Unification News for April and May 2000

True Mother Comes to Atlanta

By Rev. Thomas W. Cutts

"When you invited me to this program, I had no idea it was going to be such an incredible event," remarked one student from Morehouse College. True Mother addressed an audience of 1,600 people on Monday, April 17th at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia Hotel in Atlanta. "The ballroom, and the stage were magnificent, the program was captivating, and Dr. Moonís speech was so moving. I am glad I came," concluded the student.

A prominent political leader introduced Mother as "the True Mother", and later asked to have a picture taken with Mother. Dr. Al Stewart, Founder and General Overseer of the Institute of the Christian World remarked, "Finally, people are beginning to accept the Unification Movement and appreciate what it stands for. Mrs. Moon gave a message for all people. If we all lived by those principles, this would be a much better world."

"It was good to see individuals of diverse racial, cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds come together in such a beautiful spirit of love and unity." Dr. Clayton E. Taylor, of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church of East Point, Georgia was also impressed by True Motherís speech, "I was also encouraged and enlightened by the tremendous and challenging message given by Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon. The Birthday Celebration for Rev. Moon was marvelous."

The audience read along in their booklets, as True Mother delivered the keynote address, "The Path of America and Humanity in the Last Days". Through the speech, listeners could understand the sorrowful path of restoration that God has trod throughout human history. Several times during her speech, True Mother had to stop to wipe her tears, and paused to compose herself before going on. The audience was in silent awe.

Rev. Charles A. Carpenter, the Director of Pastoral Care, of the Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverdale, Georgia said, "I continue to be amazed and most appreciative of all that Reverend Moon and Dr. Moon have done for America. Their absolute commitment to saving our rapidly deteriorating society through true family values is just remarkable. Their message is so desperately needed."

We only had a month to prepare for the event, and the Regional Director, Rev. Man Ho Kim, began by asking members to offer their devotion, their dedication, and their donations. He established a daily prayer condition at the Atlanta Holy Ground, and directed each family to bring 20 guests, and to donate $800. He frequently spoke of the significance of Motherís tour of Korea, Japan and America. The tour was taking place right between True Fatherís 80th birthday, and True Parentsí 40th Blessing Anniversary. The events in each city must be successful.

Rev. Kim said that our event would be a success if we were victorious in three areas; 1) our care and attendance of True Mother; 2) having over 1,200 guests; and 3) having many VIPs attend the program.

Rev. Kim established a leadership team responsible for various functions. They were: Mrs. Mie Kim and Mrs. Claire Cotter Ė Motherís hospitality; Mr. David Tranberg Ė Motherís security; Mr. Toshiyuki Miura Ė Motherís transportation; Rev. Jean Kasongo and Mr. Haruki Kimura Ė invitational committee; Rev. Tom Cutts Ė VIPs; Mrs. Marilyn Ijimawayo Ė registration; Mr. Yasuhiro and Mrs. Yoshiko Toyomura Ė ushers; Mrs. Christine Proffitt Ė flowers for ballrooms and suites; Mrs. Asako Matsunaga and Mrs. Hiroko Miura Ė child care for staff.

Motherís hospitality staff was trained for several years by Mrs. Pak, the wife of Rev. Do Hee Pak. They knew how to attend True Mother, and make her comfortable and help her feel at home in Atlanta. Claire Cotter and the team of sisters from Bayou la Batre, Alabama, came to Atlanta three days before the event.

The team included Charlotte Blount, Sabine Darsey, Mrs. Choi Dierburger, Caren Saman, Shelley Watanabe, Keiko Wilhelmer, and Terry Yamane. They spent endless days, and sleepless nights preparing food, cleaning Motherís suite, changing wall pictures, setting tables, and filling dressers with nice things for Mother. As an indication of the sisterís heart of attendance, Mother remarked a number of times during her meals how delicious the food was.

Rev. Jean Kasongo, the Regional Vice-Director, and Mr. Haruki Kimura were in charge of mobilizing guests for the event. Witnessing teams went out every day, and passed out thousands of flyers. Hundreds of invitations were mailed. Three newspapers ran ads for the program. One witnessing team met with the leadership of University student bodies in Metro-Atlanta. Another team visited churches and invited ministers and their congregations.

The members from other states also brought guests. The State Leader of Alabama, Joshua Cotter, organized two busloads from Mobile. Mrs. Priscilla Agari organized a busload from Tennessee. Mrs. Kyoko Bauman and State Leader Keith McCarthy brought a busload of guests from South Carolina. The State Leader of Mississippi, Hubert Mahoungou, brought a busload from Mississippi.

On the day of the event, the reception with hors díoeuvres was scheduled to begin at 6:30pm. Amazingly, guests started gathering at 6:00pm, and by the time the food was served there were already several hundred people waiting for the event to begin. Just after the program started at 7:00pm, we had to start adding chairs, and by the time Mother came on stage, there was standing room only. It was electrifying to see Mother, as she approached the podium, receive a standing ovation from such a huge crowd.

There were over 120 VIPs at the event. These included prominent elected officials, ministers from various denominations, business leaders, professors and educators, and community activists. Elder Boyd Hoglund, a Mission President of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, read a statement on the Family from the President of the Mormon Church, and then delivered the invocation. A prominent political leader, who is a Southern Baptist, introduced an initiative to have Bible study in the public schools. Minister Debra Muhammad, of the Nation of Islam, announced the Million Family March later this year.

Another prominent elected official, who is Catholic, warmly welcomed Mother to Atlanta. This leader expressed a desire to participate in the Blessing with her husband and referred to Mother as "the True Mother." During the Victory Celebration this public official asked to have her picture taken with Mother.

There were proclamations, letters, and plaques celebrating the day, from the Governors of Georgia, and Tennessee, from the Mayor of Atlanta, and many other municipalities and jurisdictions.

The program was extraordinary. The Rev. Michael Jenkins was the Master of Ceremonies, and demonstrated his gift for "saying just the right thing, at just the right time." He wonderfully helped the mostly Christian audience see the value of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, and gain an appreciation for True Parents.

Dr. Tyler Hendricks was eloquent in his introduction of True Mother, and the that True Parents are doing in America and the world. The Rev. T. L. Barrett, Jr., the Superintendent of the Church of God in Christ, was exceptional. He really opened the hearts of the audience and helped them to relate with True Mother.

Mothersí speech was so extraordinary. The audience could understand the suffering course of Heavenly Father. The speech also lifted up America. Every American, whether white, African American, Hispanic or Asian, could feel they have a part in the destiny of God. The speech really helped heal much of the division between the races and ethnic groups.

Mother presented grants to three groups. Then Mother received plaques and awards. Two elected officials, a high school student group, a college student group, an alliance from Alabama who participated in Blessing 2000 in Korea, and the Institute for the Christian World paid special recognition to Mother.

There was a cake cutting to celebrate True Fatherís 80th birthday, and "Happy Birthday, True Parents" was song by the entire audience. Then for the Pure Love Ring Lottery, Mother drew the number seven. The one hundred and sixty winners, whose tickets ended in #7, were later measured for rings.

About 300 people then went to a smaller ballroom to join in the Victory Celebration. There we shared songs back and forth with True Father and the members in New York.

The next morning at 6:00am about 60 people joined True Mother for Hoon Dok Hwae. Mother asked Rev. Elay Kasongo to read from the very manuscript from which Mother reads during the tour. Rev. Kasongo was so moved by her reading True Parentís words that tears flowed down her checks.

Mother then had breakfast with some of the regional leadership. Mother was very happy and signed speech booklets, and asked the Japanese missionaries from Antiqua to sing a song. Then she asked Joshua and Claire Cotter to sing a song. It was a beautiful family spirit. We like to think that True Mother lingered at the breakfast table because she was pleased with her visit to Atlanta, and with the Atlanta program.

Since this is the year we celebrate Fatherís 80th birthday celebration, I want to add a footnote about Rev. T. L. Barrett. During his introduction of True Mother he mentioned that Rev. Moon gave him the watch he was wearing. Later, upon returning to the airport, he related how he received that watch from Father. He began by saying, "If I hadnít followed the direction of the Spirit I wouldnít have this watch."

While in Korea for the February 10th Birthday celebration, Rev. Barrett was informed that he was to report to Fatherís suite. When he got there, leaders from around the world were presenting gifts to True Father. But, Rev. Barret had not prepared anything to give. Then the Spirit said, "Give him your watch." Rev. Barrett looked down at his watch and wondered "How can I give this great man this cheap watch." The Spirit repeated, "Give him your watch."

So, Rev. Barrett took off his watch and presented it to True Father. Father became very animated and talking in a big voice. Rev. Barrett was afraid he had insulted Father with his inexpensive gift. Father then took his own watch off his wrist and presented it to Rev. Barrett. Rev. Barrett could see that Father was deeply moved by Rev. Barrettís present.

He was later told by Mother that Father had never taken his watch off his wrist and presented it to another person, except once. And that was during the Seung Hwa Ceremony of True Parentsí son, Young Jin Nim. Father took the watch off his wrist, and placed it in the casket. Father told Young Jin Nim, that "By this token please know that I will be with you always."

When Father received the watch from Rev. Barrett, it was like a message from Young Jin Nim. "Father I received your watch." What an extraordinary birthday gift for Father.

As we celebrate our True Fatherís 80th year, my prayer is that I can also present an extraordinary gift to Father, one that will also move the hearts of our True Parents.

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