USA: Peace Starts with Me Rally- Healing the Divide in Baltimore
Prepared by FFWPU USA
It started with a still small voice, as change often does, at a gathering in Washington, D.C., back in September 2019. Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) Chairman of North America Dr. Ki Hoon Kim pulled a few people aside and said, “We really need to help the city of Baltimore; let’s show the world God’s love.” Now, two months later, a Peace Starts With Me rally, co-sponsored by the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) and FFWPU, has brought together hundreds of people to help ‘heal the divide’ of the metropolitan community.
“Baltimore will be different from this day forward,” said Bishop Keith G. Allen, pastor of the Rehoboth Church of God in Christ Jesus Apostolic, which welcomed hundreds of guests for the Peace Starts With Me rally on Saturday, November 9. People of various backgrounds came together in worship and public service, offering prayers of peace for Baltimore, in an effort to bridge societal divides of class, education, race, religion, politics, and more. “A seed must first go in the ground for it to mature,” said Rev. Roderick Godbolt of the Refreshing Springs Ministries in Baltimore, who attended the rally and testified to God’s power to save a life.
As part of the event, a clean-up service project coordinated by Maryland native Greg Jones attracted nearly a hundred locals. Two hundred bags of groceries were also donated to families in need. “People ask what peace looks like on the streets of Baltimore, well with everyone working together, that is what peace looks like on the streets,” said Rev. James Stewart, pastor of the Baltimore Family Church, as people cleaned the streets and alleyways around the Rosemont and Franklintown area. “We’re kicking off a crusade in regards to the violence in most of our youth,” added Rev. Willie Ray, chairman and founder of Save Another Youth & Stop the Violence Coalition. “We want this to spread like a movement, like a wildfire, to help save this generation.”
Rev. Ernest Patton of FFWPU-USA also shared about the Peace Starts With Me movement and its aim to unify people as one family and bring about peace, including the vision of FFWPU co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, who will be the keynote speaker at an upcoming rally on December 28 in Newark, New Jersey. Dr. Moon has continued the peacebuilding legacy of her late husband and FFPWU co-founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon. Many guests were inspired by the heartfelt speeches and featured entertainment.
The rally concluded with a concert, with music by the Rehoboth Praise Team; Grammy-nominated singer Laurence Baer; soprano Ahna Stewart; and the Washington, D.C. Family Church Children’s Choir who sang and danced together. “So many people have beautiful hearts, bright spirits and a strong faith, but they still need love and support and guidance,” said JungSun Batino, who attended the rally. “We really need to plant that seed of love in everyone we meet.”