discipline myself before I can rule over the world. I have adopted these words as my life motto.”
After the ascension of the founder Rev. Moon, there were many rumors going around. This is because Rev. Moon held a very prominent position in the Family Federation. During these three years after the Seonghwa, in what direction has the Family Federation expanded its religious activities?
“When Rev. Moon passed away three years ago, all the leaders in the Family Federation fell into a deep sorrow. However, this was not the case for Dr. Han. Of course she was also deeply sad, but she said that it was not an eternal goodbye and that someday they would meet again. She established ‘Vision 2020’ saying that we must ‘Move forward without stopping’ until the year 2020 when it will mark 100 years since the birth of Rev. Moon. During these three years, she has organized and published the Three Holy Scriptures and created the Family Federation Constitution based on them. During these past three years, the Family Federation’s organizational structure was established based on this constitution, and the Family Federation has come to be an international religious organization both in name and in reality.”
After Rev. Moon’s Seonghwa, there were many changes including the exits of Tongil Group President Kook-Jin Moon and International President Hyung-Jin Moon. Furthermore, in March of this year, International President Sun Jin Moon was appointed. People are saying many different things about the succession race.
“It is a very cautious matter. Dr. Moon was considering letting her children work in the Family Federation once they reached a certain age. She raised them to become leaders who prepare for the future while gaining experience and doing one’s duty. She devoted herself so that the children could grow into righteous leaders who can share, feel and realize the religious standard, social standard and future vision of the Family Federation together with the religious leaders in their fields. When appointing personnel, no matter small or big, Dr. Han takes very careful consideration. Based on the providence of God, she also makes official decisions concerning her children. You can think of Sun Jin Moon’s appointment as International President as a measure taken in order to establish a more appropriate person to lead the international organizations. The most important aspect for the International President is ‘who knows the will and value of the founders best.’ What I have felt from working with President Sun Jin Moon is that she greatly values the achievements of the first generation leaders, and is determined that we should inherit and pass it on. She also has great interest in training and raising the future generations. Her leadership is humble and unifying. Dr. Han’s leadership is different from that of Rev. Moon. The founder, Rev. Moon’s, leadership was charismatic, revolutionary and visionary, while Dr. Han has a quiet and soft charisma. Dr. Han emphasizes reconciliation and harmony, and establishes everyone to be the protagonist/main figure. These are some of the reasons why I think Dr. Han appointed President Moon as the International president.”
In your case, you are the first second generation president of the Unification Church. What do you think about this?
“About one-third of the (Family Federation) Korea Church’s regional pastors are second generation members. The second generation are also carrying out many activities in the religious organizations, social movements and religious enterprises. Dr. Han strongly believes that the second generation must establish themselves and settle down. The second generation are very important for the religion to develop. If they inherit the religious mission and its principles, standards and traditions from the first generation and pass it on to the third generation, then the religion can become established and substantiated. Rev. Moon has said that the second generation should go the sacrificial way. After becoming the FFWPU Korea President, I have searched for and looked back on Rev. Moon’s teachings. I intend to offer myself completely. I believe that Dr. Han also appointed International President Sun Jin Moon with this kind of thought. I believe that in order to pass on the spirit of the first generation to the third generation, the second generation must completely empty and offer themselves.”
You have been working as the FFWPU Korea President since 2013. What has been the main focus of your activities?
“Church growth is important. It is not easy to witness to people. That is why I am trying to establish the concept of learning to witness with joy while having a good time. We changed all the organization activities at the Headquarters to become field-oriented. We brought the system from the Headquarters to the local church headquarters. We also improved the welfare of pastors so that they can focus fully on ministry. The Family Federation is probably the only one religious organization that has implemented four-main-insurance for ministers. After the Seonghwa Third Anniversary is over, there will be four years left until the 100th year since Rev. Moon’s birth. We will work hard to make this religious organization into one that can be respected and trusted by the public.”