The Words of the Taylor Family
Gold-Medal Winning USA Team in the 2007 Inter-religious Peace Sports Festival
September 24, 2007
Recently in Washington, DC, the honorable Rev. Dr. Chang Shik Yang (Continental Director of FFWPU-USA and Chairman, UPF-North America) was presented an authentic basketball jersey from the 2007 Inter-religious Peace Sports Festival (IPSF) Gold Medal winning menís basketball team. The members of the USA team wanted to personally thank him for his unwavering support and dedication. This team consisted of twelve young men and two coaches from across America. In addition, these fine Americans represented three faith disciplines, Christianity, Islam, and Unificationism and thus called themselves. MROIS (Multi-Religious One-In-Spirit),
MROIS played in a very grueling tournament and faced many tough international teams. In the end, their efforts were rewarded with a final score of 76-59 over an excellent college team from Taiwan for the Gold. Rev. Antonio Lowery (Guilford Baptist Church in Washington, DC) led the team as coach and spiritual advisor. Sgt. Dalacy Davis (East Orange Police Athletic League) served as assistant coach and consultant.
Rev. Lowery gave the honors by awarding the game jerseys to Dr. Yang in America and Rev. Michael Jenkins in Korea. These jerseys were given to these men of God not only as gifts but moreover as celebratory statements or crowns. Rev. Lowery expressed the heartfelt gratitude and love many athletes, pastors, and family members from across the nation have towards each of them for their continuous spiritual guidance, care, and financial support for our American sports delegations to IPSF events since 2003.
Also during the presentation in attendance were Bishop Ki Hoon Kim, Rev. James Flynn, Rev. Levy Daugherty, and Rev. Philip Schanker, who similarly offered congratulations and well wishes. Each sports festival Dr. Yang and Rev. Jenkins attend as many cultural and sporting competitions that their schedule will allow. For example, at the recent games, Rev and Mrs. Reiko Jenkins were present for soccer, track, and basketball activities. They shared the stage with Rev. John Gehring (International IPSF Director) as the USA men were presented their gold medals.
Over the past four years, Rev. Gregory Leonidas Carter (IPSF USA Director) and I have been directly engaged in the American sports recruitment program. Back in 2003, we started with a team put together by the late Rev. Gregory Thomas (Second St. James Baptist Church, Washington, DC) and Deacon Edwin Crawford (Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, Washington, DC). Since 2003, each year of attendance, the USA menís basketball team or teams have consistently returned home from the festival with medals.
We recruit athletes and coaches from across the nation. They come from urban, rural, college, and professional arenas. This is our second gold and our fifth overall medal in the menís basketball competition. Our outreach efforts cause us to target communities with outstanding faith leaders such as Reverends. Thomas and Lowery. They are uniquely anointed, qualified, and prepared by God. The simple fact is they care about youth.
Finding such youth to participate in American Clergy Leadership Conferences (ACLC) and IPSF events is not easy and yet very rewarding for all involved. Many diverse neighborhoods from across the nation are approached. Some of the faith communities that we have approached are Native-American, Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, Bahai, to name a few. Our recent menís basketball teams consisted of players and coaches from Southeast DC, Over-the-Rhine area of Cincinnati, Los Angeles, rural New York state, and Eastern New Jersey. These areas have produced abundant blessings and experiences that young people will never forget. The IPSF USA sports model can further enhance greater common bases with ACLC ministers, other social project and ministries, Ambassadors for Peace networks, community leaders, and so forth. We seek to work with all interested persons in America to restore the inner cities, rebuild lives, and heal families across the nation.
We are grateful and give thanks for our IPSF USA partners in a few major cities. They are
1) Rev. Gerhard Wiesinger - Seattle,Washington
2) Mr. Gregorio Pette - Miami, Florida
3) Rev. Gary Childester - Miami, Florida
4) Rev. Carl Rawls - Selma, Alabama
5) Rev. Randall Francis - Washington, DC
6) Mr. David Harvey - Seoul and Pusan, Korea
7) Ms. Denise Barnett - Cincinnati, Ohio
8) Mr. John and Mrs. Marie Raucci - Red Hook, New York
These people of God and their local congregations recruit, fund, and prepare the athletes that are sent to represent the USA. They are changing lives. Each has mentioned the value of this sports program founded by Rev. Sun Myung Moon and how grateful they are for his concern and inspiration regarding Americas youth.
At a recent banquet honoring the medal winners and participants, athletes tearfully testified to their life-changing experiences in Korea, their involvement in IPSF USA, friendships made, and the overall impact the trip had on their families.
A week later, Ricky Marzett (point guard of MROIS) summed it up for the Gazette newspaper this way: "I feel this has had a big impact on my life. I donít stress anymore. It has really touched my heart. I donít think Id be alive had it not been for this."
Cameron Shields (center for MROIS) further stated, "The experience itself was unbelievable. It made me change my view of life but also of basketball. It made me see that basketball doesnít have to be my life, but a tool to be an ambassador of sports and other walks of life.
It is our aim and goal to reach similar youth such as Ricky and Cameron. In order to, spark the God in them and assist them in becoming successful people. We are seeking partners in our national endeavor. IPSF USA is a great tool to heal the sick at heart, the lost in spirit, and the afflicted in body.
This fall, District 1 will host an Invitational basketball tournament, which will seek to expand the program and work with more houses of worship. ACLC seeks to empower pastors in the local community and aid youth development. Bishop Kim has expressed the power and need for such neighborhood strengthening programs as sports and music ministries. Therefore, he has invited us to present our efforts at the regional ACLC conference to be held in Ocean City, Maryland this October 10-12, 2007.
Let us know how we can help you. Peace and Blessings.
For further information, please contact:
Rev. Joseph Taylor, Washington Family Church
District 1 Community Sports Program Director,
1610 Columbia Rd. NW, Washington DC. 20009