The Words of the Sutchar Family

Chicago Celebrates Bishop Kim's 1st Birthday

Bruce Sutchar
January 8, 2006
Chicago, IL

For at least the last 15 years, Chicago Family Church members have not held a church service on the second Sunday of each month in their home church. That is the Sunday reserved for church visitation. Now with the "One Family-Three Churches" providence, this day has taken on an even more important meaning. However, on Sunday, January 8th, the second Sunday of the year Chicago held a rare second Sunday church service. The reason for this was the birthday of Chicago's beloved Bishop Ki Hoon Kim. The change was announced on God's Day and church visitation was moved to the following Sunday. By 11:00am the church was filled beyond capacity. Flowers and a cake were being prepared, Minister of Music Ray Figueroa had prepared some music even more incredible than usual ("Just a Closer Walk with Thee," featuring a solo vocal performance from Gloria Barber) and in addition, Chicago ACLC co-convener Dr. A. Harold White had been invited to deliver the sermon.

The spirit on Ashland Avenue was electric. This was a rare treat, a chance for Chicago's faithful membership to express its undying gratitude for the hard work, the love, the example and the leadership that Bishop Kim has given them over the past three decades.

Chris Ogden, Father's olde English fish captain (he once drove a boat from Gloucester to Montevideo) was the MC of the hour. Chris is such a deep example of God's joyful heart. Rev. Bruce Sutchar read Bishop Kim's biography . Then 3 representatives of the Chicago community: Rev. Reiner Vincenz, Mrs. Akemi Nguyen, and John and Marina Acevedo each gave short testimonies to Bishop Kim's love and his leadership.

Then Dr. White rose to the podium. His bible verse was from the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 40, verse 31, "But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.".

His sermon was deep, heartfelt and eloquent. Besides being one of the most respected elder statesman in the Chicago church community, Dr. White has been a radio announcer for the past 35 years-thus the title Dr. A. (always on time) Harold White. Dr. White gave such a beautiful tribute to both Bishop Kim (especially for his kindness and his concern) and equally to our True Parents.

Then the celebration began. Gifts and flowers magically appeared. Bishop Kim's four beautiful children appeared on stage with him (he has 2 beautiful daughters-both recent graduates of the University of Illinois School of business and 2 handsome, tall, basketball playing sons-one in college and one even taller, just a freshman in high school). The congregation rose on many occasions to cheer and celebrate this glorious day.

Finally (and he usually speaks last and with much brevity) Bishop Kim rose to give remarks. He spoke of several things but finally he asked if anyone knew how old he was. He challenged us to listen, because he said that next year he would not remind us. He explained that through this painful and challenging year--just six months ago, he had come so amazingly close to death. How incredible, that even though his car rolled over 3 times in the middle of one of Chicago's busiest expressways-just past O'Hare International Airport-the car neither hit anything nor was hit by anything-either of which event would most likely have ended his life. He shared that since that time he had been resurrected, healed and brought back to life. Then he whispered to all within earshot-"Do you know how old I am? Actually, I am now celebrating my 1st birthday."

Then the congregation rose once again, a beautiful 3-tiered birthday cake appeared and all sang "Happy Birthday" in unison. Flowers were also delivered to Dr. and Sister White (their son also attended) and finally a second cake appeared and the congregation sang once again as we also celebrated the birthday of Chicago's elder brother, the Rev. Reiner Vincenz the following day.

Now Bishop Kim will prepare to deliver the benediction prayer before 1500 guests as he joins the son of Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. at Chicago's annual M.L. King prayer breakfast on Friday, January 13th. Then four days later Chicago will inaugurate its 8th consecutive year by holding its first prayer breakfast of the annum at the church home of Pastor T.L. Barrett, Jr. Then its all speeds forward toward Hoon Dok Church, One Family-Three Churches and the fulfillment of Father's dreams for the year 2006.

Happy Birthday America
Great Victories in 2006

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