Unification News for October 2002
12 City North American Speaking Tour - Miami
by Rev Gary Chidester
As the rain swirled in the streets of Miami on September 23, 2002 and lightning cascaded over the skies, the grand ballroom of the exclusive Bicayne Bay Marriott and Marina filled with dozens, then scores, then four hundred strong, of imposing African-American pastors, tall distinguished gray-headed mainline church ministers, bearded imams, solemn college professors all greeting each other like old school chums. Finely dressed ladies and gentlemen came sociably late, yet they were eager to take seats as to be able to jump up and be part of the program when called upon. The banquet was set with white linen, full of green salads, breads, and floral arrangements under a banner held high proclaiming that "the Origin of Peace is God."
Playing shyly and slowly, then more boldly, the Reverend Floyd Beck of the Good Shepherd House of Hospitality of Hollywood, Florida started the spirit moving with his guitar and mood music. Voicing out words and directions of praise for the Lord, he brings the crowd to a quieter reverence. The atmosphere is set for Reverend Michael Jenkins to take the stage.
Exhorting the audience to expect something new, and to be prepared to be moved, he spoke of the new world of post 9/11. Rev Leo Beato of the St. James Lutheran Church of Coral Gables gave the winsome invocation calling for unity of all of the children of God to build the Heavenly Kingdom on Earth, as it is in Heaven. Then Rev. Jenkins introduced the dynamic spirit-filled Reverend Jesse Edwards from the Pentecostal Family Church of Philadelphia, who would call out for the audience for unity as expressed just after 9/11. But not just in disaster, we should find unity under God. He shared his experience of how God would help us to build stronger, ideal families, and to grant the understanding to see the life and mission of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han Moon as a universal message. In his church there are blacks and whites, no distinguishing due to race. All are one: the human race.
As Dr Hak Ja Han Moon gave the keynote address, she explained God's purpose of creation, of how the fall of God's ideal was committed by the first man and woman, and how God made step by step preparation for the restoration of mankind as His sons and daughters. These are the last days, a time in which the spirit world, those saints and sages who lived before us, now are returning "in spirit and in truth". Shouts of "Amen" arouse from the audience moment after moment.
Rev Georges, from the Haitian-American Community Church, said he shouted out several times. "I was very moved by the spirit," he explained. Pastor Ross of the Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church, said, "I enjoyed everything so immensely. I blew her a kiss when she finished her talk." Reverend Celian, who later explained that he had read and studied the Divine Principle, said that "everything Dr Moon spoke of was so correct, so clear, the speech was so great." His ministry has expanded since his association with the Family Federation at the July 3rd Blessing. Reverend Laffosse of the Haitian Church of God, sitting at the same table as the above ministers, nodded wisely. "It is all so very wonderful," he states simply. Others took their experience more as a learning experience, such as Sister Tomitria, of the Church of God in Christ in Goulds, Florida. She said, "There are many things I agree with and are good. But there are some things I doubt, so I have to pray about because I do not want to reject anything that comes from God. I feel that this evening God is very much here." Pastor Gonzalez of the Iglesia Firma en la Gracia ("Firm in Grace Church") speaking in Spanish, "This has been a nice, elegant evening, very high level program and guest. I am very honored, and happy to be here."
When Dr Moon ended her exposition of God and restoration, she wanted to appoint Ambassadors of Peace, who can go forth and fulfill for God what He has been longing for, a world of peace, the Kingdom on earth. Thirty-four certificates were given out in all, to politicians, ministers, civic leaders, educators: Men and women of distinction.
Mr. Jeff White, a journalist and owner of Radio Miami International, said, "I think this was a very unique and appropriate event - especially in view of current events, and the urgent need to promote peace and unity among all of the diverse ethnic populations of our state and country."
The evening was brought to meditative silence as the testimonies of those who had died and speaking from the spiritual world were read. They spoke of this time as the Last Days, the time of the Messiah and how the True Parents are working on the earth. They begged those who live in these times to take responsibility.
How can people of faith receive such a message? As Pastor Ray Owens of Deerfield Beach said, "I know in my life of faith, I have to pray a lot. I also know that I have to be meek before the Lord. Only then can I walk before my fellow man with the right attitude and do right."
An important part of the program was to have a "Bridge Ceremony of Peace" where Christian and Moslem individuals and couples crossed the stage to bow to each other and embrace, in an act of reconciliation. The reality of the love of God became so obvious in the tears and sharing that followed.
The evening was filled with song and performance, from children dressed as angels to the Christian rappers to the incredible voice of Mrs. ___ enrapturing the audience with her full toned melodies.
One high point was to the regional leader of the Nation of Islam, Minister Rasul Muhammad, and gracefully approach the piano singing a romantic tune then pounding the ivories and belt out "La Bamba". The evening finished with many ministers, black and white and yellow, men and women, Moslem and Christian talking to the stage holding hands, then hands held throughout the audience while prayers were shared in Arabic, English and Spanish.
The lightening of God's Love was attracted to Miami in the person of Dr Hak Ja Han Moon, then shot around the grand ballroom to light up the lives of the leadership of Miami to be felt by the State and the Nation. God Bless our true Parents!
Rev Chidester is the Vice Regional Director, FFWPU Florida
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