Unification News for April 2002
ACLC Blessing Preparation in Atlanta
by Tom Cutts
Thirty ministers and elected officials from Atlanta attended the Chicago and Washington, D.C. National ACLC Convocations. They were deeply moved by their experiences. I thought to myself, "Wow, can we bring this spirit back to Atlanta?" But we did!
On Thursday, March 21, one hundred fifty guests attended the American Clergy Leadership Conference. There were 120 ministers, about half of them attending an ACLC program for the first time. At the end of the program there was an invitation to receive the Marriage Blessing. Twenty-five minister couples received the Blessing, including a State Representative, and a candidate for the U.S. Congress.
The program began at 7:00 p.m. with dinner in the Fellowship Hall of the Atlanta Family Church. At 7:45 p.m. the program moved into the Sanctuary. The Japanese missionaries sang a very beautiful Christian hymn that really opened the hearts of the guests. The new videotape, "Stand for Marriage and Save the Nation", was shown. The movie introduced the Blessing very nicely, and people were wondering how they could participate.
Then Elder James Tukes and his wife, Sister Santeria Tukes, gave a testimony about receiving the Blessing on Sunday four days before our program. Their pastor, Apostle John Davis, Sr., attended the Washington D.C. Holy Convocation, and the very next day, Sunday, March 17, he offered the Blessing to the couples in his congregation in Atlanta. The following Tuesday he received an excited telephone call from Elder Tukes. He said, "Pastor, pastor, you are not going to believe this. After drinking the Holy Wine, and participating in the Marriage Blessing, my whole life has changed. I have fallen in love with my wife again. I have to get up at 1 am every morning to go to work, and she never gets up with me. But yesterday morning, she got up, and we prayed together and she blessed my work and me. I see her in a whole new way, now. Our love has changed, too, it's a different kind of love. God is doing it, His anointing is in the Blessing and the Holy Wine."
After the Elder Tukes' testimony, it was announced that the Blessing would be offered at the end of the program. The whole audience was eager to take the Holy Wine.
Then Pastor Jesse Edwards spoke. His speech was dynamic and hit all the right points. He shared how in the past year his church has grown because he has emphasized the Marriage Blessing with his couples. Every week at least 10 new members are added to his church. Sometimes, as many as 25 new guests attend on a Sunday.
The ACLC meeting the following Thursday was very exciting. First, the response of the ministers to the Marriage Blessing was very encouraging. They really wanted to receive the Holy Wine, and to bring it to their congregations. Several are giving the Blessing to their members next Sunday. Secondly, many ministers are now bringing other ministers to our ACLC meetings. The Blessing is sweeping the South, and the ACLC is growing dramatically.
On March 28 we had another incredible meeting, this time during our Monthly ACLC Executive Committee meeting. Our ACLC Executive Committee has met monthly since January, and our March meeting happened to fall on Maundy Thursday, the day we commemorate the Last Supper of Christ with his disciples.
Our meeting included Lady Hyun Shil Kang, Rev. Zin Moon Kim, Rev. Man Ho Kim, and twenty-one ACLC ministers. Our local committee represents a diversity of faiths including Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ, United Church of God in Christ, Mormon and Muslim, as well as white, black and Asian.
After our program, Mrs. Kang exclaimed, "This is good, this is good," and Rev. Zin Moon Kim smiled, "Good job." As Bishop Murjan Rasheed drove away from the meeting he burst into tears. "I couldn't help crying. I was so deeply touched by the spirit of unity, love, and giving that I felt during our meeting."
We began with an Invocation from Presiding Apostle Willie Malcom, a member of the National ACLC Executive Committee. Then we received a welcome from Rev. Man Ho Kim, the Chairman of the Georgia ACLC. He emphasized that world peace can only begin when mind and body are united. Conflict in the family is actually an expansion of the struggle within the individual. In the same way, all global conflict is an expansion of the war within the individual and family. Rev. Kim concluded, "It is a miracle that we are here today representing such a diversity of races, and religions. Throughout history, religion has been source of most strife. We need understanding and dialogue between religions."
Ministers then shared about their experiences the Washington, D.C. and Chicago Convocations. Rev. Kayce Ofodile shared that after the very first words were spoken in Chicago, he heard the Spirit of God say, "You see, you cannot do it in isolation. Even if you had everything you need to do the job - even if you had all that God has - you could not accomplish the task alone. You need to reach out to other people. Only by working together can you fulfill the task." Even though he had gone to the Convocation with some doubts, after attending, he concluded that, "Now is the time of action. I am giving ACLC my service. Whatever needs to be done, I am available."
Rev. Ofodile also testified to the work of the Japanese missionaries. Several of the ministers around the table smiled at me with knowing eyes as Rev. Ofodile described the persistence, constancy, and genuine love of these Japanese missionaries. The ministers felt they cannot escape the True Love of the Mother Nation.
Minister Steven Muhammad is the Southeast Regional Director of the Million Family March and attended the D.C. Convocation. He was moved by the speech of Dr. Chang Shik Yang, the National Chairman of the ACLC. Minister Muhammad especially appreciated the reminder that the wife owns her husband's sexual organs, and vice versa. During the Convocation he saw more deeply into the value of the family, and how through family love, one can more fully experience the love of God. "From the Convocation, I understood more about the family than I had ever been taught before."
Another minister gave a testimony about her experience during the Jesse Edward's meeting in Atlanta. She confessed that before meeting the ACLC she had asked God whether or not she should stay married to her husband or divorce him. She demanded an answer from God, and quickly found it when she heard Bishop Stallings at an earlier Atlanta ACLC meeting. She brought her husband to the meeting with Pastor Edwards, and they participated in the Blessing. She was deeply moved when her husband, upon Pastor Edwards instruction, pointed a finger at her and said, "You are mine, you belong to me. Divorce is not an option." Their Blessing rekindled love in their marriage. The Marriage Blessing not only saved her marriage, it helped lift it to a new level.
Rev. De Borah James testified that after attending her first ACLC meeting, she wept. The ACLC answered so many questions for her. "Technology is advancing rapidly. The latest computer is obsolete the very next year. Yet the church has stayed the same. Developments in the physical world shouldn't exceed developments in religion. I asked God, 'Why are we not moving forward, too?' Since meeting the ACLC I have seen where God is moving us, and he is now answering my every question. We should not be making Jesus into a religion, we need to follow Jesus' example. He is not coming back with a church, but for a church. Jesus prayed, 'Thy Kingdom come on Earth', and the ACLC has catapulted us into a whole new dimension of God's Kingdom Dominion. After meeting the ACLC I even walk differently. Instead of looking for Christ outside myself, I want to reflect the Christ that is in me."
After the ministers shared their experiences from the about Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta ACLC events, Apostle John Davis, Sr. gave a twenty-minute address. He is the Co-Chairman of the Georgia ACLC Executive Committee, and truly a man of action. Apostle Davis challenged the assembled ministers to get themselves right, "No more spare keys", and to devote themselves to making ACLC a success. He concluded by saying, "We need to let people know that Rev. and Mrs. Moon are not monsters. They are of God, and God has anointed their ministry in a powerful way. The ACLC and the Blessing are not just some idea that they sat around and came up with. The ACLC is God ordained, and God is anointing this Blessed Marriage Movement."
Since the national Convocation, Apostle Davis, and four of other ministers had conducted blessings for members in their congregations.
I then, gave a twenty minute address on "Greater Love Hath No Man (John 15:13)" -- a testimony of the mission of Rev. Moon, and his suffering course of living for the sake of others. I wanted the ministers to understand more clearly what kind of person Rev. Moon is, so that they could defend attacks that might come to them for associating with the ACLC.
Lunch began promptly at 12:30 p.m. While eating we discussed what we needed to do to make the April 27 Blessing a success in Atlanta. As we tried to decide where to hold the ceremony, Minister Steven Muhammad, of the Nation of Islam, suggested asking a black United Methodist pastor if we could use his larger church. Sitting next to Minister Muhammad was Pastor Terry DeLand, a white, United Methodist minister. He knew the other UMC pastor, and said he would work with Minister Muhammad to make the church available. They joked about how their "salt and pepper team" would get the job done.
We also decided to hold a Seven-Day Prayer Vigil for Marriage from April 20 through April 27. The ministers challenged all the 52 cities where Rev. Moon spoke in 2001, to join our prayer vigil.
Apostle Willie Malcom said that if the homosexuals can hold Gay Pride Marches that number in the tens of thousands, we should be able to have an even greater Festival for Marriage. "Let's fulfill the Marriage Blessing of 144,000 Clergy Couples and then let's start changing American culture."
These ministers are not only serious about April 27, they are thinking about how to bring a marriage culture to America, how to bring an end to divorce, and how we can have no more children born out of wedlock.
As we concluded our meeting, Rev. Man Ho gave each minister a beautiful pair of Korean teacups. "When you and your spouse use these cups, please think about True Love." A Benediction was offered by Bishop Murjan Rasheed and we concluded right on time.
As I was driving home from our luncheon, I burst into tears. I felt Jesus was saying to me that Heaven was moved by the unity of the ministers. Centering upon the Blessing we had broken down denominational barriers, racial barriers, and even Muslim and Christian barriers. And the ministers were not just waiting for the Family Federation to lead. They are taking responsibility as the spiritual leaders of the Elder Son Nation. I felt Jesus whispered to me on this anniversary of His Last Supper, "If my disciples were as united with me, as these ministers are united with True Parents, I would not have gone to the cross." Warm tears of gratitude poured down my cheeks on Maundy Thursday, March 28, 2002.
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