The Words of the Tamale Family

Purnell Spicer's Seung Hwa

Paul Tamale
July 2002

I attended Purnell Spicer's Seung Hwa. It was a very moving experience. Though I never knew him, it was clear from the powerful testimonies (Tom Flores, Michael Jenkins) that Purnell had it together. His father's testimony was really something. And finally Rev Yang's prayer at the end in Korean - I had absolutely no idea what he was saying but I can assure you it was a powerful intercession for Purnell. That was not Rev Yang praying; it was Father praying. We were in tears.

This brother moved True Parents' heart. As Michael Jenkins said, Father is not one to give idle recognitions to people. After all, his standards are very high. For Father to declare Purnell a saint and give him a national level Seung Hwa shows that Purnell moved Father's heart. God Bless him.

I was especially moved that Purnell was a warrior on race reconciliation issues. Michael Jenkins gave a powerful testimony about how he and Purnell struggled constantly and yet they worked together and loved each other dearly. According to Michael, Purnell was capable of exposing the racist tendencies of even the meekest white individual. You had to get real with Purnell. You could not interact with him if you were not standing on solid ground; he would not have it. He challenged everyone's racism. Michael said that there is still a lot of racism, even in the movement, and members have to deal with it. He praised Purnell for "being real." Michael said that everytime he would get together with Purnell, their ancestors would all show up. He would sent that lot to Chung Pyung. The next time they would meet, another lot would show up. That was the intensity of Purnell.

During every campaign, Michael and Purnell would struggle so much that Michael had to always seek the help of Purnell's wife to reconcile them. Members would worry that there would be no victory. Yet every time they would have amazing victory. Michael said that on a couple of occasions, he pushed himself so much that he ended up in hospital after a campaign. The first person to visit him was Purnell. The only person to visit him three times was Purnell. Purnell on the other hand always ended up in hospital after a campaign. He started joking to Michael at the beginning of each campaign "tell them to get the beds ready. We are going to work."

Michael was especially moved that Purnell always watched his back. Often Michael would be "led into a trap" with black folk. Purnell would always get him out. As Michael put it, "Purnell wanted to kill me but he would never let anybody touch me. He watched my back." Michael really loved Purnell. It was very moving to hear that testimony.

Michael credited Purnell with the UC's breakthrough with Christian ministers in Chicago. Michael said that the UC had chased after TL Barrett for years and could not reach him. When Purnell got to Chicago, he bagged TL Barrett. Purnell was the first UC member to preach in TL Barrett's church. Barrett's church was the first to fly the family flag, the first to have mother speak, on and on. Purnell. The man.

Purnell was determined to restore the dignity of his people (I am quoting a testimony). When he joined, he said he would not be outdone by any man. Apparently he broke all kinds of witnessing and fundraising records. Amazing.

Purnell is a great loss to the physical world, especially for the few people that are very conscious about the racial divide and the desperate need for real healing and restoration. However, as everybody testified, Purnell was called to the spirit world. Heung Jin Nim needs him to reach the Christian spirit world. As Michael Jenkins concluded, "when the history of christianity is written, Purnell will be recognized for his providential role of helping christians connect to the True Parents. Purnell is a patriot. He gave his life for America. Purnell, I love you. Come give the eulogy at my Seung Hwa."

Amen, amen, amen.


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