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50 years Unification Movement in Europe
Date created : 2015-05-21/ Views : 653
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50 YEARS – script (dh edit)


1.  We are celebrating fifty years of the Unification Movement in Europe. To go back to where it all began, we have to think of our beloved True Parents, who stood on European soil for the first time in July of 1965. They made a symbolic bridge between the homeland of Korea and the European continent, establishing Holy Grounds in sixteen nations: planting soil and stones from Korea, carried in a suitcase, and taking soil and stones from those countries back to Korea. How earnestly they must have prayed that this continent would become fruitful ground for God´s unfolding providence!

2.  Europe – the continent that gave birth to the Ancient Greek and Roman cultures, that in later times would spread Christianity around the world; that would make huge contributions to the fields of science and technology, to philosophy and art; from where great colonial empires embraced the globe, in both generous, and sadly, exploitative ways, and from whose heartland two devastating World Wars were initiated. It was from here that atheistic Communism began its fearful march – Europe has indeed been both the sower of great blessings and great trouble for the wider world. True Parents surely felt that, armed with God’s new revelation and powered by His love, Europe could once again send out transforming waves throughout the world – waves of goodness and true liberation.

3.  No religious movement can develop without a core of dedicated people; men and women so convinced of the value of their undertaking, and so filled with inspiration that they are not deterred by opposition or by the hardships they may have to endure along the way.
3.a.  The European Unification Movement began when missionaries, most of them of a European background, were sent from the United States where they had encountered the fledgling Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity – first to Germany in 1963 and ’64, to the Netherlands and United Kingdom in 1965, and to Italy in 1966.

4.  Peter Koch and his sister Barbara, Ursula Schuhmann, Paul Werner and his wife Christel, Elke Klawitter and a little later, Teddie Verheyen, Sandy Pinkerton and Doris Walder all came to Europe as pioneers of their new-found faith.  They had all met the Movement on the West Coast of America through the theologian, Dr. Young Oon Kim, one of the first Korean missionaries of the Unification Movement to the western world.

4.a. It was Dr. Kim who served as an important bridge between cultures, translating the first version of The Divine Principle from Korean into English. Many young Americans and Europeans in San Francisco were spiritually guided to meet her and encountered the truth of Divine Principle under her loving guidance.

5.  Introducing a new expression of truth to European Christian culture is a challenge all its own. Setbacks, and little in the way of results, became daily bread for the first missionaries. But their consistent work, their joyful devotion, laying conditions and experimenting with different ways of approaching people slowly bore fruit. Young people, searching for meaning in their lives, responded as they were touched by the heart and logic of the Divine Principle. For many it was the answer they were desperately looking for.
6.  The first branch of the Holy Spirit Association in Europe was formally founded on the 11th  December, 1964, in Frankfurt, Germany. Soon the humble apartments in Frankfurt and Essen were unable to provide space enough to house the steadily growing number of new members. In 1965, centres opened in other German cities, Paul and Christel Werner began the mission work in Austria, in 1966 Reiner Vincenz went to France and Ursula Schuhmann went to Spain. Within the next five years, True Parents were in a position to dispatch missionaries to pioneer or support mission work in ten other European countries;  and even in other continents.

7.  True Parents have inspired all of us with their lives of sacrificial love. In the spirit of true love, they may not count the cost of all they have given for the sake of Europe, but here today we but want to remember, and we want to recall some precious moments from this history that emanated from their vision and personal investment:

8.  Europe at this time, of course, was cruelly divided between the Communist East and the Democratic West. When new members began flooding into the Movement in Western European countries, True Parents’ heart turned to the suffering peoples of Eastern Europe. True Father had fearlessly declared Communism to one of God’s major headaches, but what could be done to overcome such a tyranny, holding hundreds of millions of people captive in the chains of fear and control? 

9.  True Parents, we European members recognize your compassionate heart that led you to make the difficult decision to send missionaries behind the Iron Curtain, despite the inherent dangers.
10.  In 1980, you sent in young volunteers under the code name ‘Mission Butterfly’.

11.  Already, in 1968, the first underground missionary, a sister, Emilia Steberl, with the support of Paul and Christel Werner had slipped in to what was then Czechoslovakia. After several years of investment by Emilia - despite constant danger - a group of almost one hundred enthusiastic, Czechoslovakian followers had formed.  In 1973, thirty were arrested by the regime. They were accused of "subversion of the republic" and sentenced to prison terms of between one and four years. One sister - Maria Zivna - died in prison, the first martyr to die while conducting missionary work in a Communist country, and in the following year another person lost his life in prison. 

12.  True Father was to say later, ‘Each time I heard that one of our members had died in jail, my entire body froze. I could not speak or eat. I couldn’t even pray…. When they died they suffered in my place… I asked myself, “Is my life worth so much that it couldn’t be exchanged for theirs?”’

13.  That is when, Father recalls, he saw the spirit of Maria Zivna appear before him in the form of a yellow butterfly – transformed – as if to say, ‘stand up and be strong!’

14.  There are many names, people to thank for their sacrifice and endurance: Maria, Anton, Betka, Milos, Juraj, Erika, Vlado, and many others... 

15.  Until 1992 butterfly missionaries were sent out, mainly from Austria, under the guidance of Peter and Gertrud Koch, to work in underground mission. They experienced unspoken hardships but also many miracles of spiritual guidance and protection. 
16.  In the early 1970s large numbers of European brothers and sisters - more then 500 altogether - went out to serve the wider world as members of the International One World Crusades in Japan, Korea and the USA and as international missionaries to 120 nations. It was not only a bold step to expand the Unification Movement to a worldwide level, but also a major and decisive step in the lives of those young men and women. They volunteered to leave their home countries behind - in many cases not returning home for decades - some choosing to settle permanently in their mission countries – all to develop and secure an advance into new territory for our Heavenly Parent and True Parents. 

17.  They also were given an internal goal – that of overcoming cultural differences, to make unity between representatives of former enemy nations - a condition to eventually return humanity to our intended state as ‘One Family under God’. On one hand, they encountered loneliness and exhaustion, not knowing how to continue, but on the other hand they tasted the exhilaration that came by placing their lives totally in God’s hands, and experienced His boundless love.

18.  It is down to the sacrifice and determination of such men and women that the Unification Movement can stand on a global foundation today.

19.  The first business was a private kindergarten set up here in Vienna in 1968; the Movement could not grow without reliable financial resources. The question of how best to do this must have occupied True Parents’ minds – choosing business models that would do more than generate profits. 
19.a.  When they visited Europe over the years they launched several businesses: machine tool companies with the intention of sharing advanced technology with under-developed parts of the world; distribution of Korean Ginseng Tea to promote good health; fishing and boat-building, arising from their fore-sight that feeding the world’s growing population eventually must rely on sustainable resources from the world’s oceans. Realizing their vision for ethical business models has become a lifelong mission for many European members.

20.  In 1955, True Parents founded CARP in Korea, a value-based College organization, and brought it to Europe to challenge, like a David, the Goliath of atheistic Communism. They sent Tiger Park and 120 international students to support the activities. There were not so many in those Cold War years who dared to confront the dangerous agenda of the Soviet Empire in such a bold and direct way…

20.a. On New Year’s Day, 1976, the Communists spray-painted on the front wall of one of the major banks in Frankfurt, the words: “We wish you a CARP-free New Year”.

21.  It was demanded of Professor Morton Kaplan that he should publicly declare the imminent downfall of the Soviet Empire during an international conference of the Professors World Peace Academy in Geneva in 1985, this was at a time when communism appeared to be invincible, at the peak of its power. The culmination of that struggle came in 1987 with the 4th World CARP Convention in Berlin, which included the largest demonstration directly against the Berlin Wall…. “Die Mauer muss weg!” (wek)
22.  And two years later - the wall came down.... Very few had imagined it could happen so soon. True Parents could foresee that the end of Communism would not bring world peace in an instant, and indeed, suppressed conflicts emerged on European soil with the new-found freedoms.

22.a.  1990 saw us twinning nations across the former East-West divide, and from that time the nations of former Eastern Europe, such as Albania and Romania and others, have proved to be fruitful ground for the Movement’s development.   
 
23.  With the founding of the Women´s Federation for World Peace in 1992, the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification in 1996, and finally, the Universal Peace Federation in 2005, True Parents started to focus their global ministry on efforts to promote interreligious and intercultural dialogue and reconciliation;………….     peace building;……………….  relief work;…………….. character education;…………………..  and God-centred family values. 

24.   We all remember vividly True Parents’ world tours, which brought them several times to Europe; they were rallying points to bolster the faith of members and reach out to leaders in our nations with a powerful message promoting world peace.

25.  Given True Parents altruism and the noble cause for which they have invested so much, it is hard to comprehend why such strong opposition, even at governmental level, would arise in Europe. We have to say to True Parents that we felt so disappointed and ashamed, as European members, that in November 1995, while on a world speaking tour, you were denied entry to France, all other Schengen countries and the United Kingdom. We are deeply sorry for the way you were treated and the way in which God’s efforts were rejected.
25.a.  All European members joined in prolonged spiritual conditions and efforts to win the various legal challenges... and finally, this spiritual wall also crumbled when the courts in the United Kingdom and in Germany wiped away those unjustified accusations. We remember how much you smiled when you were presented the official documents confirming this victory; it was a great day for religious freedom in Europe!

26.  The family is God´s highest ideal and the school of love and peace. This statement is as simple as it is powerful. True Parents’ primary God-given mandate is to restore the broken relationship between God and human beings and restore the family ideal. The Holy Marriage Blessing ceremonies represent this new covenant, where promises are made to rebuild that original unity. We are enormously grateful for the grace of that clear vision of the importance of blessed families.

26.a.  Education programmes for Blessed children and young people within the Movement have been developed – largely by the Second Generation themselves. HARP workshops & leadership training; ………….. STF & DONE programmes;…………….  Seminars, activity workshops, retreats and Divine Principle Workshops for young people of all ages, including young couples;……………..  a Treasures of Heaven Ministry for those with a disability and their families; …………… Parents’ Matching Convocations and Blessing Preparation Workshops.  All these and more have been developed to build a  sense of community that can nurture and guide the next generation and support their families in this task.
27.  On their final tour of Europe together, in 2011, True Parents proclaimed that finally the beginning point for God´s ideal on earth had been established. God´s word, through the unity of God, our Heavenly Parent, and the Parents of Heaven, Earth and Humankind had become substantial. The following two years were dedicated to the preparation for the historic ‘Foundation Day’. We still may not grasp fully the very real hope for humanity that this represents, but we are moving on toward the goal of substantiating God´s sovereign nation.

28.  Through this short retrospective, we have reminded ourselves of how much has been invested in the European Movement over the past fifty years; True Parents’ achievement is extraordinary, they have continually broken the mould in terms of what religious leaders are expected to do. It is our great privilege that our lives have become intertwined with theirs in service of God and humanity.
 
29.  Many members here have followed True Parents for 20 or 30 years, some of you for upwards of 40 or even 50 years. It is true to say that many of you would not have been born without the True Parents! 

30.  Today is a day for gratitude, to recognize all who have contributed to this kingdom-building project! Be honoured this day for every mile you walked and every hour you worked for this cause, for every door you knocked on and every soul you touched, for every child you raised and every seed you planted, for all the hardships you endured, for every lecture you taught and listened to, for every meeting you attended, for every day you spent as a missionary in a foreign country. For holding on to your faith when it was attacked, for not giving up on the ideals that won your commitment, for every offering you made – may you all feel appreciated for everything you did, in Their Names. In this work we have all been pioneers together.
31.  Fifty years may be a long time in the life of one individual, but it is a short period in terms of God´s history of restoration. It is not enough time to right all the wrongs within ourselves, let alone the world, but we can rightfully be proud of having worked together with True Parents.
 
32.  There is much we have left out, and we couldn’t even mention many nations, but brothers and sisters - from Albania to Finland, from Portugal to Poland, from Greece to Iceland, from Italy to Bulgaria, from the Netherlands to Hungary, from Malta to Ireland – from every European country, let’s celebrate and give thanks – as we say in the title of this momentous event: with Gratitude to our True Parents and New Determination for Cheon Il Guk!

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