Amsterdam, Netherlands—Five participants in the World Clergy Leadership Conference inaugural assembly were the guest speakers at a meeting of UPF-Netherlands.
The five were part of a group of nine who had traveled from Netherlands to the United States to attend the interfaith event. The inaugural convention of the WCLC in New York City’s Manhattan Center on December 27, 2019, was followed by a rally in Newark, New Jersey, the next day, at which the keynote speaker was Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, the co-founder of UPF. The rally in the Prudential Center, which was attended by 30,000 people, was titled “Clergy Rally: A New Hope for a Heavenly Unified World.”
At the Amsterdam gathering held on January 20, 2020, Wim Koetsier, the secretary of UPF-Netherlands, gave a word of welcome. He spoke about how the founder of the Unification Movement, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon from South Korea, saw religions as God’s repair shops. They had become necessary after the Human Fall in order to bring people back to God.
Unfortunately, Mr. Koetsier said, the development of the various religions has been accompanied by conflicts within and between the religions. Nevertheless, people within religions recently have become more mature and spiritually awakened. Many desire a deeper understanding, want to be involved more in discussions about religious principles and interpretations, as well as in decision-making, and are more open to interact with people from other denominations or religions. The time has come for religions to work together for world peace, he said.
At the Newark rally Mother Moon and the Unification Movement brought people together from different walks of life. Our challenge is to do this in our own region, Mr. Koetsier said—in our nation as well as on a European level. Next, as united people we need to find ways to have an impact on society. If we fulfill our responsibility, God can add His power and great things can happen!
After Bert Janssen of UPF showed a PowerPoint of the trip to the United States, Mrs. Kiren Bains, a follower of Guru Ravidass Sabha, offered some remarks. She had been to the United States multiple times, but this time she had a completely different experience. "Having had the opportunity to join the WCLC congress in New York in December last year and experiencing the great hospitality, and finally getting a glimpse of Mother Moon for the first time, I have learned to appreciate people, cultures and religions more.
“My guru, Guru Ravidass, has taught us to appreciate people (irrespective of color or creed), and that is why we greet the soul first with folded hands and with the salutation ‘Jai Gurudev’ (which basically greets the soul and not the person).
“As soon as I experienced the visit of Mother Moon in a stadium full of 30,000 people and felt the positive energy, the following verse came to mind:
Karam bandhan mah ram rahay fal ko tajyo aas.
Karam munukh ko dharam hai sat bhakhai Ravidass.
“This is a verse in our holy book recited by Guru Ravidass—the Amrit Bhani—which means that we should renounce the hope of reward when performing duty to humankind because the performance of that duty is the real faith. Mother Moon has performed her duties, together with Father Moon, throughout her whole life, without any reward, without expecting anything in return. This was depicted in the many people who came to see her on that day. She is clearly performing her duty to humankind. She really is blessed. I also feel blessed with this experience, and I hope to personally meet Mother Moon one day. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to expand my spiritual family.”
Then the other participants of the WCLC were asked to report on their experiences. Mrs. Gisèle Amosi, a pastor and co-founder of the Glorie en Redding Kerk, said she experienced the message of Mother Moon as a message from God, and felt the peace of God in the gathering of so many people. It was a very meaningful and joyous moment, and she said she was very grateful that she could participate.
Her husband, Pastor Franck Koy, the founder and pastor of the Glorie en Redding Kerk, thanked Mother Moon for bringing all kinds of people together: ministers, senators and congressmen, leaders of all ranks of society, as well as people from the general public. All were considered equal, all behaved as such! There he saw love, God and Jesus. Everybody was one. He said he is praying for the good health of all the clergy involved.
Pastor Dr. Dele Olowu, assistant overseer for Mainland Europe of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, said he experienced the team spirit during the entire event and the presentations as a gift from God. He said he got a new dimension of understanding the ministry of churches, and also that he was really challenged. He already has reported on his experiences to ministers of his church.
Dr. Olowu said he prays that the WCLC can have an impact in Netherlands, especially for the benefit of public policy. In the United States, Christians came together and united to influence the public domain, making a solid base for the government. The media do not understand this.
In Africa there are a lot of Christians, he said. However, there is a lot of poverty and decline. Christians have to stand together to help to solve these problems, he said. Two points are important: to have a follow-up meeting in Europe, and to help to solve the crisis in Africa. Africa has an abundance of resources and so much potential to enable people to have a good living. If there is no development, there will be many refugees. Therefore it is important for Europe to support development in Africa. The clergy need to work together to bring solutions, he said.
Dr. Olowu said he is inspired by the great vision of Dr. and Mrs. Moon, who have shown that they are thinking far ahead. How do we respond now? It is a challenge to bring different denominations and religions together. Unity goes hand in hand with humility. Love can work when we are humble. All religions teach about love, but often small things can disturb cooperation or even cause conflicts. We need to work together for spiritual and material progress.
The last to speak about her experiences was Ms. Kiren Bains. She said that the movement of Guru Ravidass Sabha is not so much a school of religion but more of a school of humankind. People are seen as persons and not as members of some movement. All people are seen as souls and are greeted humbly. She said she believes that God is everywhere. We can see each other as creatures of God. If you bring out goodness, goodness in the end comes back to you.
With an open mind she went to New York. Mother Moon is a “blessed person”—otherwise she could not have brought so many people together. Unity starts with one person, also with a father and a mother. It is a way of life. A lily blossoms in dirty water. We need to blossom like the lily, and be strong together in order to bring peace and overcome conflicts and wars. Everybody responds to love. Eventually you can win people over to goodness by true love. “Go and love the people!”
Wim Koetsier said that these last words were a very fitting conclusion to the meeting.