The Words of the Selle Family
By all accounts, Maryland Family Church’s Easter Service in Edgewater Maryland was a memorable experience. Some 250 congregants and guests alike filled the beautifully decorated hall at Camp Letts, a popular kid's camp operated by the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). Young adults and youth, organized by youth ministers Eunha Holdus, and Kaeleigh Moffitt, stood along the walkway to the facility, welcoming everyone. One church member later commented: “It was like going through an archway at your wedding. I really felt special and welcomed.”
The congregational songs and music performed by our intergenerational band filled the huge hall with sounds for worship as people piled in, sitting at nicely decorated round tables. Service leader Matt Goldberg set the tone in welcoming guests and church families alike. It was great to see among the audience parents of our members as well as many Blessed Central Families whom we hadn’t seen in a long while.
Kyla Quinn’s rendition of John Lennon's “Imagine” prepared the atmosphere for the day’s Easter message, titled “Resurrection of the ‘Messiahs,” given by Pastor Angelika Selle of New Hope Family Church (available in audio on esnips.com).
In her 25-minute inspirational sermon, she honored the resurrection of Jesus Christ, without whom there would have been no Christianity and no Unification movement. She recalled how Jesus directly had commissioned Rev. Sun Myung Moon on Easter Sunday morning in 1935 at the age of 16, to continue Jesus’ legacy and to do the “greater works.” She also reminded the audience that Jesus yet had an unfulfilled dream to find people and followers who were just like him in character, lifestyle and spiritual power -- little messiahs, with a lowercase “m.” To get there in substance, St. Paul gave a good pointer by saying that we need to “die unto ourselves” daily in order to resurrect daily.
Through stirring examples and stories, Pastor Selle illustrated what dying to oneself looks and feels like. Father Moon, who himself has walked the path of Jesus and taught it to our movement, calls it coming to the “zero” point, where there is no ego involved. This is necessary in order to resurrect to a higher level of energy, which allows us to “resonate” with and experience Jesus’ energy.
She concluded with the point that Jesus is alive today and is still looking to guide his people, yet yearning for them to ask deeper questions about him and connect to him in heart, spirit, and mission. Pastor Angelika challenged the older generation to renew their commitment to Jesus’ and Father Moon’s legacy as well as their own, and also challenged the younger generation to get to know Jesus and sincerely to ask him questions. “He will surely answer you and guide you, just as he answered and guided me and many others,” she said.
For “homework” on that Easter Day, everyone was encouraged to clean up and take care of “old business,” such as broken promises, giving forgiveness, letting go of resentments, and renewing our commitment to our own personal resurrection in striving to become like Jesus, Father Moon and God, in order to become “the light of the world” in our own right.
In honor of Jesus’ great accomplishments, the song “You Raised Me Up” by Josh Groban was played.
A delicious international potluck luncheon was waiting for everyone to enjoy. Multiple sports activities, organized by Josh Herstein, kept our young people busy outdoors, while indoors there was a brief but delightful entertainment going on, emceed by Larry Moffitt. Highlights included a Japanese-sisters’ choir, a puppet skit by Arthur and Wendy Herstein, and ballroom dancing led by Rex and Emiko Butler.
Later on, folks danced to African songs led by brother Ezra Karemi, while folks who hadn’t seen each other in a long while chatted either inside or outside the hall. Outside, a full-fledged Easter-egg hunt took place for the smaller children, prepared by Irma Mas and her daughter, Alexandra.
There was an Easter-egg treat for older folks as well. To everyone’s delight, the emcee at one point told the participants to look under their chairs to see if they found a plastic Easter egg with a surprise in it. Ten lovely gifts donated by congregants were found inside the eggs, including a free reflexology treatment, a dinner for two at the Cheesecake Factory, an appointment for relaxation in a stone bed, a free house cleaning, and more.
The sun shone brightly that afternoon, and many went for a walk and enjoyed the view of the water, the boats passing by, sitting on the long porch looking over the water in rocking chairs. The day ended with families enjoying time together, some leaving, some coming even later, and just spending the day together.
Our thanks go to the many, many volunteers who made this a great Easter event, especially Debbie and Cecil Robbins, who took on the overall responsibility for the production. And most of all, thanks to God, Jesus and our True Parents, whose spirit was clearly felt and present and who enjoyed that special day with us.
Contributed by Robert Selle, a full-time assistant to Rev. Angelika Selle, pastor of New Hope Family Church.