Unification News for April and May 2000
True Mother in Chicago
by B. Russel Schwartzkoph—Chicago
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. talked about a day when all races, all children of the living God, could gather together--when people would be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin, the size of their church, the methodology of their baptismal ceremony or other external standards of faith.
I truly believe that Dr. King would have been pleased to see the gathering sponsored by the Family Federation of Illinois which took place at the Civic Opera House on Tuesday evening, April 11, 2000. What was amazing was that over 80 churches, arriving in over 60 busses from every corner of Chicago and the suburbs, were gathering together to celebrate the presence of our lord and savior Jesus Christ in what many fervently believe are now the last days of the world fallen world of evil. In fact, the theme of the keynote speech was entitled "The Path for America and Humankind in the Last Days." The speech was delivered by Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, the wife and International co-founder of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification along with her husband (of 40 years) the Reverend Sun Myung Moon.
Thus, over 5,000 ministers, clergymen, and congregants from over 80 of Chicago’s greatest and most spirit filled churches packed into Chicago’s 80 year old beautiful and distinguished Civic Opera House for a night filled with music, spirit and most importantly the word of God. The event was being hosted by the midwestern regional Bishop of the Chicago Family Church, the Rev. Ki Hoon Kim.
We were immediately greeted by the holy music of Chicago’s own "Big Man", the Rev. Walter Butts, Pastor of the Mt. Carmel Children of God MB Church. We were then treated to a moving invocation from Father Lawrence Fares of Detroit’s St. Ronald’s Catholic Church. Father Fares had flown in from Detroit just for the event. A native of Lebanon, he had built the first Catholic Church in Kuwait.
Now the congregation was physically and spiritually warmed up and ready to go. And we were greeted by the melodic gospel sound of Miss Vanessa Bell Armstrong. Ms. Armstrong who had come down from Detroit just minutes before her performance was followed by the incredible sounds of Mr. Lonnie Hunter III and the golden Voices of St, Mark. This choir brought the audience to its feet and the night was just beginning. Chicago'’ own 16th Ward Alderwoman, and Pastor of the Spiritual Holistic Church of Love and Faith, the Rev. Dr. Shirley Coleman was kept in awe as she waited in the wings watching Brother Lonnie Hunter lead the choir. Upon their conclusion, she greeted the audience and read a proclamation from the City Council of Chicago, which she had introduced proclaiming this night as Family Federation for World Peace and Unification night in Chicago.
Following Alderman Coleman, the Rev. Michael Jenkins, who was serving as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies, introduced another dozen proclamations and letters of greeting. As a12 handsome youngsters paraded across the stage holding up beautifully framed plaques, Rev. Jenkins read from letters that had come from The Speaker of the House, the Governor, the State of Illinois, the Mayor of Chicago, and several distinguished church organizations, including the Coalition of Religious Leaders in Illinois, the South Shore Ministerial alliance, the Baptist Ministers Conference of Chicago and the Church of God in Christ, Chicago, Illinois.
Next the audience was treated to a 15-minute video outlining the life and works of Dr. Moon. This video was extra special to many of the clergymen and women in the audience who had most recently returned from a trip to Dr. Moon’s native Korea. Here they had participated in an incredible revival and healing service in the mountains of Korea just south of the DMZ. They then returned to Seoul where they participated in a rededication of marriage ceremony in Seoul’s 120,000 seat Olympic Stadium where the stadium was filled to overflowing.
Here. I believe it is important to reiterate that this was an ecumenical event, sponsored by the Family Federation, but supported by over 80 churches—most of whose ministers were on the event’s invitational committee. The invitational committee itself, transcended, race, religion, denomination, ethnic origin and creed. Dr. Hycel B. Taylor, the senior Pastor of Evanston’s historic Second Baptist Church was called upon to give the Ministerial Welcome. Dr. Taylor breathed a theological fire into the audience/congregation. He had done a similar feat 3 years earlier when he had been called on along with Lutheran Pastor, Dr. Paul Swanson to represent Protestant Christianity at the marriage re-dedication ceremony representing 360,000,000 couples worldwide in New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Then after a beautiful operatic musical offering and words of greeting from the Family Federation president Dr. Tyler Hendricks, our beloved Pastor, T.L. Barrett of Life Center Church of God in Christ gave an introduction to end all introductions as he introduced the evening’s keynote speaker, Dr. Hak Ja Han. Pastor Barrett had hosted Dr. Moon in his own
Life Center Church 3 years earlier, and the depth of their personal relationship was apparent to all present. Pastor Barrett himself, had just returned from the Korean trip to which I referred to earlier (please refer to the April Issue of the Spiritual Perspective) and he was white hot with the spirit of the Lord.
Dr. Moon then graciously strode to the podium where she proceeded to address a spell bound congregation with the word of God for the next 45 minutes. Dr. Moon is a native Korean speaker and she chose to read from a prepared text in English entitled, The Path for America and Humanity in the Last Days." However, halfway through the speech, in response to the amens and hallelujahs from the congregation, she was praising the Lord like an evangelical spirit filled preacher. By the conclusion of the sermon, not one of the over 5,000 in the congregation had left the auditorium and everyone in the audience was feeling the joy that comes from the True Love of the Lord.
After the sermon, Dr. Moon remained on the stage and received a beautiful plaque presented by Pastor Harrison Bolton from New St. Mary’s COGIC and representing COGIC Bishop Ocie Booker from the Coalition of Religious Leaders in Illinois.
After receiving a beautiful bouquet of flowers, Dr. Moon then turned around and presented two awards herself. The first was presented to representatives from the Nation of Islam for the God centered humanitarian work being done by the Muhammad University of Islam. After they had received the award they were joined on stage by Sister Claudette Muhammad and Sister Maria Farrakhan, the daughter of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.
The second award was presented to Pastor Constance Bansa from the Church of the Living God for her work with Chicago’s renowned annual Jericho Walk. This walk is a God - inspired effort to tear down the walls of religious hatred, racism and bigotry that have traditionally plagued our modern society.
For the grand finale, over 100 ministers, clerics, and community leaders joined the award recipients and Dr. Moon on the stage. These included Rev. Helen Cooper, Westside Center of Truth, Bishop Melvin Crawford from the Church of the Living God, Rev. A.I. Dunlap, Mt. Olive AME, Rev. James Bass from Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Major General Ted W. Sorensen, USAF, Ret., Ambassador and Mrs. Joseph Amamoo from Ghana, Bishop C.C. Owens from the Emanuel COGIC, Pastor M.E. Sardon from the Holiness Community Temple, Rev. Olivia Jones from the Supreme Temple of Love and Truth, and Dr. and Mrs. Hycel B. Taylor. Together with the Jericho Walk Choir and the Chicago Family Church Children’s Choir everyone concluded with "Oh Happy Day."
The official program then concluded, but the spirit was still strong and the ministers and congregants alike remained, on stage, then in the lobby and finally lining Wacker Drive for well over an hour after the program’s official conclusion. God’s hand of providence must have been on the programs, as the 62 buses picked up their riders without incident.
Rev. A.I. Dunlap, the Shepherd of Mt. Olive AME Church on the great South Side of Chicago has often said that he feels that Rev. and Dr. Moon share the same spirit and commitment to bringing all races and people of faith together to do the work of the Father-—to build the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. Rev. Moon has called Dr. King the greatest figure of the 20th century. For those who were in attendance at the Civic Opera House on Tuesday evening, April 11, 2000, I believe that all would concur that Dr. King’s dream was becoming more and more real.
Some reflections from Chicago:
"I felt Dr. Moon was quite sincere. The more she spoke, the more sincerity I felt. I was moved to be part of the program. During her speech, I could feel her deep love for America. I am both an alderman in the city council of Chicago and a minister of my own church. I feel how critical it is for religious leaders to work hand in hand with political leaders.
"This event brought the best of both worlds together. Again, I was honored to have been included in this program. It was simply beautiful." Rev. Dr. Shirley Coleman, Minister and member of the Chicago City Council.
"I was so moved by the words of Mrs. Moon. She spoke so deeply and so personally about her relationship with the living God. I was moved as she spoke about the Pure Love Movement. Purity is so important in our impure immoral society. I applaud the work of the young people in the unification Movement who are teaching purity in our own Chicago Public School system. Mother Moon emphasized how God must be put first in our lives. Finally, one point that really hit me was the point about our responsibility to clean up our own society. When Mother Moon spoke about how the burden will fall upon our children if we do not do this." Rev. Frankie Williams, Inspirational Outreach
"I have been attending Unification programs for nearly 20 years. This was the most profound talk that I have ever attended. Dr. Moon's presentation was the best that I have ever heard. Equally, the content of this speech was the deepest of any speech I have ever heard. Dr. Moon's ability to apply Unification Church theology into real life makes her words crystal clear. It was a joy to be part of an audience that was so responsive to the word of God. Also to have the spiritual power of both Dr. Hycel B. Taylor and Pastor T.L. Barrett on the same program To prepare the audience for the words from Dr. Moon was excellent.
"In a nutshell, I enjoyed the program thoroughly." Dr. Paul Swanson, Professor Emeritus, Lutheran School of Theology. (Dr. Swanson gave the prayer representing Protestant Christianity in America at the MSG blessing)
"The program was amazing. I mean you had Lutherans like myself, along side Pentecostals, Evangelicals, Jews, Catholics and Muslims. You had African-Americans, Hispanics, Filipinos, Koreans, Japanese and members of the Nation of Islam all standing side by side and hand in hand. It was my pleasure to be part of such a distinguished programs with such a dignified keynote speaker." Major General Ted W. Sorensen, USAF, retired, Korean War Veteran, President, AFC of Illinois
"You guys sure know how to put on a program. It takes a lot of organizing to pull off such a massive program with over 5,000 guests. What affected me most was Mother Moon talking about unity and True Love. The True Love thing really got me. I believe that this is actually what God really wants. I was so moved because I keep hearing Mother Moon mentioning God and Jesus.
"Also, Mother Moon is so humble. I can’t believe that she has 13 children and 30 grandchildren. I thought that she was 80 years old like Rev. Moon. But she is beautiful, and so dignified. Mother Moon seemed so appreciative. That really made me think. She really wants people to work together, to interact together, centering on True Love. That seems to be her central goal.
"Finally, I thought, who else can bring so many different races, religious denominations, and divergent peoples together. My sister and I were so grateful to have been part of this program. Mrs. Irene Johnson, President Emeritus, LeClair Courts Tenant management Association. Recipient of the Presidential award from President Reagan.
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