Funeral for Rev. Moon a time of reflection for church

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    GAPYEONG, South Korea — Hak Ja Han Moon, widow of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, told 15,000 Unificationists on Monday that she will “be faithful” to his life and tradition and that the worldwide movement should “march forward without pausing” to build God’s ideal world.

    “Truly, True Father loves you very much,” she said here at the church’s Cheongshim Peace World Center, which on Saturday was the site of the “seonghwa,” or ascension ceremony, for Rev. Moon. The evangelist died at age 92 on Sept. 3 in Korea.

    “I am truly grateful for the love, devotion and conditions [you did] for True Father. I love you,” she said as she wiped tears from her eyes.

    A few years before he died, Rev. Moon designated Mrs. Moon, 69, as the leader of the Unification movement, with support from their son the Rev. Hyung Jin Moon, the church’s international president, and their other children.

    Her remarks, which were read by an elder disciple, were widely anticipated as opening a new era for the movement, which was officially founded in 1954 in South Korea.

    “True Father’s seonghwa brings me, after being together with him my whole life, unfathomable pain and sorrow,” Mrs. Moon said. But “this is also a time of hope,” she said, because she can still collaborate with Rev. Moon in the spirit world to guide the movement.

    “There is no stopping Heaven’s providence,” she said, urging Unification Church members to live “illuminated” lives of goodness, create loving families and build harmonious communities.

    No personnel or institutional changes were immediately announced.

    Church sources say Mrs. Moon, a constant presence at her husband’s side during his long and at times controversy-filled ministry, could be planning a global tour along the lines of many undertaken by her husband. The younger Rev. Moon, 33, made clear in his own emotional eulogy for his father Saturday that he planned to fulfill the mission that consumed his father in the last months before he died Sept. 2 of complications from pneumonia — the quest for a global “Nation of Cosmic Peace and Unity,” with a “Foundation Day” for the new movement set for Jan. 13.

    While Mrs. Moon assumes the overall direction of the Unification Church, Hyung Jin Moon is poised to take up his father’s religious role while older brother Kook Jin Moon will oversee the church’s extensive global commercial interests.

    Solemn ceremony

    Top church officials Sunday were expressing both relief and satisfaction at the funeral ceremonies for Rev. Moon, as tens of thousands of mourners from around the globe descended on the remote Gapyeong complex about an hour northeast of Seoul to pay their final respects to Rev. Sun Myung Moon in a solemn but dignified 2½-hour ceremony Saturday.

    The red casket with intricate gold trim containing Rev. Moon’s body made the long, slow passage to the raised altar just after 10 a.m. for the “seonghwa” — memorial and ascension — ceremony, borne by eight pallbearers in white military tunics with orange and gold trim. Mrs. Moon, Rev. Moon’s wife of 52 years, walked stoically immediately behind the casket, dressed like other family members in a flowing white robe.

    At the ceremony’s close, as those who packed the indoor stadium sang a hymn, the casket was carried back down the middle aisle to be transported to a smaller burial service on a nearby mountainside.

    The emotional highlight of the burial came when Rev. Moon’s sons Hyung Jin and Kook Jin led immediate family members in a silent prayer as they held hands and knelt over the polished granite slab covering the burial vault.

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    About the Author
    David R. Sands

    David R. Sands

    Raised in Northern Virginia, David R. Sands received an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He worked as a reporter for several Washington-area business publications before joining The Washington Times.

    At The Times, Mr. Sands has covered numerous beats, including international trade, banking, politics ...

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    Cheryl Wetzstein

    Cheryl Wetzstein

    Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.

    Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...

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