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Honoring a Legacy of Peace in The Hague

Netherlands-2010-06-07-Honoring a Legacy of Peace in The Hague

The Hague, Netherlands - UPF-Netherlands held an event to "Honor a Legacy of Peace: Memorial Festival of Ascension and Unity" at the Cross Point Church in The Hague on June 7.

Wim Koetsier, MC and Secretary General of UPF-Netherlands, greeted the 90 plus attendees and introduced the "Legacy of Peace” program to pay tribute to some of those who had sacrificially lived for the sake of others, leaving an example and inspiration for all.

After showing the video about the legacy of peace, Hans Campman, President of the Family Federation in the Netherlands, explained that just as the main purpose of our "first life" (nine months in water, inside our mother) was to prepare us for our "second life" (on earth, breathing air), the purpose of our time here is to prepare us for the "third life" (the eternal realm, in the spiritual world). Just as the placenta enabled our physical body to grow in preparation for living in this world, so also the actions of our physical body can feed the growth of our spirit body, enabling us to enjoy life in the spirit world which is sustained by the love of God. UPF Founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon created the Memorial Festival of Ascension and Unity to emphasize the soul's upward journey and assist a person's smooth passage into the next world.

Wim Koetsier announced a time for "Honoring those who are an example and inspiration for us in dedicating their lives to a higher purpose." Small bouquets of flowers were placed before the photos of honorees, and then those presenting them stood behind the photos for a period of silent meditation and prayer.

There were four Dutch honorees: Queen Juliana, who ruled the Netherlands from 1948 to 1980; Major Alida Margaretha Bosshardt, a well-known officer of the Salvation Army in the Netherlands; Miep Gies, one of the Dutch citizens who hid Jews, including Anne Frank, from the Nazis during World War II; and Mgr. Dr. J.G.M. Willebrands, a Roman Catholic Cardinal who spearheaded early ecumenical work. Mrs. Hanneke van Eekelen offered reflections on the impact of their lives. An Ambassador for Peace and wife of Dutch elder statesman Dr. Wim van Eekelen, she campaigns to improve the teaching methods and understanding of students.

Prayers of remembrance were offered by leaders from various faith traditions in order of the age of the faith they represented:

  • Pandit S.R. Tewarie, representing Hinduism, remembered the honorees in Dutch, and chanted prayers in Hindi.
  • Rabbijn Marianne van Praag, the first female rabbi in the Netherlands, prayed in Hebrew and Dutch, calling for blessing on all ancestors and protection of all people; she expressed the hope that as Jacob saw the face of God in his estranged brother Esau, we might see the face of God in each other.
  • Protestant minister Dr. Elzo Bijl, representing Christianity, prayed "from the heart," emphasizing the need to respect the "holy ground" in each individual.
  • Sufi imam Dr. Hashim Jansen, representing Islam, spoke and prayed in Dutch and recited the first chapter of the Qur'an in Arabic.

Unificationist Eleanor Klerkx sang a Christian hymn written by Charles Wesley, "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling," with great dignity and authority.

The keynote address was read by Dr. Young-Cheol Song, Chair of UPF-Europe. He said that Rev. Moon would have liked to have visited The Netherlands and given the address himself, but he had felt it important to remain in Korea and pray for reconciliation in this time of great tension between the North and the South after the sinking of a South Korean ship.

Moving on to the final part of the program, Wim Koetsier invited Prof. Dr. Mohan K. Gautam, who had attended a Legacy of Peace event in the United States, to offer a congratulatory address. He talked about meeting Rev. Moon in person and studying his words and actions; he reported that he sensed a divine presence and Rev. Moon's natural humanity and humility.

Elder Unificationist couple Jan and Inge van Winden offered a final floral bouquet, while Dr. Song invited Mrs. van Eekelen and Rabbijn van Praag to join him in cutting the celebration cake, baked by Unificationist Donna Martijn.

The formal proceedings ended with Hans Campman thanking all those who had attended the event, suggesting that they — and he himself — would only begin to appreciate its significance later.

Although it was a long program, lasting until late in the evening, most stayed on also enjoying the celebration cake. While a few felt somewhat challenged by some of the contents of Father Moon's speech, they had been moved by the experience and were certainly open to discussion.

The legacy theme was exemplified by an Ambassador for Peace, Mrs. MacNack, who was accompanied by her daughter and granddaughter. A spiritual legacy was evident in the presence of Dr. Abdullah Haselhoef, the unofficial spokesman for Muslims in the Netherlands after 9/11, who introduced Imam Jansen to the Universal Peace Federation, who in turn introduced Dr. Bijl.

Literature available to attendees included a booklet with excerpts from Rev. Moon's autobiography, As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen.