LOS ANGELES, Apr. 6, 2019 — More than 6,000 people joined the Peace Starts With Me rally at City of Refuge megachurch in Gardena, CA. This was a call to promote peace in a community rocked by violence with the recent murder of American rapper Nipsey Hussle and a nation becoming more divided.
“Standing for peace isn’t an easy task,” said Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) Regional Chairman for North America. “In order to overcome the violence and the many challenges facing our society, we need to rise above our differences and work together to love and heal our fellow brothers and sisters to build true peace.”
The rally was a joint project of FFWPU, an organization striving to establish a world of peace and unity among all people, and the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC), a coalition of faith leaders working beyond denomination to strengthen marriages and families.
“You are a temple of God, so let the Holy Spirit dwell within you,” said Archbishop George A. Stallings, Jr., Chairman of International Association for Peace and Development (IAPD) during his prayer.
FFWPU Blessing and Family Ministry Director Crescentia DeGeode lead a Blessing Rededication Ceremony, which reinforces a couple’s commitment to God and each other. ACLC National Co-chair Dr. Luonne Rouse and his wife Marie officiated the ceremony.
“God is doing something incredible, something holy in this space,” said DeGeode.
City of Refuge pastor Bishop Noel Jones shared a message of hope to bring people together from all faiths and backgrounds.
“God put us all on this earth to live together in peace,” said Bishop Jones. “You have to fight certain conceptualizations about religion. We have to turn our backs to the violence and turn the world upside down.”
FFWPU Co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, affectionately known as the Mother of Peace, then took the stage to deliver the keynote address. She spoke about how the earth is deteriorating from self-centered human consumption and how we must unite and initiate peace to rebuild the earth together.
“We cannot sit idly by and watch. This world, which our Creator, God, created for us from the outset, is suffering and dying due to our ignorance… We must find solutions to these problems before it is too late. This means that self-centeredness, and nations that place their national interests first, will ultimately not survive…We must combine our efforts and work in unity in order to do that,” said Dr. Moon.
A donation was made on behalf of Dr. Moon to Nipsey Hussle, in addition to three local charities. A 500-voice choir directed by Jason McGee and backed by Grammy award-winning gospel artist Hezekiah Walker brought the crowd to their feet. Collegiate Associate for the Research of Principles (CARP), a national college organization for youth, danced to the Korean song “Mujogeon,” followed by a local team of praise dancers.