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Moon will bring tour to Billings
By JIM GRANSBERY
Of The Gazette Staff

The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder and leader of the Unification Church, will bring his “Standing Together” tour to Billings on March 31.

The tour, in which Moon will travel to 50 states in fifty days, started Sunday in New York where 3,500 clergy and followers joined the 81-year-old evangelist who called for national interracial and interreligious harmony and cooperation. The finale will be in Washington, D.C., on April 16.

Moon’s appearance in Billings is a public event scheduled for the Holiday Inn Grand Montana, said local Unification Church pastor the Rev. Michael Yakawich.

“This is not just a Unification Church event,” Yakawich said. “It is asking for everyone to take a stand against drugs, alcoholism and racism.”

Yakawich said prominent Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Pentecostal ministers are joining the tour. He said local clergy are being invited to the event, which will include a buffet and entertainment before Moon’s address, which will be delivered in Korean with simultaneous translation.

He said Moon believes that “the faith community must take a leading role in making a better reality for all our citizens. Our churches, temples, mosques remain the most segregated part of our society.”

Despite the controversy surrounding Moon’s religious beliefs and teachings, many clergy have decided to stand with Moon on the issues of rebuilding the family, restoring the community and renewing the nations, Yakawich said. “This is an ecumenical program, not that far removed from what we’ve done in the community.”

Moon, born in North Korea, spent 2-1/2 years in a communist concentration camp. He was freed by the American invasion at Inchon during the Korean War. He also served time in U.S. federal prison for income tax evasion. He founded the Washington Times newspaper in 1984.

Yakawich said the tour “is an incredible ordeal, but Rev. Moon is not worried about his health.” Moon recently told followers that he would be retiring soon and wanted to take on the tour for the sake of the United States, Yakawich said.

The program begins with a buffet at 5:15 p.m., and the program begins at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call 245-5319.

Jim Gransbery can be reached at 657-1288 or at jgransbery@billingsgazette.com


Updated: Fri Mar 2 17:09:00 CST 2001 Central Time
Copyright The Billings Gazette, a division of Lee Enterprises.



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