|The genesis of the Wonjeon
Shrine is tied to the 25th anniversary of the Unification Church building
on Columbia Road in Washington, D.C. in 2001. As part of a series of events
commemorating our purchase of the building in 1976, then-Regional Director
and Pastor, Rev. In Hoi Lee approved the proposal to look for a plot of
land as a church cemetery.
In September 2001, when our brother Thomas Wojcik ascended and was buried at Fort Lincoln, the cemetery made us an offer for a group burial space. Six members, including several blessed children, were already buried there.
An ad hoc committee of elders, including Antonio Betancourt as chairman, William Selig as director, James Borer as legal counselor, and Keith Cooperrider as financial overseer, were organized to discuss the proposal. After several public meetings, we sought the approval of Dr. Chang Shik Yang, who heartily accepted the offer. We contacted HSA-UWC headquarters in New York and, after consulting with Kay Allen of the Legal Affairs Department, opened a bank account in Washington in the name of the HSA-UWC with Kyoko Betancourt as treasurer.
Fort Lincoln cemetery was chosen as the site of our Wonjeon not only because of its proximity to The Washington Times, but also because of its excellent facilities and distinguished history. The cemetery is located in the former Fort Lincoln which strategically protected the nationís capital during the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln met there with his generals and advisors to discuss military strategy. The cemetery was chartered in 1912 by an act of the Maryland General Assembly and presently encompasses 178 acres.
On May 14, 2002, Dr. Chang Shik Yang and Rev. Michael Jenkins sanctified the property with Holy Salt. Also attending the ceremony were Rev. Levy Daugherty, Antonio and Kyoko Betancourt, Kitty Wojcik, Wilfredo Rivera, Jan de Goey, and William Selig.
On July 26, 2002, the day of the Service for Peace celebration in Washington, Dr. Yang reported to Father about the Wonjeon and also the passing into the spiritual world of our brother Rev. Purnell Spicer. True Parents wholeheartedly approved of holding a national-level Sunghwa Ceremony for Rev. Spicer and gave his blessing on having the national Wonjeon Shrine in Washington.
After a portion of the property was paid for, the land was excavated and 61 crypts placed in the ground the week of June 16-20, 2003. On Aug. 28, 2003, a disinterment ceremony was held, and the members were transferred to their now eternal resting place.
On Oct. 9, 2003, a ribbon
cutting ceremony was held to officially dedicate the National Wonjeon
Shrine of America.