The "We Will Stand" interfaith tour rounded up the faithful
and curious of the "Equality State" at a Little America
Hotel banquet hall in Cheyene on a brisk Tuesday evening.
This was the 30th stop along the trail winding through America
at breakneck speed.
In the midst of all the outreach efforts a sister named Alvertina
Ogai came to Cheyenne in the hope of sharing the holy Blessing of
marriage with one of the local volunteers. She was of Korean descent
from the Republic of Uzbekistan, spoke English, and therefore soon
found herself in the midst of the speaking tour outreach preparations
working hard too. However, the altitude proved to be challenging
for her physically so after a few days she felt ill and stayed back
to rest. She was discovered in the evening to have suffered a heart
attack and was immediately taken to the hospital. She was pronounced
When Dr. Chang Shik Yang, the Continental Director of North America
for the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification heard
about her death he had a deep feeling that her life had been offered
as a sacrifice for the tour, especially for Wyoming. She will not
Reverend Michael Jenkins, president of the Family Fedration for
World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) was the evening's emcee. The
idea for the tour started in Korea with 150 pastors, and has since
attracted the support of 12,000 clergy, according to Jenkins.
At a news conference just prior to the evening event he stated:
"The entire effort depends on the sanctification of the family,
which began as a formal movement in 1995 with Father Moon's mass
weddings of millions of couples. We do believe a new age has dawned.
The "Stand Together" movement does not discriminate against
single people, who can be blessed by God."
The invocation was given by the Reverend Louis Johnson of the New
Beginnings Christian Church of Casper.
Several other minister preached, including Reverend Jesse Edwards
of Philadelphia. His simple message got the crowd excited and in
Elder C.J. Brown, a Cheyenne city councilman and associate pastor
of New Kingdom Church of God in Christ came to hear the message
of unity and reconciliation as did the Reverend William Ephriam
of Colorado Springs.
The Reverend Vic Walter of the Evangelical Free Church in Cheyenne
said he attended the event out of curiosity.
Former Natrona County Republican Party Chairman Marvin Emrich and
his wife Maureen came because of an invitation by Michael Hentrich,
of Casper, a member of the Family Federation for World Peace and
Maureen Emrich had recently received the American Century Award
presented by The Washington Times Foundation at an inaugural prayer
luncheon in January.
The keynote speaker for the evening, Father Sun Myung Moon, 81,
addressed the more than 300 people assembled with warmth and righteousness.
With Mr. Peter Kim giving simultaneous translation, Father Moon
captivated much of the audience with his extemporaneous humor, provocative
declarations, and a simple, yet profoud message.
"Life, love and lineage, these are the most important values.
Am I right? "
"Don't you think Jesus would have wanted to marry if he found
a holy bride? If a holy bride sent by God was there, and they were
together, don't you think Jesus would have functioned like a man,
like between a husband and wife?"
"If Jesus and his wife had a family, their descendents would
have been able to conquer the Roman empire and establish a political
kingdom that would endure. Then, there wouldn't be George W. Bush
as president of America, but one of Jesus' descendents would be
Using the examples of polar bears, brown bears and black bears
as representatives of the different races, he said, "Bears
developed different colors as a reaction to the environment and
were not made that way by God."
He also spoke of his life and ministry and the years of persecution
endured and overcome.
John Kambutu, a professor of educational studies at the Casper
College Center for the University of Wyoming, spoke in favor of
the tour sponsors stated views against racism.
Gail Ridgely, president of Wind River Community College, told the
crowd that American Indians need more equality in the "Equality
John Redmond of Arvada, Colo., brought his family to Cheyenne for
the talk. Arvada is a 20-year member of the Unification Church (now
Family Church of Colorado) and attributed much of the controversy
to a distrust of foreigners.
He stated to the media:
"Our society's social problems can be traced back to the breakdown
of the family. It is best solved by a connection to a religious
"He (Father Moon) is saying challenging things, but in America
a lot of people don't know what he thinks or believes. I think he
provides a way of making the races work together to restore the