New York Welcomes True Parents!
An overview of the Madison Square Garden event on July 15, 2017
By Julian Gray, FFWPU International
Peace Starts with Me
US FFWPU president Dr. Michael Balcomb and MC Archbishop George Augustus Stallings began by welcoming the various national groups, groups from different parts of America, and honored special guests including religious leaders representing Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and native American religions.
After an elegant video introduction to the theme “Peace Starts with Me” Archbishop Stallings welcomed Gospel singer Bishop Hezekiah Walker, leading the “Peace Starts with Me” Choir.
Bishop Walker had everyone on their feet within seconds and he belted out three of his Gospel favorites to rouse the audience that had filled Madison Square Garden.
“When we are praising God we don’t have time for animosity, we won’t have time for war!” said the MC as he introduced prophetic speaker Pastor Paula White-Cain. Throughout the evening Archbishop Stallings’ exuberant, hyper-energetic yet utterly charming MC-ship warmed everyone’s hearts and brought many smiles to the faces of those from more reserved cultures.
Pastor White-Cain began by telling the audience members, “Turn to three people, tell them ‘I love you and there is nothing you can do about it!’”
Her message was about transformation: “The Church brings a transformational message. God does not come for a visitation but for habitation. You are about to step into a new season. Step into what God has for you. God wants us to be fruitful, bring forth a harvest of spiritual sons and daughters. It is about lineage and succession. Tell someone ‘You’re looking big today, you have greatness inside you.’ The enemy wants you dead but you have remained, and you have more to give. God is opening new doors that man cannot shut. Grab the hand of the world-changer beside you!”
FFWPU US regional president Dr. Ki Hoon Kim then welcomed everyone. He had been walking around Madison Square Garden 120 times a day for 40 days in prayer for the success of this event. He gave some poignant background information about Father and Mother’s mission in the US. “We are happy and honored to invite Mother Moon. She may not speak about what we already know; she will give a different message, for the rebuilding of America.” He went on to say that he is a big believer in miracles. He admitted he had worried at first when Mother has asked the venue for the event to be changed from the Manhattan Center to the much bigger Madison Square Garden. Yet all the seats were filled! “Let’s open our heart and mind to receive the message of God,” he said.
Dr. Michael Balcomb then read proclamations from two New York boroughs. The president of the Borough of Brooklyn declared this day “Peace Starts with Me” Day.
MC George Stallings then introduced the 2,000 voice choir, led by Emmy Award winning producer A. Curtis Farrow and Elder Sheila Carpenter. They sang Richard Smallwood’s song Total Praise, with the underlying message that through total praise of God, we overcome the challenges of life.
A video presentation briefly introduced True Mother’s recent work, and following this came Pastor T. L. Barrett’s call to all religions to be one on earth as they are in heaven:
“We are representing all faiths all creeds all colors. In heaven they are doing their part, and we on earth are going to exuberantly praise each other’s faith. If they are cheering in Heaven and then we should be cheering on earth! Because we are one family.”
Pastor Barrett went on to say that no one has been working harder than Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his wife, our True Mother, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon. He gave a touching personal tribute to True Parents:
“You are so beautiful to me because you are so beautiful to God. Because God’s 7.5 billion children are so beautiful to you. Not one is left out. You prayed for me after my marriage broke down. And God restored our marriage, and for 16 years we have been reunited…! Today brings a message of new light, new love and new life. A message of peace and hope…!”
And with these words of introduction, True Mother was suddenly there on the stage.
An Overview of Mother’s Speech
[A full and accurate version will be prepared later]
There are many problems afflicting the world, including war and pollution. We must know God.
God created a man and a woman as the first human ancestors. He gave them a portion of responsibility that they had to fulfill through a period of growth, to become the True Parents of humankind. But during their growth period, self-centered desire derailed them from their path. Humankind became ignorant of God.
God raised the people of Israel. He sent Jesus but what happened to him? Jesus came as the only begotten son. But God created people as men and women. Jesus needed to find his bride. Yet those around Jesus at that time could not help him, and he had to walk the way of the cross.
Christianity began through the Holy Spirit. It took 300 years for Christianity to be accepted. The Christian faith flourished, and expanded through Europe to the British Isles, opening the way to the Atlantic Civilization. But the Christians of the time did not fully understand the providence of God and made mistakes. Today’s modern, materialistic civilization is an offshoot of this.
King James of England translated the Bible into English; this was to help with preparation for the Second Advent. And God blessed America to help the returning Messiah. Within 200 years, the US became the superpower of the world.
Jesus had promised to come again, in the flesh. He would return and hold the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. For this, God’s only begotten daughter would also come.
In 1945 Korea was liberated, yet divided in two. As I needed time to grow, God brought me to South Korea, relatively out of danger. When the Korean War erupted, South Korea could not defend itself well, but 16 nations sent troops to defend the South. This was how South Korea could be preserved and become a democracy.
Heaven could not wait in order to solve the problems of the world. In 1960 the True Parents appeared. Yet the Christian realm could not welcome True Parents. True Parents began from the lowest position.
True Parents left Korea and came to the United States. Many righteous young leaders began to follow us. Some political leaders who did not understand our mission thought that Rev. Moon should be chased away from America. If it were not for the mission we had as True Parents, Father would not have needed to come here. Yet he ended up in prison. True Parents eventually invested decades of their lives here.
The US was also under the threat of communism at that time. True Father asked Dr. [Morton] Kaplan to proclaim the end of communism [through a PWPA convention in Geneva] in 1985, and 5 years later communism greatly declined. Father brought young leaders from the USSR to the US and educated them. That is how they were willing to risk their lives to save their nation.
We have given birth to blessed families worldwide. Only through True Parents can people be fully restored. Blessed families should fill the word, then God’s dream of one world under God can be realized. That day is not far off.
Korea, the homeland of the providence, and the US, as elder-son nation, should bring about a revolution of the culture of filial heart and become the light of the world. All 7.4 billion people of the world can become one. We must create that environment. A world of true freedom, peace, equality, unity and happiness is not far away. If you unite with True Parents and live for the sake of others in your churches, tribes, etc., you can realize a world of peace.
Please be one with True Parents and let’s become the light of the world and shine in all dark places.
I hope you can remember that God has truly blessed America and that America will never forget her original mission and essence. I pray you can be the vanguard and the light of this world.
At the conclusion of her speech True Mother joyfully received flowers from a number of 3rd generation children.
US Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke then came out to the podium and offered a message of support for the event. In keeping with Mother’s message, she spoke about her public service stemming from her desire to help her community. Referring to religious intolerance she said, “We must protect our sisters and brothers so they can practice their faith. What affects one of us directly affects us all indirectly. Thank you for this celebration, for Mother Moon’s continuing vision. Let us rededicate ourselves to that calling.” She called on everyone to recognize our common humanity and the dignity of the individual.
Following this, the 2,000-voice choir sang our brother Adruma Victoria’s composition entitled “Blessings.”
Former Senator Dan Burton thanked Mother and all those who had helped make this program come together. Referring to threats to international peace Mr. Burton exhorted everyone, “Please take this message back with you – that we have to be strong supporters of peace, and with strength.”
The finale of the event was a concert.
Apple Heaven Korea and Apple Heaven USA sang together – among their numbers was “She Stepped Up,” Dan Fefferman’s beautiful ballad dedicated to True Mother.
Well-known Gospel artist Yolanda Adams then sang a series of songs, bringing everyone to their feet to praise God.
After a word of greeting from choir director A. Curtis Farrow, Michael Balcomb brought the event to a conclusion by leading the 25,000 people present in four thunderous cheers of Eok-Mansei.
Dr. Balcomb ended with words of encouragement and commissioned all present to “Go home in peace and never forget that ‘Peace starts with me!’”