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In Memoriam: Henry Christopher (1947-2024)

The Seonghwa (Memorial) Ceremony to commemorate Henry Christopher’s life will be held Wednesday, June 26 at 4:00 pm EDT at The Washington Times Building located at 3600 New York Ave., NE Washington, DC 20002. Those unable to attend in person are invited to join the ceremony on Zoom at Passcode 2027.

It is with a sad heart that HJI announces the passing of Henry Christopher, HJI graduate, long- time HJI staff member, and dear brother.

Henry Christopher was born on January 20, 1947, in Bayshore, New York. His parents, Milton and Elvira Christopher, raised him along with his siblings, William and David. He graduated from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.

A true idealist, Henry dedicated his life to the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment and the realization of an ideal world. He and Katsuko Okada received the Holy Marriage Blessing on
January 12, 1989 as part of the 1,275 blessing held in Korea.

Henry was introduced to the Unification Movement in 1973 by Tirzi Shilgi Martin who met him at the campus of Boston University. Tirzi recalled encountering him during an open market day where Henry was selling hippie accessories. Like many of his peers during that era, Henry was searching for meaning and purpose in his life. He attended a Divine Principle workshop and after several spiritual experiences made the decision the following year to join the Unification Movement. “God poured pure love down my entire body from the top of my head right to the bottom of my toes. It literally washed away my sin, fears, and sadness—everything. I took this extraordinary experience as a sign from God that I was in the right place doing the right thing for Him and myself,” he said.

In November 1975, Henry auditioned for and joined the New Hope Singers International. He was a member of the tenor section and performed in a barbershop quartet. Henry was involved in the grassroots mobilization campaign and the on-stage choral performance for the historic bicentennial events at both Yankee Stadium (6/1/76) and the Washington Monument (9/18/76).

Part of the choir’s activities included selling subscriptions to The News World in New York, which was founded in December 1976. Henry consistently came back at the end of the day with a story that reassured everyone that God was working.

In 1978, Henry was accepted as a student at HJI (then UTS). The entire UTS student body, along with Henry, traveled to London for a summer of Home Church activities personally directed by Father Moon. At the seminary, one day he was painting a classroom wall when Father Moon suddenly appeared and suggested what colors were better for studying. He also went fishing with the Founders in the nearby Hudson River. He graduated in the class of 1980, receiving his Diploma in Religious Education. In 2006, Henry completed his Master of Religious Education.

On January 1, 1982, Henry was chosen as a founding member of The Washington Times. He worked as a Metro reporter and then as an information graphics artist for a total of about 20 years. Fulfilling his desire to teach the Divine Principle to university students living under communist rule, Henry volunteered to spend the spring of 1992 in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea.

From 1991 to 1996, he and Katsuko resided and took care of Jefferson House in McLean, VA, where Father and Mother Moon stayed when in the Greater Washington, D.C., area. Henry and Katsuko welcomed their daughter, Enryka, into the world in 1993. True Parents and many True Children, especially Hoon Sook Nim, stayed at the house.

From 2002 to 2004, the family moved to Korea where they are fondly remembered for taking care of the young Western students in Korea’s GOP program. The young people felt cared for and the Korean Administration and parents had people whom they could trust in the Christophers.

Returning to UTS in 2005, Henry served in various capacities including as Community Relations Director which resulted in inviting the local community to walk on “Father’s Trail.” In 2006, the hiking path later officially became part of the New York State Greenway Trail System. He took leadership in many community programs, including holiday food drives, iceboat activities on the Lagoon, opening the labyrinth loop to the public, and caring for the historic Massena house.

Henry also served as Director for Recruitment and Admissions, and most recently as Financial Aid Director. His tenure as Financial Aid Director was particularly notable during a challenging period when UTS/HJI faced issues with financial aid compliance. Henry’s expertise and diligence restored the school’s standing with the U.S. Department of Education, demonstrating his invaluable contribution to the institution.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Henry played a crucial role in securing significant funding for UTS/HJI, navigating complex paperwork and liaising with government authorities, resulting in over $700,000 in support.

The Christophers were recognized as a CheonBo couple in 2020, a significant recognition in the Unification faith for their dedication as Heavenly Tribal Messiahs.

In 2024, Henry continued to make significant contributions, notably with the Higher Purpose Forum where he organized a compelling series on the “Unity of Science, Spirituality, and Religion.” His March 12 presentation on human origins, advocating for a theory of “theistic evolution,” exemplified his deep integration of faith and intellectual inquiry.

Henry was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2020. One kidney was removed at that time, then, in the spring of this year, the other one became cancerous. In late June, he was admitted to Tidal Health Peninsula Regional Hospital in Salisbury, MD, due to complications from pneumonia and a bacterial infection. It was there, surrounded by his loving wife, Katsuko, and daughter Enryka, that Henry passed away at 2:50 pm on June 21, 2024.

The family expresses profound gratitude for the outpouring of prayers and support they received during Henry’s illness. Known for his humble yet determined and bold spirit, Henry’s contributions to advancing Heavenly Parent’s work in America were cherished by all who knew

Flowers may be delivered to: The Arbor Ballroom of The Washington Times Building located at 3600 New York Ave., NE Washington, DC 20002

Cards of support can be mailed to: Katsuko Christopher at 3193 Meridian Dr., Greenbackville, VA 23356