Early Friday morning, the Cheongshim World Peace Center was busy with last minute checks and preparations for True Father’s Fourth Seonghwa Anniversary. With a full day of celebration, entertainment, and, most importantly, remembrance of our True Father ahead, Unificationists quickly filled up the stadium seats, eager to share this day together with our True Mother.
Dr. Michael Balcomb, President of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) USA commented before the festivities began, “I’m here on the floor of the World Peace Center as we begin to celebrate the Fourth Anniversary. The emcee is pumping up the crowd, and everyone is really excited, but at the same time, we’re thinking about these last four years and how much True Mother has done to bring us to this point where we can remember True Father but also have hope that his vision of a peaceful world is going to come to pass.”
Likewise, Crescentia DeGoede, Director of the Blessing and Family Ministry (BFM) in the United States, commented, “I am excited, waiting for the program to start. We’re looking forward to commemorating the Fourth Anniversary of True Father’s Seonghwa. This morning we had the chance to attend the pledge service with True Mother. True Mother looked absolutely radiant, beautiful, and just so pleasant. Members of True Parents’ family were there and we really felt the family spirit. We’re looking forward for what’s to come and we hope everybody tunes in for a great program.”
The main event, officially titled the “Festival to Commemorate the Fourth Anniversary of the Universal Seonghwa of Sun Myung Moon, the True Parent of Heaven, Earth and Humankind,” began in the morning and featured a commemorative address from International President of FFWPU, Sun Jin Moon.
“When I think of my father, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the image that is forever emblazoned in my mind is one of an indomitable force of true love. He crossed every border and boundary with principled compassion, generosity and an unchanging commitment to God’s Will. Nothing could stop him from practicing true love. For the past four years since my father’s ascension, my mother, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, has worked tirelessly to carry forward my father’s dream. This is no longer just a dream; it is emerging as a glorious reality. The seeds planted over the past decades are now bearing fruit. His legacy remains alive forever as long as we practice true love and come together as one family under our Heavenly Parent.”
A video commemorating True Father and his life’s work then played across an immense electric wall staged as a backdrop to all of the day’s activities, filling the stadium with beautiful images of our memories with True Father.
A special performance of True Parent’s favorite songs and a symbolic, musical montage honoring True Parents’ lives followed, at the end of which True Mother took to the stage and offered the main address of the day. The following is an excerpt from True Mother’s remarks:
“We have designated the world into 13 regions based on language. We are striving to establish world peace through national and tribal level messiahship. The International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace was launched last February. Then the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace for the Asia-Oceania Region was launched in July in Nepal, and the West and Central-African Region was launched in August in Burkina Faso. At the same time, Peace Road 2016 was successfully held within 140 countries. This will be continued until its launching in Washington, D.C. in December. Today, 1,200 second- and third-generation Unificationists performed beautifully on the stage. They are our future leaders. Even though they use diverse languages and live in different environments, they can unite as one. I wish for this to be a time to determine and aspire to establish God’s dream of ‘One Family Under God’ on this 4th Anniversary of the Universal Seonghwa of Sun Myung Moon.”
True Mother also conveyed her determination to revive the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences (ICUS) in concert with ongoing development of the Cheon Il Guk Institute of the Arts and Sciences.
The morning’s activities concluded with three rousing cheers of Eog Mansei, led by Continental Chairman of FFWPU North America, Dr. Ki Hoon Kim. For lunch, everyone removed to different areas in the Cheongshim World Peace Center to participate in the “Food is Love” Bibimbap Festival. At many different stations throughout the stadium, festival attendees gathered around giant bowls of bibimbap—a traditional Korean dish filled with beef, red pepper paste, rice, and all kinds of delicious vegetables—to share food and fellowship together like one huge family.
Later in the afternoon, performers representing each continent took to the stage to participate in an international arts competition. Many famous singers came out to share their talent and their hearts during performances throughout the day. The Little Angles offered a lovely performance, as did Matt Hill, a young Unificationist from the United States; an incredibly talented dance group from Japan; and Insooni and Cho Hang Jo of Korea. First, second, third, and fourth place prizes of up to $30,000 USD will be awarded in the days to come, after Sun Jin Moon and the FFWPU continental directors have decided the winners of the competition.
“My personal highlight of the day was when Hyo Jin Moon’s two daughters came out and sang a song for True Parents with the Apple Heaven band,” said Shinyoung Chang of the FFWPU USA National Ministry Team. “To see the children of True Parents’ eldest son offering such a sweet expression of filial love brought up tears of gratitude and joy. True Mother leaned forward in her seat when her granddaughters came up onto the stage and swayed to the song; I can only imagine the joy and love she felt at that moment. When they finished their song, we could see True Mother applauding with enthusiasm.”
The two girls then sang a second song with Apple Heaven, “You are My Sunshine,” one of True Parents’ favorite songs, as it holds so much meaning for them. Everyone in the stadium—nearly 30,000 people—clapped along. The Cheongshim World Peace Center was filled with the exuberant sound of happy clapping, and attendees everywhere could be seen dancing in their seats.
After a short dinner break, event participants headed into the evening portion of the program: the Hyo Jeong Peace Festival and Hyo Jin Moon Music Festival. “It was like attending a huge rock concert with excellent performances by the Hyo Jin Moon Band and several of his children all evening,” said Shinyoung Chang. By the end of the performances, many of the Global Top Gun Youth Workshop participants had made their way to the front of the stage where they sang and clapped along to the music.
Here are some reflections from Unificationists’ experiences watching the program and festival via live broadcast:
“Once again, I was deeply moved and impressed with True Mother’s strength and wisdom as she leads the FFWPU worldwide to fulfill God’s Will on earth.”
-Richard Van Loon, California
“What a powerful event! I was crying throughout most of it, feeling the heart of love and grace of our True Parents, especially in the first part of the program. It was like being transported to heaven, truly like a spiritual experience. I was so moved also to see so many young people involved. No question, we have entered a new age where the heart of heaven can be revealed directly through art. I’m so deeply grateful to our True Mother, together with True Father in spirit, to lead us in this new and exciting phase of the providence. I’m also so inspired to hear from True Mother that we’ll revive ICUS. True Mother is always on target, no question about that! Thank you True Mother; True Father, I miss you so much, but I truly experienced your presence today. You are alive in each of these young people and each of us, with our deepest love and gratitude.”
-Pat Detlefsen, California
“Wow! What an amazingly beautiful festival! True Mother resurrected us to another level! The oneness of Heavenly Parent and True Parents was vivid! I felt the beautiful and uplifting spirit of True Mother. I was so touched when she started her message by saying ‘I love you.’ That was a precious moment. True Mother’s revival of ICUS is truly phenomenal and desperately needed: science from Heavenly Parent’s point of view. True Mother’s comments on the environment are a strong reminder of the third blessing in Genesis, and we need to take it seriously. We will do it, True Mother; we will do it, True Parents! We will accomplish Tribal Messiahship! We will take responsibility to reveal True Parents to the 7.3 billion people of the world and give them a chance to transform their lives! Thank you True Parents! We love you, too, and want to comfort and bring joy to your heart!”
-Denneze Nelson, New Jersey
“How important it is to attend and live with True Parents.”
-Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, New Jersey
“I liked being a part of this historic occasion by being connected via the live broadcast.”
-Irma Mas, Maryland