Unification News for October, 2001
A Time of Tragedy: Coming Together
When the disaster occurred it was total chaos in NY. The first night Bishop Johnson went down to Ground Zero where the towers once stood. I went on the second night and many of our clergy, Rev. Edwards, Bishop Stallings, Rev. Holliday and many of our leaders have gone on subsequent nights. We went again tonight. Many nights we have stayed out all night to connect with this sacrifice. All streets were blocked off above 14th street. Bishop Johnson and I walked 30 blocks into the area on the second night. As clergy we were given direct access.
At Ground Zero, I was overwhelmed by the spirit of sacrifice. Those 5000 plus men and women represented most of the countries of the world. Every race and every religion. There is a spirit of holiness around their sacrifice. The whole city as well as Washington, DC and the nation were transformed through this enormous condition.
It was astonishing the level of heart and sacrifice that the police and firemen were giving forth. On the second night many officers had been awake for 30 hours straight. Many wanted us to pray for them. When they saw Bishop Johnson's clerical collar they wanted to talk to us about God. Firemen, doctors, rescue volunteers and especially police wanted to talk about God. Repeatedly officers would say, "God is our only hope. We need prayer. America needs prayer. Pastor please pray for us. Please don't forget those who died." Then we would pray for them. Many of the rescue workers lost partners or colleagues in the WTC.
One policeman just wanted to talk. He said, "My partner died in there. I wish I could have died and he could have lived. I wish I could trade places with him because I'm not married but he had a wife and three kids."
We connected to the command center on the way down. They were happy to see clergy going to support. One officer asked me to distribute the PBJ's his children made. The bags we were carrying were full of PBJ's. We gave them out. There was such excellent volunteer support that there was no food shortage. However, something about the PBJ's gave the officers a great deal of joy. One said it brought her back to when she was a child. (Fond memories far distant from this stark and surreal environment.)
The firemen, national guard and police all were working together. Mostly they had to sift through the wreckage with their hands and small shovels so as not to risk hurting any survivors. Five gallon buckets were being passed by the hundreds in long chains of volunteers. Empty buckets going in. Full buckets of crushed marble, glass concrete etc. were coming out.
Suddenly there was a huge gathering around one area of the huge wreckage. Everyone thought they had found someone. We waited for quite sometime. Many officers wanted to talk about God. Also, many talked about how only God can save America. To my surprise, their atmosphere did not have any anger or hatred. Just everyone talking about God. God must guide us.
Suddenly, one by one firemen began to emerge from a deep hole that had been dug. As each one was pulled out of this small opening you could see a look of great relief as each emerged from the five story underground. They had been scouring in the sublevels for survivors. Their bravery was unbelievable. Just the day before 12 firemen had the same kind of tunnel cave in on them. Many were saved, some were not.
As we have been visiting churches the effect on NY area churches is devastating. Every church I've been in since the disaster has people who either had relatives or friends that were lost. At Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker's church 20 were directly hit by this. One choir member, Mrs. Holmes was lost and her son Trevor is without any parent. Dr. Preston Washington has 30 members who worked in the WTC. They all escaped but now have no paycheck or job. In Rev. Davis' church a candlelight ceremony was held at the end of service. 12 candles were lit for the 12 people who were lost that were either members or directly related to the members.
Our own Dr. Kathy Winings through her IRFF work was immediately plugged into the special volunteer task force. She has been serving with a great deal of sacrifice every day. This is the spirit of the city of New York. David Caprara and our AFC team are putting together with ACLC support and Church support group to aid victims with counseling and other services. We call it One Church One Family.
A new beginning has come for America. Out of these ashes and the sacrifice and the service that has been inspired will rise a new covenant that will advance this Elder Son Nation into a position of service and sacrifice for the world. Those whose lives were taken on this altar shall not have died in vain.
Dear American Family members. Please come together at this time with our True Parents. Father gave very deep guidance today about the meaning of this period in history. God's providence in America is on track. It did not fail. However, Father said that as the Elder Son Nation America must embrace all the other nations as younger brothers. He said that America can completely turn around from this situation. Unification church members must become the embodiment of God's love and really give True love to all humanity. From that foundation we must move the hearts of the clergy and all leaders to have such an attitude so as to embrace all religions and races. Father cautioned todayŚwar will not bring peace. We must have patience and make a strong effort to bring unity among all religions.
Michael Jenkins can be reached at MWJenk@familyfed.org
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