A powerful message of hope and peace dominated multiple social platforms on August 1 as thousands of people tuned in to the Peace Starts With Me: The Reconciliation of All People Virtual Rally. The two-hour program, hosted by Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) USA President Rev. Demian Dunkley and punctuated by uplifting, energizing performances by several chart-topping musical artists, shared the inspirational messages of keynote speaker and City of Refuge megachurch pastor Bishop Noel Jones, FFWPU co-founder and Mother of Peace Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, notable civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, and several other faith leaders.
“God loved the world and the universe so much that he sent Jesus,” said Bishop Noel Jones during the virtual rally. “Now God challenges us at this time to bring universal peace to all humanity. ‘Peace Starts With Me’ is a powerful message needed at this time. If we just look at the grandiose size and the longevity of this mission of universal peace, we can only come to the conclusion that it was formed in the mind of the eternal God. He had prepared the legacy of Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and the steadfast efforts of his wife Dr Hak Ja Han Moon for such a time as this.”
A global peace movement founded in 2017, Peace Starts With Me is among numerous peace-building initiatives spearheaded by Dr. Moon, who continues working tirelessly to promote unity and peace around the world. Now channeled digitally in households worldwide, the peace movement brings together people of different backgrounds to transcend all barriers and affiliations. With a Los Angeles congregation of more than 20,000 people, Bishop Noel Jones urged faith leaders and believers to follow God in oneness with each other and as one family.
“The condition of the world seems to be deteriorating quickly in these recent years, and humanity has drifted farther from the maxim tenants of God that man cannot find his way back without a God-given peace movement,” said Bishop Noel Jones. “We strive to grasp with cognitive and intellectual prowess only what God can reveal to us. It is beyond our rationality; it is only received through revelation by faith, and faith is telling us that somebody has to step up and begin the movement to bring peace in the world. The Mother of Peace teaches that we must establish peace on earth, and it starts with each of us.”
Bishop Noel Jones shared passages from the Bible speaking of God’s enduring love for humanity and His longing for a heavenly unified community. He shared that Christianity is a religious tool to understand God’s divinity and that faith leaders must work and come together to fulfill God’s desire for peace, economic development for all nations, and the restorative salvation of the planet.
“Let us peacefully embrace our spiritual freedom to share and listen in open dialogue with each other; let us peacefully embrace our intense and vociferous desire for peace on the earth; let us all use our ingenuity and our cognitive determination to find solutions together for our world’s problems; let us use our wisdom ripened by the years of serving God and society in religious centers and governments to strengthen each other; and let us express our love for all of humanity as we implement the solutions that derive from realizing peace begins with me.”
The virtual rally showcased high-energy performances from past Peace Starts With Me events, including gospel singer Bishop Hezekiah Walker; Christian rock band Citizen Way; and gospel artists Kim Burrell, JoAnn Rosario-Condrey, and Wess Morgan, who recorded his performance from his home. Eliana Rapada, a young, longtime rally participant, also shared her excitement to join the virtual event from her home in New Jersey. “I feel very happy to be part of the Peace Starts With Me movement because it’s so energizing and fun,” said Rapada. “I’m ready to feel that experience again; and those of us who feel divided in society, we can unite together and bring peace. We can forgive, we can love, we can treat people as we want to be treated, and we can respect each other.”
Rally host Rev. Dunkley emphasized the importance of unity, especially during such a challenging time as the COVID-19 pandemic, sharing that we can overcome all things through hope and faith. “When you look across the world landscape, the Mother of Peace is clearly the most powerful change-maker and woman leader of our time,” said Rev. Dunkley. “She is bringing leaders from all over the world to carve a pathway of interdependence, mutual prosperity, and universally-shared values in order to bring about global peace. The Mother of Peace is reminding us that we have the blessing and responsibility to create a heavenly peaceful world.”
In November 2018, Dr. Moon urgently spoke of reconciliation among all people as an essential step toward world peace. Footage of her Peace Starts With Me: Healing America speech at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Long Island, New York was shared during the virtual rally. “Many walls exist all over the world that we must reconcile; walls between religion, race, ideologies, and culture,” said Dr. Moon. She continues to foster solidarity and unity among nations, communities, families, and individuals around the world as Peace Starts With Me brings to life the actionable power within us all to ignite faith and love for our global family.
“The current coronavirus pandemic has caused national lockdowns throughout the world and, in numerous ways, it has become difficult to make unity as nations protect their own borders and walk individual paths,” said Dr. Moon in her message during the virtual rally. “It is no longer possible to become one solely through human effort and initiative. We have seen that a world of peace cannot be realized through human power alone. We should be able to embrace the nation and the world with true love, living for the sake of others instead of living only for ourselves. For more than 6,000 years, God’s longing dream and humanity’s hope has been heaven on earth. Let us build it with our own hands!”
The virtual rally not only touched on the current climate of the global pandemic, but also tensions among people in the U.S. and around the world. “We have to find a way to stay together; we have to find a way to stay united, and that requires God,” said civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who shared a message during the rally and represents the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. “From that, we can create peace with one another.”
A panel of faith leaders also weighed in on spirituality, black health matters, and reconciliation, while rally participants could donate to a special Peace Starts With Me fund providing relief to communities heavily impacted by Covid in the U.S. “Let this Peace Starts With Me movement use the sacrifice of time from our churches, our synagogues, our mosques, our temples, and our seats of government to march energetically toward world peace,” said Bishop Noel Jones. “We will not stop until we establish that peace starts with each one of us as individuals. We were born for this season; raised for this season; anointed for this season; preserved for this season, and we will be honored by God for our work in this season, so let us go forth in the spirit of peace and love.”
You can watch the full Peace Starts With Me virtual rally here.