Birmingham, United Kingdom—Forgiveness and its relevance to our lives were discussed at a meeting that drew an audience of 45.
The meeting took place on January 23, 2020, in the home of UPF-Birmingham leaders Dr. David and Patricia Earle. It was a joint effort of UPF and its affiliated organizations Women’s Federation for World Peace and Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.
We looked at the biblical model of the brothers Jacob and Esau, and then the life of Jesus. We cited the example of the Prophet Mohammed, forgiving the lady who gave abuse every day when he passed by her house, going to visit her when she became ill. We continued on to contemporary examples—Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. UPF founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon traveled to the Soviet Union and North Korea at the risk of his life to forgive those who had sought to destroy him.
In the Middle East, members of the Parents Circle and Families Forum are working together, despite having paid the ultimate price of the loss of a loved one. And in Africa, the documentary films The Imam and the Pastor (Nigeria) and Beyond Forgiving (South Africa) showed how Ginn Fourie and Letlapa Mphalele somehow found the incredible courage to not only forgive one another but also work together for reconciliation and peace. So many heroic men and women.
Patricia Earle read an extract from Archbishop Desmond Tutu's Book of Forgiveness, followed by some time for everyone to offer their personal views and stories. We concluded with refreshments and informal discussions.