Among the many programs and events that happened in New York the weekend of November 10 in conjunction with the Peace Starts With Me rally, the American Youth and Young Adult Ministry (YAYAM) hosted a Peace Starts With Me Workshop at the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) from November 10-12.
The workshop drew over 300 people from across the country, as well as a few international participants from Canada and Germany. Its purpose was to bring together the youth of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) and empower them to connect and contribute to the holistic vision of Peace Starts With Me, in addition to welcoming Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, the Mother of Peace, on the day of the rally.
Workshop co-directors and coordinators of the National Youth Ministry and the National Young Adult Ministry, Kaeleigh Moffitt and Tasnah Moyer, organized different messages and activities to reinforce each of these purposes throughout the weekend.
Rev. Mark Abernathy, Senior Pastor of the Connect Point Ministry in Snellville, Georgia, gave the opening remarks, inviting the participants to know and connect to the Christian roots of the Unification Movement in order to grow in personal vitality and gain confidence in God’s calling for each of them.
Sun Jin Moon, International President of FFWPU, spoke to the participants the following morning, sharing the wisdom of Dr. Moon and her late husband, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, as well as a testimony of her own journey to cultivate a relationship of deep faith and love with them. She encouraged everyone to be the hope they wanted to see in the world, connecting their dreams and their passions to Rev. and Dr. Moon's vision of creating a peaceful world.
The workshop came to a close with several talks and reflection exercises, designed to make the idea of “Peace Starts With Me” real for the participants. This included a message from Tasnah about how peace flows from healing, which in turn flows from forgiveness, and a powerful opportunity for participants to experience finding and seeking forgiveness for pains received and given in their own lives.
The following morning, Naokimi Ushiroda, Director of YAYAM, and Mr. Koji Matsuda, Vice President of Youth and Students for Peace International (YSP), facilitated an activity designed to draw the connection between participants’ gifts and the daily opportunities that surround them to apply those gifts as peacemakers. With that, the workshop concluded and all of the participants joined the rally at Nassau Coliseum as youth dancers which was a fitting close for the workshop.