“Rebuild the Family, Restore the Community and Renew the Nation and the World” reflects the heart of ACLC’s vision. Founded in 2000, it takes to heart John 3:16 – “for God so loved the world.” Faith leaders from many backgrounds partner with ACLC to bring God’s Word to life through living for the sake of others.
Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon 1920-2012
Rev. Sun Myung Moon was the inspiration behind the founding of American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) in May 2000. In 2001, with the strong support of ACLC pastors, Rev. and Mrs. Moon conducted a 50-state public tour throughout America, speaking each night in a different state for 50 consecutive days. This intense effort was an expression of Rev. Moon’s deep love for America and his concern for America’s struggle to keep a strong moral center.
Rev. and Mrs. Moon invested their efforts for almost four decades in America, beginning in December 1971; seven of their children were born in the U.S. The foundation of their ministry was their absolute commitment to God’s calling and will. Father Moon has always endeavored to uplift and strengthen clergy, who he feels have a God-given calling to guide America.
Rev. Moon was called to religious ministry as a result of a direct experience with Jesus Christ in 1935. After personally accepting Jesus’ call, the young Moon set out to discover the meaning of this unusual call. If Jesus called him to complete his mission, it meant that Jesus’ mission was incomplete. Was not salvation through the cross all that humankind needs? What was it that Jesus had left undone on earth? If sin is not completely solved, then what is the actual root of sin?
Sun Myung Moon ceaselessly studied the Bible and other religious teachings in order to unravel these mysteries of life and human history. During this time, he went into deep communion with God and entered the vast battlefield of the spirit and flesh. Through denying his personal desires he overcame temptations of knowledge, wealth and physical pleasure. He came to understand God’s own suffering and His longing to be reunited with His children. He learned the difficult steps that humankind would have to take in order to return to God and establish true peace on earth.
After receiving his commission from God, he knew he could not succeed in his task without a profound understanding of the Creator and His creation. He intensified his quest for the truth, spending days and nights in passionate prayer, rigorous fasting and study. His method was to posit specific questions, research answers in the physical and spiritual worlds, and then seek confirmation for those answers through prayer. On several occasions he was guided directly by Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha and other saints and sages of all faiths, who met him in spirit and contributed to his understanding of God and the complex history of God’s relationship with humankind. He set down the fruits of this effort in “Exposition of the Divine Principle,” which clarifies the biblical principles underlying God’s intense efforts for human restoration found in the Old and New Testaments.
A prolific speaker, his collected sermons fill over 400 volumes. He is the founder of the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (HSA-UWC) or Unification Church in 1954, the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) in 1994, and the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) in 2005.
Rev. Moon founded Unification Theological Seminary in 1975 as an institution of higher learning dedicated to “interreligious, interracial and international unity.” This was consistent with his belief that theological studies can only be adequately pursued in relationship to the full range of religious traditions. Rev. Moon continued his support of UTS as well as a number of ecumenical and interreligious organizations begun at the Seminary. In 1985, 1990, and 1992, Rev. Moon hosted well-attended Assemblies of the World’s Religions. In 1998, he proposed establishment of an inter-religious council at the United Nations, an idea that was taken up by a number of national delegations and is currently under discussion in the General Assembly. In 2000 he provided the inspiration for founding the American Clergy Leadership Conference. In 2003, he launched the Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI) which in over 35 pilgrimages has brought thousands of peace-makers from diverse religions and nationalities to the region.
In addition to Unification Theological Seminary, Rev. Moon founded Sun Moon University (1989- ); the Little Angels Performing Arts Center (1981-); and Cheong-shim Graduate School of Theology (2003-) in Korea; and the Kirov Academy of Ballet (1990-) in Washington, D.C. He also played an instrumental role in reviving the University of Bridgeport . Rev. Moon is the founder of The Washington Times (1982-); the Segye Times (1989-), a Korean daily newspaper; Sekai Nippo (1975-), a Japanese daily newspaper; Tiempos Del Mundo (1996-), an international Spanish daily newspaper distributed in Latin America; and the Middle East Times (1983-), a weekly newspaper published in the Middle East. He is renowned for his “International Marriage Blessings” which, since 1960, have brought together ever-increasing numbers of couples dedicated to world peace.
Sun Myung Moon was born on January 6, 1920, into a family of farmers that had tilled the land for centuries. As a boy he studied at a Confucian school and was a keen observer of the natural world. Around 1930, his parents became fervent Christians–Presbyterians–and the young Sun Myung Moon became a Sunday school teacher.
At that time, Japan ruled Korea and was trying to force the practice of the Shinto religion onto all Koreans. The religious intolerance of the Japanese regime was one facet of the contempt they held for the Koreans, a people they believed to be inferior. The Korean people were subjected to forty years of humiliation and cruelty as part of Japan’s Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. Growing up oppressed in his own land, Sun Myung Moon learned early the pain of injustice, whether among his own people or at the hands of the Japanese rulers.
The young Moon became intensely aware of human suffering and the failure of humanity to create a loving and just world. He sought to understand why people suffer and how suffering can be ended. From going to church, he knew that religion addressed the fundamental human condition and promised an ideal world to those who obey God; but he saw that established religions, although centuries old and based on scriptures offering revelatory insights, were, in practice, unable to answer many of life’s questions or solve the deepest problems facing humankind. Troubled by the immense gap between religious ideals and the actual state of the world, he began his own ardent pursuit of solutions through a life of prayer and study.
Early Easter morning 1935, Jesus appeared to the young Sun Myung Moon as he was praying in the Korean mountains. In that vision, Jesus asked him to continue the work which he had begun on earth nearly 2,000 years before. Jesus asked him to complete the task of establishing God’s kingdom on earth and bringing peace to humankind.
The young Korean was stunned by this encounter, and especially by the request that had been made of him, and at first he refused. However, after deep reflection, meditation and prayer, he pledged to take on the overwhelming mission.
Reverend Moon graduated from high school in 1941 and went to Japan to study electronic engineering at an industrial college affiliated with Waseda University. During his time in Japan, he continued his intense prayer and search for the truth. A school friend during that time said that in his room he kept three Bibles —one in Korean, one in English and one in Japanese, which he studied continuously.
He also was a Christian leader in the Korean independence movement against the Japanese occupation of Korea. Young Christians and communists were the strongest leaders of the independence movement against the Japanese occupation. In Japan, some of his closest school friends were communists, and while their atheism pained him, he recognized their sincere dedication to a utopian ideal. A fellow student at that time, Aum Duk-Moon, reports that Reverend Moon defended communists to his Christian friends, saying that they were good people and that Koreans should work together to save their country. He was eventually imprisoned by the Japanese for his student underground activities and tortured for not revealing the names of his collaborators. This imprisonment was what would be his first of six imprisonments under four governments: Japan, North Korea, South Korea and the United States.
Reverend Moon returned to his native land in 1943. Upon returning from Japan, Reverend Moon was married to Sang Il Choi, a strong Christian from a well-known Presbyterian family.
In 1944, Reverend Moon was again arrested and severely tortured by the Japanese occupation government in Korea after his name came up in the interrogation of a communist student friend who had been active in the anti-Japanese underground in Tokyo. He refused to confess and was finally released.
In spite of such treatment by the Japanese, his cousin and companion at the time reports that Reverend Moon showed only love and respect to Japanese people. When the war ended in August 1945 he persuaded others not to take revenge on local Japanese officials and worked secretly to get them safe transport back to Japan.
The Republic of Korea, although an Asian country, is recognized having perhaps the most fervent Christian faith of any nation. Reverend Billy Graham was so impressed by the spiritual vitality of her churches during his first visit to Korea that he predicted that one day Korea would send missionaries to revive the West.
In this atmosphere of fervent Christianity, Reverend Moon’s original plan was not to start a separate denomination but to work with other Christians to build God’s kingdom on the earth. He worked hard to introduce his new revelations to existing Korean Christian churches. But his new teachings were not well received. American Christian missionaries disregarded him as an unschooled “country preacher.” Korean ministers, jealous of the young man’s impact on their congregation members, accused him of espousing false teachings. Despite his many efforts to reach out to established Christian churches, they did not respond to his new ideas. Reverend Moon soon realized that he was headed down the lonely path of a pioneer religious visionary.
In 1946 while buying rice for his family, Reverend Moon was told by God to leave his family without notifying them and go to communist North Korea to preach.
Before World War II, the center of Korean Christian activity was Pyongyang, now the capital of North Korea; it was called the “Jerusalem of the East.” Among the spirit-filled churches were many with strong messianic expectations. Some of these churches had received revelations that the Messiah would be born in Korea, and they were directed in various ways to prepare to receive him.
He began to teach publicly, despite the dangers presented by the communist-dominated government. As a poor preacher with new interpretations of the Bible, Reverend Moon was more vulnerable than leaders of the established churches and was, therefore, one of the first religious figures to be imprisoned by the communists.
Charged with disturbing the social order, in November 1946, the young minister was imprisoned and tortured. The police believed him to be dead and tossed his body into the prison yard. Some of his followers found him and carried him away to tend to his broken body. Miraculously, Reverend Moon survived and regained his strength. Undaunted, he began preaching in public once again.
Hungnam prison camp
In April 1948, he was arrested a second time and sentenced to five years of hard labor in Hungnam prison. He was among the first of the Christian ministers sent to the Soviet-style North Korean gulag. Hungnam was an extermination camp where prisoners were deliberately worked to death. Few lasted more than six months. Yet in that horrific concentration camp, Reverend Moon survived for nearly three years. Many of his fellow prisoners looked to him for spiritual strength and became his disciples.
On June 25, 1950, the North Korean army invaded the South in a lightning attempt to unify the entire peninsula by force. UN and American forces, under Gen. Douglas MacArthur, rescued the beleaguered South. One month after the capture of Seoul, UN forces reached the gates of Hungnam prison. Knowing the UN forces were near, the communist prison authorities began to execute the prisoners. The prison camp was liberated by UN forces just hours before Reverend Moon’s scheduled execution.
Despite his brutal prison camp experience, Reverend Moon did not immediately flee to the South. Instead, he returned to Pyongyang and spent forty days searching for the members of his scattered flock. He eventually found a few members and then traveled south on foot with two of them. One of his followers had a broken leg and protested that he would slow the party down. Reverend Moon insisted on bringing him and for the long trek either pushed him on a bicycle or carried him on his back.
As one of hundreds of thousands of war refugees, Reverend Moon arrived in the southern port city of Pusan, where he and one disciple built their first shelter from discarded army ration boxes. At that time, he told his small following that one day the message of the biblical principles would be spread all over the world. He prophesied that people from all over the world would venerate that hillside. Reverend Moon’s predictions sounded unbelievable. Today, in fact, tens of thousands of people make a pilgrimage to the spot.
Beginning his evangelization work in the South after nearly five years in the North, Reverend Moon was rejoined by his wife. However, he continued to dedicate himself night and day to his religious mission. She could not accept his dedication to the mission at the sacrifice of his family. Finally she filed for divorce, in spite of Reverend Moon’s strong opposition to a divorce and efforts to dissuade her. (His only child from this marriage and his family are loyal followers of Reverend Moon.)
On May 1, 1954, in Seoul, Reverend Moon founded the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, Reverend Moon’s faith community which became popularly called the “Unification Church” worldwide.
The church immediately attracted followers from a major Christian women’s university, Ewha University, a school closely linked with the Korean government and with the mainline Protestant denominations. Because many students were joining the church, the school sent professors to investigate. When several professors also joined, instead of sincerely welcoming this new church, the school persecuted it. The university president ordered the professors and students to either leave the church or leave the school.
Coincidentally, newspapers in Seoul suddenly began to print alarming stories about the Unification Church, sex orgies and Reverend Moon being a North Korean agent. Reverend Moon was thrown in jail, to be released weeks later when no charges could be found. Again the following year he was thrown in jail on charges of evading the military draft, even though during the time in question he had been in Hungnam prison. After several months confinement–and sensational media coverage–the charges were dropped. His release received scant notice in the press. Thus began the pattern of collusion between religious leaders, government and the media that to this day suppresses Reverend Moon and his church.
Amid this severe persecution, Reverend Moon nurtured a growing community of faithful disciples, known as the “weeping church” because of the tearful prayers of Reverend Moon and his followers. By 1957, churches were established in thirty Korean cities and towns.
In the late 1950s, the first international missionaries were sent, one to neighboring Japan in 1958 and two to the United States in 1959.
Reverend Moon was blessed in holy marriage to Hak Ja Han on March 16, 1960. Their blessing was followed by a series of group marriage blessing ceremonies for their followers. Hak Ja Han and her mother, a devout Christian, had also fled south during the Korean War. They soon thereafter joined the Unification Church. Since their marriage, Mrs. Hak Ja Han has dedicated herself entirely to supporting Reverend Moon and his mission.
The International Federation for Victory Over Communism was the first of many organizations and activities founded by Reverend Moon to bring about the peaceful downfall of communism. Reverend Moon taught that communism should be defeated ideologically through education about the fallacies of Marxism-Leninism, offering a counterproposal consisting of universal principles called Godism, conferences, global networking, rallies and demonstrations in Asia, the United States and Latin America.
God directed Reverend Moon to expand his ministry to the world level by going to the United States in 1971.
God directed Reverend Moon to expand his ministry to the world level by going to the United States in 1971. America, which embraces all peoples, races and religions, represents the world. What happens in America has global repercussions. He expressed gratitude for America’s role in liberating his homeland. But he also knew that God expected much more from this land that had been so richly blessed. It was clear to Reverend Moon that America had drifted from its original ideals.
The “Day of Hope” speaking tour began February 3, 1972 in Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center in New York and went on to seven major US cities with the purpose of reviving traditional Judeo-Christian values.
The Unification Church had centers in ten states, and in 1972 pioneer leaders were sent out to the forty remaining states to found Unification Church centers. In the same year, evangelical teams traveled from state to state in a membership campaign, and thousands of young people accepted his message and dedicated themselves to the Unification Church.
After the successful Madison Square Garden event on September 18, 1973, public speeches were given and banquets hosted for thousands of society’s leaders in all fifty states.
During the heart of the Watergate scandal, Moon bought newspaper ads asking Americans to “Forgive, Love and Unite” for the sake of a stronger country.
Reverend Moon met with US President Richard Nixon during the Watergate crisis of 1974. Through rallies and newspaper statements, he urged Americans to forgive the beleaguered Richard Nixon at the time of the Watergate scandal. Any public relations strategist would have advised him against such action, which called on Americans to “forgive, love and unite.” Virtually no one at the time was willing to side with a president on the verge of impeachment, but Reverend Moon does not flinch when he receives God’s directions. He also foresaw the serious consequences of undercutting the American presidency in a world still dominated by the communist threat. His appeal was met with scorn, even though his “forgive, love and unite” message embodied the essence of Christian practice.
As a result the rapid growth of the movement in the United States, it went through a period of persecution similar to what other new religious leaders and movements have faced in the past–the new was seen to be strange and threatening. Reverend Moon’s appeal for a true Christian renewal of America was initially welcomed. However, this receptivity proved shallow when, in 1974, he became an easy target for the now-hostile news media unhappy over Reverend Moon’s “forgive, love and unite” message concerning the Watergate scandal.
The fair and objective coverage of the past was replaced by portrayals of Reverend Moon and his church in the worst possible light. All sorts of unfounded allegations from Korea were dug up. In this atmosphere of hysteria, the enthusiasm and idealism of his young followers was reinterpreted as “brainwashing.” Reverend Moon was portrayed as a hypnotist and an agent of a foreign government. Religious and racial bigotry and persecution, a phenomenon in the United States as old as the country itself, showed its ugly face. Even though the United States was founded for the sake of establishing religious freedom, regrettably, religious intolerance remains today. The Unification Church bore the brunt of America’s religious intolerance for three decades.
With congregations already established in Korea, Japan, North America, and the Western European countries, in May 1975, Reverend Moon sent out missionary teams consisting of one Japanese, one American and one German to countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Oceania, bringing the total number of nations with Unification Church representatives to 120.
Reverend Moon continued his Day of Hope tour, accompanied by a Global Team of young followers from America, Europe and Asia, with speeches in Japan and Korea, concluding with a rally at Yoido Island near Seoul which was attended by 1.2 million people. Reverend Moon spoke a message of determination to stand against communism in South Korea and establish a world centered on God, at the height of the Cold War during a time of great tension between North and South Korea.
The Unification Theological Seminary, established in 1975 in Barrytown, New York, offers Master’s Degrees in Divinity and Religious Education, with a recently added Doctorate of Ministry degree. It was founded as an ecumenical seminary, and faculty members have belonged to a broad range of religious denominations. Rather than concentrating solely on Unification theology, students learn philosophy, psychology, world religions and homiletics, as well as the histories, theologies, and scriptures of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other world religions.
Starting with dialogues at the Unification Theological Seminary, the New Ecumenical Research Association for Christian Unity and continuing with other initiatives, such as the Assembly of the World’s Religions, Reverend Moon promoted interreligious discussion, understanding and cooperation to solve the problems of poverty, war, injustice and breakdown of the family. The 1985 Assembly of the World’s Religions was attended by 1,000 distinguished religious leaders and scholars. A key social teaching of Reverend Moon is that the world’s most difficult problems will be best solved by religious leaders working interreligiously rather than by purely political and economic initiatives.
Upon arriving in New York for the Federal District Court arraignment he spoke only one sentence: “Your Honor, I am not guilty.” The outcome of the trial was a foregone conclusion. He was convicted and sentenced to spend eighteen months in a federal prison. When, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, despite forty amicus briefs from mainline Christian leaders, legal associations, civil liberty groups and state governments, he prepared to go to jail.
Still, the US Justice Department tried to negotiate with Reverend Moon’s attorneys, determined to achieve their goal of him leaving the United States permanently. On the condition that Reverend Moon depart for Korea and never come back to the United States, they said the government would waive his prison sentence. He flatly refused. His comment was, “It must be God’s will that I go to prison. There must be a providential reason why I must go this way.” Imprisonment was not new to Reverend Moon: He already had endured imprisonment in communist North Korea, South Korea and Japan during World War II.
In the meantime, protests were being made all around the nation over the injustice Reverend Moon was suffering as a result of religious persecution. Many Christian leaders who never knew or cared about him began to realize that the government had made a serious assault on religious freedom. Christians, including the National Council of Churches headed by Rev. Dean Kelley and non-religious groups representing more than 160 million Americans, came to his legal defense.
A US Senate Subcommittee published the following report on Reverend Moon’s conviction:
“We accused a newcomer to our shores of criminal and intentional wrongdoing for conduct commonly engaged in by a large percentage of our own religious leaders, namely, the holding of church funds in bank accounts in their own names. Catholic priests do it. Baptist ministers do it, and so did Sun Myung Moon… we charged a non-English-speaking alien with criminal tax evasion on the first tax returns he filed in this country. It appears that we didn’t give him a fair chance to understand our laws. We didn’t seek a civil penalty as an initial means of redress. We didn’t give him the benefit of any doubt. Rather, we took a novel theory of tax liability of less than $10,000 and turned it into a guilty verdict and eighteen months in a federal prison.
“I do feel strongly, after my subcommittee has carefully and objectively reviewed this [Reverend Moon’s tax] case from both sides, that injustice rather than justice has been served. The Moon case sends a strong signal that if one’s views are unpopular enough, this country will find a way not to tolerate, but to convict. I don’t believe that you or I or anyone else, no matter how innocent, could realistically prevail against the combined forces of our Justice Department and judicial branch in a case such as Reverend Moon’s.”
Without bitterness, Reverend Moon served time in Danbury Federal Prison, the sixth imprisonment of his life. He quickly won the respect of fellow inmates for his humble and friendly ways. He is pictured on the left conversing with Reverend Takeru Kamiyama, an aide who was imprisoned with him.
On August 20, 1985, Reverend Moon was freed after completing thirteen months of incarceration. Upon his release, major Christian and civil rights leaders, including Reverend Jerry Falwell of the Moral Majority and Reverend Joseph Lowery of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, held a press conference decrying the persecution and imprisonment of Reverend Moon and to welcome him back.
During his Danbury imprisonment, Reverend Moon founded the The Washington Times in 1984, and it became the second largest daily newspaper in America’s capital. Its initial purpose was to be instrumental in the peaceful fall of communism, a goal achieved in conjunction with the Reagan Administration, and then with the end of the Cold War, to promote family values and support of the role of religion in society.
Reverend Moon organized a major conference of news media leaders and former heads of state in Moscow in April 1990. This fulfilled a pledge he had made in 1976 that one day he would organize a “great rally for God in Moscow.” During this conference, Reverend and Mrs. Moon met with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. Through several interviews, televised and in print, he gave a message of hope to the Soviet people, urging them to turn toward God. A strong opponent of communism, Reverend Moon taught that the ideology was mistaken but he came to love the communist people. Since the fall of the Soviet Empire, he has funded numerous activities to assist former communist countries in their transition to democracy and freedom.
Reverend Moon made a crucial step in 1991 towards the establishment of world peace through the peaceful reunification of North and South Korea. Risking his life, he traveled to North Korea in December 1991, and met with President Kim Il Sung, under whose regime he had been tortured and sent to a labor camp. His purpose was to seek ways to bridge the gap between the two countries. The North Korean ruler, who had suppressed religion for forty years, met and graciously welcomed Reverend and Mrs. Moon. In the same visit Reverend Moon was permitted to return to his hometown and the house of his birth, placing flowers on the graves of his parents and embracing proud and tearful surviving relatives.
Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon, the devoted wife and mother of 14 children, began her own public activities for world peace in 1992 with the founding of the Women’s Federation for World. Her mission is both to lead peacemaking work and promote the central role of women in creating a just and peaceful society. Today, after years of intense international work, Mrs. Moon is recognized as one of the most effective woman leaders in the world. She has spoken in such notable venues as Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., the United Nations in New York City, the Kremlin, the Great Hall in Bejing, and congressional buildings in Japan, Korea, and Canada. Perhaps no other woman leader has addressed so many large audiences in as many countries as Mrs. Moon.
Her first world tour in 1993 took her to 44 cities in the US, 27 cities in Japan, 40 university campuses in Korea, and 41 nations around the world. In 2006, accompanied by her adult children and grandchildren, she undertook two world tours for peace at the incredible pace of a country per day. She and her family spoke to enthusiastic audiences in 120 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Oceania and Latin America. She was received as a dignitary and met with many heads of states, prominent religious leaders and political leaders.
Reverend Moon announced the end of the era of the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity in 1992. In its place, he founded the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, building a network of families from every race, religion and culture, united in the belief that centered on God’s love, happy marriages and successful families are the cornerstones for solving the most fundamental problems of society.
Well-known for officiating at mass wedding ceremonies for his followers, Reverend Moon began in 1997 to invite people of all faiths to join in dedicating their marriage to God and world peace. World Peace Blessing ceremonies began with invocations by leaders of various religions. Newlyweds and couples renewing their vows make a sacred promise to love each other faithfully, live together in peace, and raise up their children and grandchildren to uphold purity and fidelity. A special contribution to world peace is made by couples who bridge the divides of race and religion, pledging that they and their families will promote understanding, respect, and harmony.
Reverend Moon proposed the creation of an international council of religious, civic, and political leaders to supplement the peacekeeping work of the United Nations. The Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (known as the Universal Peace Federation since 2005), has been active throughout the world with Ambassadors for Peace who work for peace in their nations and internationally.
In May 2000, Reverend Moon was the inspiration for the founding of the American Clergy Leadership Conference, which gathers clergy of all denominations to empower pastors to rebuild the family, restore the community, and renew the nation and the world. In 2001 Reverend Moon, together with his wife, conducted a 50-state speaking tour throughout America, from February 25, to April 17th, conducting an event every night for 50 days in a different state. Many ACLC clergy took important roles in preparing these events and giving introductory messages.
A month after the September 2011 attacks on the United States, Reverend Moon organized a peace conference that brought together religious and political leaders from around the globe; a second, unprecedented conference for international Muslim leaders in Indonesia in December 2001, was titled: Islam and the Future World of Peace, reflecting Reverend Moon’s confidence in Islam’s potential to be a major partner in the global quest for peace.
Reverend Moon dedicated himself to address the world’s most unsolvable challenges, among them achieving peace in the Middle East and a peaceful reconciliation between North and South Korea. The Middle East Peace Initiative exemplifies his approach to peace by calling on leaders of all fields, including government, academia, religion and the arts, to join in interreligious peace missions to the trouble spots of the world.
While the Internet links people the world over on an information super-highway, there is no highway with bridges and tunnels to connect all the continents. The idea for a Bering Strait crossing was promoted during the UPF Peace Tours of 2005 and 2006 as a vision for overcoming cultural and religious boundaries as well as geographic and political divisions.
Beginning in 2006, a number of Rev. and Mrs. Moon’s children and adult grandchildren, accompanied by their spouses, joined Mrs. Moon on a history-making world tour for peace to 120 nations. Audiences worldwide were inspired that Reverend Moon’s important work is being effectively continued through the dedication of the second and third generations of his family.
The initial Peace Message of 2005 was developed for diverse audiences and to address complex issues facing the globe. In 2006 and 2007, the momentum generated from the initial tours continued locally in more than 14,000 locations organized by Ambassadors for Peace inspired by the vision of the Peace Tours.
Going up into the mountains for meditation and prayer has long been a tradition among the peace-loving people of Korea. For decades Cheongpyeong Lake northeast of Seoul was a beloved prayer retreat for Reverend Moon. As he prayed in the hills nearby, his conviction grew that one day there would be a peace village here and people from all over the world would come to his homeland to learn peace.
In addition to the Cheon Jeong Gung Peace Palace, Museum and Meeting Center there is a training center, hospital, seminary, and stadium at the complex.
A tireless advocate for peace, Reverend Moon and his wife traveled in Asia, Europe, North America, and Africa in 2011 to speak to the public on the theme of “Building a World of Universal Peace.”
Reverend Sun Myung Moon passed away on September 3, 2012 of complications of pneumonia. He is survived by his wife, ten of their 14 children, and more than 40 grandchildren.
Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon
Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, the wife of the Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon [d. 2012], is the Co-Founder of the American Clergy Leadership Conference. Together with her husband, she has devoted her life to peace, founding many organizations and initiatives in a wide range of fields.
Childhood and Family Life
Hak Ja Han was born in the village of Sinli in the Anju District, now in North Korea, on January 6 (lunar), 1943. Her mother, Mrs. Hong, was an earnest Christian and her father was a disciple of a famous preacher, Rev. Young Do Lee. The North Korean Communists persecuted their family, and in 1948, when Dr. Moon was five years old, she and her mother were arrested by Communist police and jailed for 11 days.
After their release, Hak Ja Han, her mother, and her grandmother fled their village in the middle of the night. They went to Taegu, where they lived through the Korean War and where Dr. Moon was reared in a religious environment. The family later moved to Choon Chun, where Hak Ja Han’s uncle was living, and she soon graduated from elementary school in that city. During this period, she, along with her mother, joined the newly formed Unification Church. Five years after joining, on April 11, 1960, the young Hak Ja Han married the church’s founder, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon. She stands as co-founder of the Unification Church, now known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. Since the passing of her husband, she has taken full responsibility for the affairs of the worldwide movement she has established along with her husband.
Devoted Wife, Mother, and Grandmother
Dr. Moon is a devoted wife, the mother of 14 children and the grandmother of more than 40 grandchildren. She is known for her extraordinary compassion, capability, grace and charm. Above all, she is exemplary as a woman who has a created a God-centered marriage and family of three generations.
Leadership to Strengthen Families
Olympic Stadium, Seoul Korea.
The heart and soul of Reverend and Mrs. Moon’s lifelong ministry is the re-establishment of God’s ideal of the family as the foundation for harmonious societies and the cornerstone of world peace. The Marriage Blessing movement, which began with the marriage of three couples in 1960, has reached millions of couples worldwide. Dr. Moon and her husband presided over the marriage blessings in Washington, DC’s RFK stadium in 1997, in Madison Square Garden in 1998, and in Seoul’s Olympic Stadium and other venues in successive years ever since.
A Woman of International Peace and Good Will
In 1968, the Reverend Moon established the Professors World Peace Academy in Korea, and in 1972 the first International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences was held. These and similar organizations have attracted the participation of scholars, scientists, and leaders in the fields of religion, the media, government, and the arts, including numerous Nobel Laureates. Dr. Moon played a crucial role in all of these developments, where her compassionate friendship complements her husband’s challenging vision.
Through addressing informal gatherings of women at these activities, Dr. Moon began to make her appearance in the public sphere. Her speeches included the Address to the Women of the World Media Conference (October 1981) and the Address to the Women of the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences (November 1981). She moved forward on the world stage for the promotion of God-centered values in 1989 when the Soviet media interviewed her. Her interview appeared in the Religion and Society section of Za Rubezhom (June 12, 1989).
Meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev in the Soviet Union and President Kim Il Sung in North Korea
The following year, Reverend and Mrs. Moon met with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. This extraordinary event, which took place in the Kremlin on their 30th wedding anniversary, April 11, 1990, initiated an educational exchange, which has been developing ever since.
Then, in December of 1991, Mrs. Moon put her life on the line when she and her husband traveled to North Korea to meet with President Kim Il Sung for the purpose of uniting the two Koreas. That meeting also has led to many ongoing projects to facilitate the peaceful union of the North and South Korea.
International President of the Women’s Federation for World Peace
In 1992, Dr. Moon, together with her husband, founded the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP). Dr. Moon is the International Chairwoman. She invested all her energy into developing a global base for the new organization, giving the Federation’s inaugural speech in 113 cities in 12 countries and in three different languages within an eight-month period.
In July of 1993, after speaking throughout America, Mrs. Moon’s tour culminated with addresses on the US Capitol Hill and at the United Nations, delivering a message of peace and interreligious reconciliation.
Universal Peace Federation: Leading the Way for Peace, Development and the Renewal of the United Nations
Dr. Moon, following in her late husband’s footsteps, is proposing a revitalized, renewed United Nations with the help of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), with more than 50,000 diplomats, clergy, civic leaders, current and former heads of state appointed as Ambassadors for Peace. Among the prominent initiatives of the UPF is the Middle East Peace Initiative. Thousands of religious leaders have journeyed to Israel and Palestine to urge the children of Abraham to unite in peace. UPF has also been active in disaster relief after Hurricane Katrina struck the US in 2005 and the tsunami that struck northern Japan in 2011. Its educational programs combat the spread of HIV/AIDS and encourage youth to work for peace through sports and community service.
Following the inauguration of UPF in 2005, Dr. Moon accompanied her husband on a historic world tour to 100 international cities in 100 days. The following year she led a 120-city world speaking tour accompanied by their children, their spouses and their adult grandchildren and spouses who also served as speakers. During this tour, she met with numerous heads of state.