The Words of the Stephens Family
Mr. Sohichiro Nakamura, Don Sardella, Rev. James Cokley, Rev. James Baughman, Rev. Jeong Hyun Pak, Rev. lames Bevel, and Henri Schauffler at an Advanced ICC Seminar.
As you know, the ICC will start again in 1989 in order to bring an additional 14,000 ministers and religious leaders to Korea. This time, ministers from Europe will also attend. The conferences will be held in a new hotel guest house that is being constructed in Seoul, Korea. It is in the building complex associated with the new newspaper printing facilities and is scheduled for completion in January.
There have been struggles and various controversies within certain denominations in America because of some of the 7,000 ministers who have gone. If just those 7,000 could stand up for what is right, they could affect thousands of other Christians as well. Think what could happen with three times that number! There could be a whole new awakening of ecumenism in Christianity. You, of the first 7,000 to go to Korea, have broken the ice, so to speak. I believe that your participation at this time will be seen in the future as the pioneering movement for the fulfillment of Christianity.
I think that Rev. Sudo's lectures have convinced you that there is a historical significance in your having gone to Korea. I hope that all of you will want to share the responsibility to find and send other pastors to Korea. I even hope that you can begin to help people who are not financially able to go. Although the Unification Church is still footing the bill in Korea, our American members are no longer able to pay for the ministers' air fare as they have been doing. In a lot of places around America the air fare for ministers, therefore, won't be as cheap as it has been in the past.
Rev. James Cokley, president of the ICC Alumni Association of New York, gives Rev. Sudo a big hug.
One internal aspect now developing for the ICC will be our Advanced ICC Seminars, which you are attending today.
We'll be holding more advanced conferences for those who want to deepen their vision and study the Principle more seriously, as well as to find out what Rev. Moon is all about and what is really going on in this church.
An important aspect of the ICC externally is the Alumni Association and its activities. The Alumni Association is the 7,000 and is distinct from the ICC, which is a project funded by the Unification Church. Unification Church members know we are not able to save America alone, and we really feel that the responsibility belongs more to you ministers.
We're willing to support and advise and help in any way we can. You know our members are half your age, and our experience can't compare with the experience that you have had in pastoring your congregations, working with other Christians, and studying the Bible. We are much less experienced and can't really lead people the way you can. We're expecting that the Alumni Association will take the responsibility to guide America in the direction it needs to go.
Washington DC has one of the best examples of an Alumni Association that I've seen so far. They have set up nine different committees, including one for outreach and finding other ministers to go to Korea. In any one geographical area, the ministers who went to different conferences don't know each other all that well, so the Alumni Association helps to get alumni from the various conferences working together and sharing. I believe that by fellowshipping and worshiping together, we can invite Jesus to work in a powerful way through our ecumenical movement.
The last thing I want to talk about is the trinity system. Briefly, this is a system whereby three alumni join together in a trinity for the purpose of supporting each other through love and prayer. This concept comes from the Bible. As we know, there was a trinity consisting of Jesus' three main disciples: Peter, James, and John, with Peter being the chief disciple. Jesus said, "Wherever two or more are united in my name, I will be there." In the Unification Church, Rev. Moon has three main disciples or couples, then 12, 36, 72, and on and on. Our Blessings or marriages are all organized into trinities.
Being in a trinity has great value because if you can love someone not like yourself -- even, in fact, someone you don't like -- you are overcoming your own inability to love. Some of Jesus' most difficult words to follow were: "Love your enemy"! We experience this in our own church. Many times we are guided to be together with someone we don't like in order that we can overcome the barriers in our own hearts. If three people can love each other and overcome their differences, it allows the spirit of God to work there with tremendous power. Basically, all three are equal, but one person must act as the head, the one calling the meetings and being the subject of the group. If any one of the three gets spiritually down, the other two are always there to help and give support. Just imagine what would happen if you had two assistant pastors and all three of you loved each other very deeply? What would happen in your church? So if you love each other, that love will emanate from you to fill every pew.
What we're suggesting is that you, the alumni, form yourselves into trinities. It will probably take a lot of prayer and talking and sharing with each other to start your trinity. You should think about what type of person you need to balance your nature so that as you work together, God has power to work through you. If you are a conservative, maybe you need a liberal to balance you.
We recommend that once you establish your trinity, you should try to meet with each other once a week or at least once a month, and to write or call each other often. You can use this system also among your congregation. It's a system through which God can give inspiration and energy and really work with you. Any time you get together with two others, I promise you that out of that meeting inspiration and power will come.
Everyone listens intently to the lectures given at the banquet on October 11.
We believe that eventually the individuals who are experiencing love and guidance and inspiration from Jesus in their trinity can then have another trinity connected with them. Rev. Levy Daugherty envisions that this kind of linking of heart among Christian leaders will create a giant net all across America, protecting her from the attack of Satan.
If we love each other beyond race and denomination, we can create a kind of spiritual "strategic defense initiative" over America so that Satan cannot come into our communities and our congregations. We will have so much more power to go forward to do what is necessary.
When I travel, I'm welcomed by pastors wherever I go. I feel there is an invisible relationship of heart that's being created among people all across this nation. By committing yourself to two or more other persons as if they represented all the world and your Christian brothers and sisters, then God will be able to multiply that love tremendously.
I don't think these inspirations are coming just to us. I was at a prayer retreat last week down in Washington DC organized by the Intercessors of America and the National Prayer Committee, and I met some fantastic people there from all over the nation. They have organized churches all across America for 40 days of prayer, repentance, and fasting from September 30 until the elections. They really feel strongly that America needs to repent for its sins and ask God's forgiveness and that maybe this is the last chance for America. When they went to other churches to ask them to be involved, they found people who were already praying and repenting. So when we see these things, we know that the Holy Spirit is inspiring all of us. The ways of God are consistent.
If these are truly the Last Days, and if Jesus has called you and has a mission for you, each one of you should feel that you have some special role to play in the history of mankind at this time. Maybe 100 years from now, people will look back and say, "That was the generation that began the movement to eliminate all evil and suffering and saved the world!"
We are at the time of a new beginning for mankind. We are the people that God has chosen to work through to bring the Kingdom of His love on this earth. Each one of us is valuable and precious in the plan of God. There are so many millions of people who have never even seen a Bible or heard a word of scripture. If we could break down the barriers we've built up among ourselves, we could reach the many people in communist nations around the world who need to be taught and given life. Every one of us has enough to do for the rest of our lives and two or three more.
There are certain cycles of history that come around in which just a little bit of effort cart bring tremendous results and help mankind take a great leap forward. It's all because of the foundation of suffering that has been laid in the generations before us. I really do pray for all of you. I hope you can share all of these things you have heard and received today with alumni members you know who are not here. Please invest yourselves.
Thank you very much. God bless you.