On Sunday, May 9, 2010, Rev. Sun Myung Moon aimed many aspects of the Providence onto a single focus point: the materialistic and decadent culture of Las Vegas. Upon the foundation of devotion Reverend and Mrs. Moon have set by visiting Las Vegas over twenty times in the past three years, Reverend Moon made May 9 into a threefold celebration: a Coronation in honor of our Heavenly Parent’s liberated authority as the King of Kings, the 50th (Golden) Anniversary of Reverend and Mrs. Moon’s Holy Wedding, and a Seunghwa Ceremony to honor peacemakers who have passed on to the next world.
The event began at 9:30 a.m. with a pre-program of entertainment by the Lovin’ Life band and others. At 10:00 a.m., Dr. Thomas Walsh, international president of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) welcomed everyone as the MC. Reverend Moon’s seventh son, Rev. Hyung Jin Moon, the international president of the Unification Church and international chairman of UPF, offered the report prayer.
In honor of Reverend and Mrs. Moon’s Golden Wedding Anniversary, six attending couples dressed in traditional Korean clothes (hanbok) created aisles on either side of the front stage to welcome the Moons. Reverend Moon entered from stage right and Mrs. Moon from stage left and walked through the aisles created by the couples standing with husband and wife facing each other. The Moons then bowed to each other in the style of sang-gyun-lye – a traditional part of a Korean wedding ceremony.
Next, Reverend and Mrs. Moon received royal robes and crowns on behalf of our Heavenly Parent as founders of the Unification Church. Two of the Moon daughters, In Jin and Sun Jin, presented the royal robes, and son Hyung Jin and his wife Yeon Ah presented the crowns. Mr. Neil Bush, chairman of the Points of Light Foundation, gave congratulatory remarks in which he thanked Reverend and Mrs. Moon for promoting the values of peace and family.
Next, Reverend and Mrs. Moon presented eight volumes of Reverend Moon’s teachings to the twelve Unification Church regional presidents: Sermons of Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Exposition of the Divine Principle, Cheon Seong Gyong, Family Pledge, Pyeonghwa Shingyeong [Peace Messages], True Families: Gateway to Heaven, Owner of Peace and Owner of Lineage, and World Scripture. Ambassador for Peace representatives from each continent received a UPF flag.
Truston and Paxton Moon, two of Rev. In Jin Moon’s children, offered flowers to Reverend and Mrs. Moon, concluding the first part of the day’s program.
After a thirty-minute intermission, Dr. Walsh enjoined the participants to be reseated for the next portion: the Ascension Festival. The Ascension Festival incorporated aspects of the SeunghwaCeremony, which the Unification Church version of a funeral, with a more formal commemoration of the legacy of great peacemakers of our time.
First, Rev. Jeong Ok Yu, president of the Unification Church in the Pacific Rim Region, gave an explanation of the meaning of the Seunghwa Ceremony from a traditional Unification Church perspective. Next, a video presentation of previous ascension festivals held in the U.S. and Korea was shown.
Dr. Taj Hamad, secretary-general of UPF, officiated over the ceremony to commemorate the day’s honorees – peacemakers represented by portraits displayed on tables on either side of the front podium. He read a short bio of each while a Blessed Family representative offered a flower to the honoree being remembered. After offering a flower, each representative would stand behind the portrait of the honoree. Once all the bios had been read and each honoree had a flower, Dr. Hamad asked everyone to observe a moment of silence.
Memorial reflections were given by Dr. Min Ha Kim, chair of the Ambassador for Peace Association of Korea, and Archbishop George Augustus Stallings Jr., Co-President of the American Clergy Leadership Conference.
Next, representatives of Judeo-Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and the Unification Church offered prayers of remembrance.
After all the participants had been treated to a luncheon, it was time for a special address by the Founder. Rev. In Jin Moon, president and CEO of the Unification Church in America, gave welcoming remarks and introduced her father, Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Her father came on stage before she could finish introducing him, surprising everyone. He immediately began to share from his heart, addressing the issues faced by the world today from God’s point of view. As always, he endeavored to bring everyone in the audience to a deeper understanding of God and God’s will.
Reverend Moon was thanked for his three-hour address when his son Kwon Jin and daughter-in-law Hwa Yeon presented him and his wife with flowers as a couple. When Reverend Moon asked Kwon Jin to sing a song, Kwon Jin asked everyone to join him in singing Happy Anniversary on the occasion of his parents’ golden wedding anniversary. Reverend and Mrs. Moon departed while Kwon Jin Moon sang John Lennon’s Imagine.
Written by Tossa Cromwell, Unification Church USA staff