France: Family Values in a Multicultural Society
Prepared by FFWPU France
On May 18, 2018, we held a debate meeting with 25 participants. This gathering was part of the conferences and debates series on “Family Values in a Multicultural Society” with the topic “Migration, integration – living side by side or living together?”.
Mr. Jacques Marion, president of UPF-France and citizen of Orsay spoke on the topic of how living together might be possible if the basic values of human dignity and altruism are respected between the people of the receiving country and the migrants from other countries, cultures and religions.
He also mentioned that there have been several periods in Europe’s and France’s history where peaks of migration from and towards Europe and France have been taken place and that we are witnessing such a peak and have to face the challenges it brings about. This reminds me strongly of True Father’s words a couple of years ago, when he prophesied huge waves of migration taking place all over the world.
Mr. Marion pointed out the different ways countries respond to migration, such as USA and UK, as well as Germany and France.
France’s policy seems to be more of assimilation and intercultural relations rather than allowing the establishment of multicultural segments patchwork the society. Of course, the values of the Republic and basic human rights, as such, which do not include the notion of God’s will or religion prove to be insufficient. Therefore, religious leaders have to step up and take charge of educating immigrants from their respective cultural spheres. They also have to protect and support families and education within the family. Here again, True Father’s words and vision of the cooperation between state and religion provide a real solution.
Mr. Marion said, that without the return of God to our society and country’s affairs, we will not be able to solve any of our major problems.
The testimonies of all the participants, especially of a Senegalese former lawyer, working actively with immigrants in France provided a very rich and deep discussion. Other friends from Catholic background who wish to cooperate with us were also very happy about the meeting.
Since, as individuals or as an association, we cannot immediately bring about the necessary changes on a national or European level, however, we still can work on our attitude and way of living with our neighbors from other countries or religions. With this promise, the evening ended in a unified and peaceful way.
40th Anniversary of 118 Couples Blessing
On May 20, 2018, 10 couples from the Ile de France, gathered together to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 118 Couples Blessing, that took place in London, 21st May 1979.
We appreciated very much the greetings we received from Dr. and Mrs. Balcomb, our European Chair, and those of Jean-François and Hisako Moulinet, our French National leaders.
We were very blessed with the sunny spring weather as we had prepared several activities for this special day: a relaxing boat ride on the Loing Canal in the morning, taking us to the historic town of Nemours, followed by a celebration buffet, prepared by all the families, at our center in Chamarande, where we could also enjoy the lovely gardens and surrounding countryside.
After lunch we watched the video of our Blessing, which has taken on a special quality with time, full of Heavenly Grace, with the very moving congratulatory address from Mrs. Won Pok Choi, to all the newly blessed couples.
Seeing ourselves as young couples reminded us, despite the challenges that we have faced in our individual families, of the heavenly grace and blessing that we have received over the past 40 years, and the great privilege of having participated in the most amazing providential events together with our True Parents. We have certainly lived extraordinary and exciting lives! To mark the occasion, Patrice Huard took a beautiful photograph of each couple as a souvenir.
We all felt that the most important aspect of the day was to have the time to share our experience of 40 years of Blessed Family life and to renew our connection as a specific Blessing group. Several participants are now alone as their spouses have departed to the spiritual realm, and we should consider how we can continue to care and have consideration for each other, what our role is as elders of the community is, as some members are now physically incapacitated, and how to bring harmony between the generations and transmit our internal foundation to our second and third generations.
Connected to this was the subject of writing our biography, which is a mission given to us by our True Father, and also a means of transmitting and testifying to God’s grace, love and guidance throughout our lives for the future.
We are all keenly aware that we must keep up to date with the providence and are without question finding the way that God is calling each family to participate at this moment in time.
We ended our gathering with a feeling of gratitude towards God and our True Parents, as well as a deeper understanding of each other’s dedication and lives through the 40 years.
We want to build on this and hope to maintain a regular contact with each other to consolidate our identity as a Blessing group through our 118 couples Whats App group!
We send our Love and gratitude to our Trues Parents on this occasion as well as our love and best wishes to our brothers and sisters and their families, of the 118 Couples Blessing throughout the world as we go into our 41st year!