As the second and third stop of his 12-city tour, Rev. Hyung Jin Moon, newly-appointed President and CEO of the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (HSA-UWC) USA together with his wife Yeon Ah Moon, visited Atlanta, GA and New York, NY to comfort the hearts of Unificationists there.
Approximately 300 people attended the three-hour Q&A session at the Atlanta Family Church on Saturday, September 22, 2012, traveling from all around the Southeast: Miami, Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville, FL; Columbia and Charleston, SC; Charlotte, NC; Bayou la Batre, AL; New Orleans, LA; Memphis and Nashville, TN.
Seven members of the Miami Worship Band, who had driven twelve hours in a van to attend the Q&A, performed the “Principle Youth March,” as well as the contemporary Christian songs “His Love Endures Forever” and “Keep Your Head Up.” The band was led by Unificationist Pastor Richard Curry.
During the Q&A, one Miami youth pastor asked, “How can I best help the young people in my community adjust to the changes taking place in our church and, in particular, help them digest the recent, disturbing revelations?”
In his response, Rev. Hyung Jin Moon cautioned church members about wanting to see a quick fix. “The current situation is very tough for our community, and we have to be very clear about the gravity of the sin,” he said. “But please do not expect a quick resolution. The world doesn’t work that way. Furthermore, we are not the Mafia, or the Taliban. As a youth leader, you can help other young people grow their patience. They can also practice disciplining themselves by not having give and take with negativity, and they can practice shifting their mindset.
“Furthermore, do not expect any public list of crimes. We are family, and we will leave the door open for repentance, and redemption. We cannot make emotional decisions. Our decisions will be fair and logical.”
Half of the questions during the Q&A came from Unificationist-born youth and the other half from older first-generation Unificationists. The questions were generally supportive and cooperative, and demonstrated a genuine concern for Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon’s family, the “True Family,” and the future of the church.
“Rev. Hyung Jin Moon listened patiently to every speaker, and thoughtfully answered every question,” said Rev. Tom Cutts, Unification Church Pastor of District 5 (GA, FL, AL, SC, MS and LA).
Rev. Hyung Jin Moon also assured the membership that much of Lovin’ Life Ministries will continue. “We are a large organization, and it would not be prudent to make radical changes based on emotional responses,” he said. However, the weekly live broadcast will be cut to one national broadcast per month so that local pastors can develop their oratory and ministerial skills. Rev. Hyung Jin Moon explained how in Korea, Unificationist Sunday Services consist of three presenters discussing a similar topic to allow elders in the faith community share their valuable experiences. In addition, according to the direction of Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, or “True Mother,” Lovin’ Life Ministries will no longer be the brand name of the Unification Church’s ministry in the United States. Furthermore, he indicated that there would also be small modifications in the ballroom-dance ministry. “For a ministry tool, ballroom dancing would be more appropriate for married couples. There is no need to switch partners during dance sessions,” he said, yet recognized that there is a “social education” aspect of formal ballroom dancing for unmarried youth.
Rev. Hyung Jin Moon also mentioned that a complete review of the Unification Church in the United States will take place. He suggested that the staff of the Unification Church USA’s Headquarters undertake a 40-day condition of 120-bows a day and of reading the entire Divine Principle beginning Monday, September 24, 2012.
“The entire three hours was very upbeat and encouraging,” said Rev. Cutts. “Rev. Hyung Jin Moon warned about having false idols of any one person, and reminded us of True Mother’s admonition, ‘Don’t stop.’ Rev. Hyung Jin Moon summarized by saying ‘In the last minute, victory will come. So stay the course.’”
The program concluded with three rounds of the chant, Chambumonim, Og Mansei.
Rev. Hyung Jin Moon’s Q&A Session in New York, NY
Rev. Hyung Jin Moon and Yeon Ah Moon were welcomed by 2,100 Unificationists at their tour’s third stop in the Hammerstein Ballroom of the Manhattan Center in New York, NY on Sunday, September 23, 2012.
“The 2,100 people from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut gave a warm reception,” said Rev. Bruce Grodner, Unification Church Pastor for New York state. “The recent events have churned up feelings and emotions, and many people felt the need for explanation, guidance, support and most of all, healing love. It is a tough time for most of us, but even so, the welcome given to Rev. Hyung Jin Moon and Yeon Ah Moon was heart-felt and sincere.”
Sunday’s gathering began with familiar songs led by the Metro-New York City Choir and band. Rev. Joshua Cotter, vice president of the Unification Church USA, opened with remarks about the morning program’s purpose and then invited Dr. Chang Shik Yang to introduce Rev. Hyung Jin Moon.
According to Rev. Grodner, the diverse audience included guests who insisted on coming, assuring Unification friends that because of their relationship with Rev. Sun Myung Moon, or “True Father,” and all he has done for them over the months and years, their faith would not be shaken. “In fact, one of these guests, a well-known performer, is working on a song as a tribute to True Father because he wants the world to know what True Father has done and is still doing,” said Rev. Grodner.
After greeting the audience, Rev. Hyung Jin Moon began answering questions and welcoming attendees to share openly what was on their hearts. Concerns included a plea to welcome Jesus more fully into our church, the subject of how Rev. Hyung Jin Moon will refrain from falling and damaging the Unificationist membership, and an entreaty to keep ballroom dancing. Many expressed a desire for closure on the events that led to Rev. In Jin Moon’s resignation, including an evaluation of the church leadership directly involved, to which Rev. Hyung Jin Moon responded that he would conduct a detailed analysis of the entire church after his 12-city tour. Questions and topics were as diverse as those in the audience, some expressed respectfully and some uttered with pain and shock.
The program went on for nearly seven hours, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and might have continued had the Q&A not been limited to 40 questions.
“Through it all, both Rev. Hyung Jin Moon and Yeon Ah Moon helped guide us by answering the plethora of questions,” Rev. Grodner said. “We are all sinners and we all make mistakes; it is our responsibility as a community to help make the path possible for all to repent and return by being a loving and supportive community. Rev. Hyung Jin Moon and Yeon Ah Moon did their very best to answer everyone with respect, patience and love. Their coming, I believe, is a gift from God and True Parents to help heal our movement and our nation as we prepare for Foundation Day.”
“Families from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware have been building a loving, caring ministry for many years and will continue to develop True Parent's work,” said Dr. Ann Iparraguirre, Unification Church Pastor of District 3 (NJ, PA, DL). “We are very grateful that Rev. Hyung Jin Moon and Yeon Ah Moon have come to America as co-pastors and we look forward to building into the future together.”