With little over a week to prepare, the concerned people of the
Green Mountain State of Vermont made their stand in support of rebuilding
the family, restoring the community, and renewing the nation and
The banquet room at the Radisson Hotel Burlington was filled and
ready to celebrate the victorious finale of the 50 state "We
Will Stand" revival tour.
The clouds over scenic Lake Champlain gave way to sunshine that
gleamed like countless precious jewels upon the water.
Burlington happened to be a rallying point for international protesters
on their way to Quebec City for a huge free trade protest. This
was the same group that trashed Seattle a little over a year ago.
Burlington also prides itself on its reputation as a tolerant, welcoming
This reputation proved true, though only in part.
The press liaison, Bill Brunhofer, had invited all the major local
media and there was a strong contingent of clergy, both local and
national, ready to go.
Yet, not a single Vermont media outlet showed up, even though many
of them were right down the hall covering the free trade protesters.
The Vermont press completely ignored the real story of the day.
Local politicians were either otherwise occupied or just unable
to attend due to the short notice of the event.
There were also some minor concerns of a protest or disruption
of the evening program from "mainstream Christians" or
others, but no such demonstration manifested.
Reverend Rico Diamond, however, was undeterred by any such obstacles
and took a powerful stand in support of the program. Pastor Diamond
is an African-American Pentecostal minister who founded a ministry
in New York City, then received a revelation that he should move
to Vermont. He has worked hard to develop relationships with local
leaders and met the local Family Federation Church pastor, Alex
Nimick, about a year ago.
In his remarks before Father Moon's sermons, Pastor Diamond pointed
out the beautiful diversity and harmony reflected in the crowd.
He wondered aloud as to why city officials had failed to show.
The Holy Spirit was clearly in evidence as he gazed across the jam-packed
After some heavenly live music by two local Christian brothers
and brief remarks by several other clergy, Reverend Michael Jenkins
introduced Father Sun Myung Moon.
Speaking from his heart with Mr. Peter Kim valiantly translating,
he uplifted the role of women, stressing that when women live for
others, such as their spouse and children, they achieve true joy.
He expounded on the importance of loving relationships, emphasizing
that when all our physical and spiritual senses are engaged in loving
others, we achieve true happiness and no longer need religion.
Near the end, almost two hours later, Father Moon mentioned his
prepared text, a copy of which was given everyone upon entry.
He led the reading of a few paragraphs, then asked everyone to
promise to read it in its entirety later.
He told the clergy present that he was staying in America in spite
of requests to move to other countries because he wanted to protect
the Christian foundation here.
He stated that he was aware of Vermont's recent civil unions law
allowing same-sex couples the legal equivalent of marriage. "What
is this nonsense?," he asked.
He explained that everyone is born either man or woman, then asked
if any people present were some "middle sex."
Father Moon's admonitions and exhortations were profound, delightful
and well-received. His tone was that of a loving grandfather.
After the talk, plaques were presented by Maureen and Mary Connolly
representing Vermont ALC (American Leadership Conference) alumni
and Reverend Catherine Wood representing the ACLC (American Clergy
Leadership Conference) to Father and Mother Moon.
Reverend Wood, who offered the invocation, is 88 years old. She
grew up in China with missionary parents, and is a long-time ally
and dear friend of Father Moon's ministry. When she had some trouble
negotiating the stairs to the stage to present the plaque, everyone
on stage rushed to her aid.
Honored with a gift from Father and Mother Moon was Mrs. Jana Robicheau,
leader of a Tibetan Buddhist center in Montpelier, who has been
active in the Women's Federation for World Peace, led by Mother
Moon. She was deeply moved by the message.
Latter Day Saints elders Ralph and Beda Lavigne received the big
bouquet of flowers given first to Father and Mother Moon who passed
it on, as is their usual custom.
A beautiful cake celebrating the successful completion of the tour
was brought out at the end.
The New England Choir from Worcester, Massachusetts, led by Sam
Wada, sang "Amazing Grace," and Pastor Diamond sent everyone
on their way to greater heights with a prayer.