It’s often said that you really know who your friends are in a time of crisis, and the more than 300 UPF Ambassadors for Peace who made the long journey to Korea to attend the memorial services for Father Moon on September 15 proved that we are more than just friends: we are indeed one family under God. Over a course of three days, the UPF group shared tears, memories, determination, and also plenty of laughter and smiles as we comforted each other and shared testimony as to the many, many ways that this extraordinary man of God had touched all our lives.
Nowhere was this more evident than at the celebratory memorial banquet held after the memorial services Saturday night back in Seoul’s bustling Gangnam district at the Intercontinental Grand Hotel, fittingly located next to the COEX Exhibition Center where just three years ago Dr. Moon launched his best-selling autobiography, 'As a Peace Loving Global Citizen'. Indeed, many of those who came to attend his homegoing service had also been present on that sunny June day in 2009, and there was a sense of reunion in the air.
Father Moon’s impact on interfaith relations was evident from the heartfelt benedictions offered by four representatives from the religious community. Prayers were offered by Bishop Riah al Assal, the immediate past Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, who noted that throughout his diocese, which includes the troubled lands of Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, there is an urgent need for reconciliation of the family of Abraham. (Photo: Rt. Rev'd Riah Abu El Assal offering prayers.)
Dr. Hamdi Mohammed Murad, (Photo: Standing to Bishop Riah's Left) the soft-spoken Muslim cleric from Amman, Jordan, co-founder of the Interfaith Coexistence Research Center there, thanked God for his mercy and kindness, specifically for having allowed everyone present to have lived and worked with Father Moon, a man who loved God so much. Other representatives of the Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI) also in attendance were Dr. Abraham Shalom Haim, Chair of the Council of Oriental and Sephardic Jews in Spain, and the prominent Druze leader and publisher, Sheik Samih Natur from Jerusalem.
“The Druze community has long been in complete support and agreement with the teachings of Father Moon,” said Natur, who just two weeks ago at the most recent MEPI event in Jerusalem unveiled a five-volume encyclopedia of the Druze religion and culture. “We especially appreciate his profound teachings on marriage and family values, and I am proud to say today we will continue to advance his vision in Israel and throughout the region.”