Unification News for July 2003
July 5th Blessing in Chicago
by Rev. Michael Jenkins
The July 5th Blessing in Chicago was a special moment in the dispensation for the Second Israel. Incredible healing and reconciliation occurred as Pastor Barrett stood strong on faith. The sanctuary was jammed with couples from the most prominent Christian churches in Chicago. Beloved Bishop Kim and Chicago Family did not hesitate when Father directed that the blessing had to be done on July 4 th or 5th.
Because of the International conferences in Washington D.C. June 22- 29th the blessing could not be on the east coast, yet Dr. Yang and I felt the urgent sense that we must fulfill Father's direction. Bishop Kim, without hesitation stepped up to the challenge. As with the urgency of going on the Pilgrimage to Jerusalem, I can see that this blessing was a key stepping stone to bringing total unity between ACLC and the Jewish and Moslem leaders, centered on the most important thing. The Blessing of Marriage.
The most important thing that we are learning is that when we follow Father's providential direction, not worrying about whether we can do it perfectly or not, but just that we faithfully follow, a brick by brick foundation is laid upon which the next providence unfolds. Who would imagine that by following Father's direction to publicly read and proclaim the Clouds of Witnesses testimony of the Saints, there would be such trial where many key clergy, including Pastor Barrett could not stand with us? That through this trial we would be driven to bring the clergy to the Divine Principle, for it is the only way they could understand.
Due to the fact that we followed Father's direction we have now taken over 1700 clergy through the Divine Principle. This created a spiritual revolution of proportions that is not understood at all. This path is sure to bring the victory. We will continue the DP convocations -- this breakthrough came from following Father's direction. This came due to the fact that when the testimonies from the heavenly realm are read the saints can link their power and spirit with the people who hear their testimony on earth. This allows them to continue to work with those people even thought their initial reaction may be difficult.
Then we took down the cross in another incredible revolutionary move. Though it seemed it would destroy our ACLC foundation, Father's direction and revelation actually set the very condition necessary to heal and open the heart of the Jewish Rabbis and leaders. By witnessing this result, the clergy are becoming deeply convicted in this path. It was the feeling we got when we stood in the prison that held Peter and Paul in Rome and Paul prayed from such a controversial and unpopular position that Rome and the world would receive the Gospel.
This is also what we saw at the July 5th Interreligious and International Holy Blessing of our True Parents. Chicago Clergy could not believe that it was being held at Life Center. At the Blessing, Rev. Bennie Owens (woman clergy) of Twelve Gates Baptist Church in Chicago gave the opening prayer. She took down her cross on Good Friday and went to Israel. She joined Bishop Stallings and our ACLC preparation team and she Dr. Shelly the former women's federation president from Israel wanted to stay together -- they bonded because of the end of the cross. They are true sisters. She has become a total believer that this is the Second Coming of the Lord. She stands now as a pillar and Co-Convener of the Chicago ACLC.
Rev. Daugherty was our Master of Ceremonies. Rev. Daugherty is the one who teaches True Parents heart, thought and standard to the clergy; he is the one that keeps all the clergy together through the highs and the lows. He introduced Rev. Beverly to open the program. Rev. Monet Beverly, Pastor of the Love All People's Ministries and our ACLC Co-Convener in Indiana, had the Youth Divine Dance Ensemble perform praise dancing lifting up True Parents and the Blessing.
The youth ensemble came in praising Jesus and True Parents as one. The led the procession of dance with a 4 x 4 foot banner (like a college marching band) that had the Family Federation Logo on it. None of us knew it was going to be like this. These Christian leaders, particularly black ministers have powerful ancestries that have cared their faith from centuries of suffering in slavery. Once they commit to something in faith, it permeates everything in their lives, their faith becomes their live. The way the black church raises the children and the congregation, is holistic.
Now that these clergy believe in True Parents!! This root in America will never be uprooted and will only continue to grow and grow. That's what I felt when I was looking at over 30 beautiful families from the Nation of Islam. You've seen them, they love True Parents and feel in the bottom of their souls that this is the Family of God. (Dear God, you are so great !!! Your love is so profound and complete that you are bringing all the traditions that you started with Islam, Christianity, Judaism and all major faiths together with a "feeling" of one heart, yet our external differences in traditions, cultures, races and traditional clothing all become beautifully complimentary when we have one family under you -- made possible by having True Parents.)
It was in this church -- Life Center that Pastor Barrett introduced us to Minister Farrakhan and a journey toward the Kingdom of God began. We sincerely appreciate the Minister and the Nation of Islam for their unchanging heart of support and work for the Kingdom. Imagine, Sister Claudette Marie Muhammad Chief of Protocol for the nation, sitting in the front row with the Jewish Rabbi, Dr. Joshua "Shuki" Ben Ami from Israel who now says, "it is not proper for me to call Rev. Moon, Rev. or Doctor. From now I must call him Father!!! Father brought my family together with my cousin Ishmael. We must thank God "
Then the True Family Values Choir performed composed of Japanese American wives and the Japanese Missionaries that came to America. They left their homes and their families with a Mother's role to sacrifice their lives to give birth to a new Christianity and a new Israel. When they sing the saints and martyrs are summoned and their presence changes the atmosphere. Sacrifice brings the holy spirit and attracts all those who have sacrificed and are holy.
How do we know such things. Personal and direct experience. A few years ago, missionaries were singing in Rev. Eliot's church and suddenly he stood up and asked the missionaries to circle with his congregation and all would join hands. He proclaimed that he knew that they had left their babies and the husbands at home and that many can't endure the pain of separation and many, especially the children don't understand sometimes being racked with resentment, only increasing the tears.
Rev. Eliot explained this as he circled us all in his church. Who is Leroy Eliot? He's a Baptist preacher -- very popular -- yet he observed the ministry of Father Moon for years from a distance. It was during the RFK stadium blessing that the missionaries and our sister Sachiyo just kept coming to the church. Finally his heart was touched, he and his wife Katie came to the blessing at RFK in 1997. It was during Father's prayer that all of the sudden the holy spirit touched his heart and he joined the movement. That's why he testifies on some of our ACLC videos that blessing changed his life and his marriage.
He says, "I can see better now, I can walk better now, my wife looks better to me now, my children look better to me now! -- This thing is real -- you have to come on into the inside to understand. This is the work of God." Rev. Eliot circled our sisters proclaiming that their suffering was a comfort to the mothers of his church. There was a healing balm that these suffering missionaries brought to his church family at New Greater St. John Community Baptist Church.
I've been with Rev. Eliot through the highs and the lows. With him preaching to thousands and people flocking and experiencing the joy of God's word and salvation, only to return back to the hotel room that night to here that one of his best members sons had just been killed by a stray bullet from a drive by shooting. The young man had just finished his senior year in high school with a 4 point average. He was working at the local drug store and had just locked the front door when the bullet struck him in the head. This precious child, the son of a great mother in Rev. Eliot's church. He had just been notified that he received a full scholarship to the University of Illinois for being the top of his class.
This is what I mean by the highs and the lows. I saw Rev. Eliot weep for the children. This particular night he was weeping in the pulpit for the missionaries, because he could feel that the mother and the others who lost their children to violence could be comforted by the effort to heal and revive the Christian family. It was there that Leroy proclaimed with tears, oh Lord God, we feel that the martyrs of Christian history who shed their blood are now present with us in the church. They have been brought forth because these suffering missionaries from Japan have come to see us. The martyrs are here family!! " At that point the congregation was all in tears !! My beloved brothers and sisters we cannot fathom the profound and eternal impact that True Parents are having through this work.
That's why when the True Family Values choir sang at the Blessing at Life Center -- I felt the spirit of the Martyrs and saints enter the room. All I could feel was that I am sorry that I have not suffered enough and sacrificed enough to merit their help and presence. I'm grateful that though we are not enough True Parents and True Families suffering is covering us with grace. Also, through the suffering of our elders (especially Dr. and Mrs. Yang) to follow God's direction, a small condition is set that allows us to link to Father's infinite spiritual power.
The Missionaries sang. Keep singing missionaries, it won't be long now. Hold on and don't waiver. It won't be much longer. It is inevitable that America is going to burst forth with an outpouring of spirit that will cleanse this nation and the world. It's time for America to rise up. True Parents, True Family have sown their blood into this soil. The Korean Leaders and National Messiahs, Japanese missionaries gave up their families that this nation would become the Elder Son. Christian martyrs and saints from all faiths and patriots blood from every race has poured onto the American soil. Slaves in chains with the shackles cutting their ankles with blood flowing down onto the dirt of their prison floors cried out to Jesus to see the day of the Lord and liberation. Today they are now seeing that their suffering was not in vain. Their prayers have been answered.
It is no wonder that the Black church was the first to understand. Now it not only understands but forged in the fires of spiritual turmoil they have formed the vanguard of suffering love. They are leading the Second Israel according to Father's direction. This suffering base, like the missionaries has now become the wellspring to pull down the martyrs not only from Christianity but now the prophets of Israel who shed their blood to bring light into this world of darkness are now stepping through this gate.
The Jewish leaders are now testifying that their 400 years of suffering in Egypt gives them a bond of heart with the black leaders who suffered for 400 years in slavery!!! The Jewish leaders are testifying that it was two things, Christians taking down their crosses to reach their brothers and the fact that it was led by the descendants of slaves opens the Jewish heart and makes Dr. Baruch Shalev (who is a Jewish scholar and leader for peace -- feel free to say for the first time in history -- "Through the black Christians I feel that their love comes from a place of suffering, If this is what the real Jesus is about then -- I Love Jesus".
Now the American family is rising up together with the members from all over the world. American's who have placed their lives, fortunes, families and sacred honor on the altar of history know what I'm talking about. The patriots and saints travel with us wherever we go. We have the power and the authority to transform this world into the Kingdom of God. Right Now!!! We shall overcome.
Pastor Barrett gave the welcoming address. His church was the first in the world to have True Mother speak in 1996. 70 women leaders from his church attended Women's federation and that is why they supported True Mother. Pastor Barrett's face is shining. Since Israel he has had such a feeling of confidence and confirmation that there is no doubt. This is the work of the Lord. He say that True Parent's power was bringing Moslem, Jewish and Christian leaders together in heart with one another. He proclaimed that only God can do this work and he is doing it only through True Parents.
It was just a year ago that the hemorrhaging of membership from his church and attacks from his national denomination made it so difficult to work with us. Now, through the path of faith the first time the official central Interreligious and International World Blessing was held in a church was in Life Center Family Church of God in Christ. This is a day of Glory.
Imagine, for the Old Testament Reading in the July 5th Blessing, Rabbi Joshua Ben Ami read Genesis and the Song of Solomon in English and the original language -- Hebrew. Then Rev. Leroy Eliot read Gen. 19:4-6 -- "What God has joined together let no man put asunder!" With such a short reading the blessing congregation was transformed. Rev. Eliot, with the anointing of the Holy Spirit, began the cadence over and over again until the couples about to be blessed jumped to their feet, "What God Has Joined Together, Let No Man Put Asunder!"
The holy spirit is now moving with incredible fire and a cleansing spirit of joy. Dr. H.G. McGhee read with his deep and rich resonating voice the Clouds of Witnesses and the Letter from God. Jesus revealed for the first time in his own home, a Christian church, before heaven and earth, and the saints resolution and the testimonies from all major religions were read clearly and slowly. Father Moon is the Messiah and the Lord of the Second Advent. The audience proclaimed AMEN!! Glory to God.
Pastor Barrett came to the podium after the Clouds were read and said, "We all may have different beliefs and traditions but through the holy spirit today we have all become one family. I want to ask you now to make an offering. We need to give something back to Father and Mother Moon for the work of God through our True Parents. I'm grateful to God to see this glorious day."
Pastor Barrett asked for the clergy to give $100 each and for 10 minutes they just kept coming in a steady stream. This sealed the Clouds and the testimony of Jesus with a commitment. Jesus is liberated on this day. His testimony was received by his own and now we are one with our True Parents. What was particularly comforting to Jesus was the fact that not only was the Second Israel there receiving the message but 5 major representatives of Israel that also accept and believe in the message. That means that Jesus own family accepted him and is receiving his testimony to follow True Parents receiving the Blessing and becoming True Parents ourselves.
The video "The Power of True Love" was presented, which highlights the reconciling and blessing of Pastor Barrett and his wife. Tory Barrett's beautiful testimony of his experience at the 60 couple blessing and the healing of his marriage. The testimony of Dr. E.V. Hill, Rev. Edwards, confirmed for the couples ready for Blessing that the truly righteous religious leaders are standing firm with True Parents. It was thrilling to watch and "feel" the atmosphere that was created. This particular video gives extensive visual education concerning clergy taking the holy wine and the call for all to bless their congregations and marriages under the power of the Holy Spirit.
Rev. Daugherty introduced me and I began with expressing gratitude for True Parents and the work of Pastor Barrett and Bishop Stallings. Their sacrifices which have taken them through great testing has also catapulted them into the center of history. The evidence of the global impact of this work was the presence and testimony of the 5 special Israeli leaders who came and testified that their work was central to bringing peace in the Middle East and reconciling Jews and Christians and ultimately bringing the Moslem family into harmony.
It was truly amazing the list of ministers who came for the blessing. Many had assured us that they could never walk with us again just one year ago and now they are sitting proudly in the front of the blessed couples with their wives. Some were even leading the procession of Concelebrant Blessed Clergy. Some we thought we would never see again. Some, never wavered in this path. Rev. Connie Crawford Bansa who was blessed in Pastor Barrett's church with Bishop Pak in 1997 has never wavered. She and her Father Bishop Crawford led the procession with Dr. A Harold White.
Archbishop G. Augustus Stallings gave a profound and inspired message of the meaning of the blessing. It was unreal. His depth of understanding the principle is exact and clear shaped by years of graduate study at the Vatican guided American University. Bishop Stallings had the couples standing to their feet. He is living it. He received his wife from heaven and knows that the blessing is the power that fulfills the purpose of creation. Bishop Stallings message clarified that because of the fall the blood lineage was destroyed and God could not dwell with men. Restoration is the course we are on and the blood lineage is now restored through the holy wine and the blessing. True Parents brought this forth and therefore they are the Messiah, Savior and Second Coming. Jesus has sanctioned it, the saints have blessed it and we today confirm it for history." God bless Archbishop G. Augustus Stallings and Sayomi who joined him on the stage for the Holy Wine ceremony. My wife and I also joined and all 1200 couples represented there joined in. Alleluia -- God's lineage is multiplying on the earth.
The prayers of the religious leaders were breathtaking, Minister Amar Nath Gupta, one of the most influential Hindu leaders in America came from Washington to pray for the couples. Congressman Tom Davis is a regular at Minister Gupta's Virginia as Minister Gupta's congregation of 3,000 is one of the wealthiest religious groups in America (mostly Indian doctors and professional families.) Minister Gupta gave a beautiful prayer in Hindi. Then Dr. Singh representing the Sikh tradition, then the sons of Abraham prayed. Rabbi David Ben Ami of Judaism. Rabbi Ben Ami has become so active with us since we took down the crosses. He was a prominent Rabbi working in the civil rights movement and therefore his stand with Father is absolute from the civil rights position. Now the Rabbi is coming forward in unity based on the word of God. Imam MuMin from Detroit and Imam Dr. Jodeh from Denver represented the Islamic family. Finally, the ACLC national executive committee and most fearless Christian leader of the ACLC, Rev. Jesse Edwards gave the Christian prayer. Rev. Edwards began, " Praise the Lord everyone. This is a day that the Lord has made." His prayer was deep and rich. He said we are grateful that Jesus has called us to this time of the Second coming and he has anointed Father and Mother Moon to fulfill the role of the Messiah. We pray for God's blessing on these couples before heaven and earth that they also might become Messiah's for mankind."
The entrance of the attendants was beautiful and graceful. Concelebrant Clergy, Dr. A. Harold White and 10 other special clergy led a procession of Moslem, Christian and Jewish leaders who would be blessing the couples with the Holy Water. Pastor and Mrs. Barrett, Archbishop and Mrs. Stallings, Bishop and Mrs. Kim led the procession of the Officiators entrance. Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Chang Shik Yang entered. True Parents spirit was there! This was the first central providential blessing in America in which True Parents officiated through their representative. This is the era of Cheon Il Guk.
The Holy Water Ceremony was conducted with representative couples coming forward. Representing Judaism was Dr. and Mrs. Joshua Ben Ami, Islam (Palestinian) represented by Imam Dr. and Mrs. Jodeh, Christianity -- Rev. and Mrs. John Porter (Pleasant Green Baptist Church and key ACLC leader) and a newly matched interracial couple. It was glorious. The ceremony was blessed by God and brought everyone to a special pinnacle of peace and hope. 40 newly matched couples were present in full wedding attire -- white gowns and dark suits. (This is all because of the diligent work of Mrs. Erikawa.) All the women present -- rededicating and those marrying for the first time had beautiful white veils and both men and women had the white blessing scarves. This is what it is all about. The Blessing of marriage, the completion of restoration and the fulfillment of the Purpose of Creation. It is also the central power to heal the rifts of enemies. That's what was overwhelming when the Jewish leader from Jerusalem embraced the Palestinian Moslem and proclaimed that they will sacrifice themselves to heal Israel and Palestine. I proclaimed from the pulpit that the Bible had prophesied this day -- that the "Lion will lay down with the Lamb". To seal their reconciliation the Christian leader joined the two in the embrace and finally the newly matched couple representing the Cheon Il Guk era also joined their embrace.
The four vows were affirmed with a loud YES!!! True Parents sealed the blessing through the prayer of Blessing of their representative officiators. Pastor Barrett and all joined in a great moment of rejoicing. Dr. Baruch Shalev testified that we must thank Father and Mother Moon for this incredible blessing. Dr. Glaubach who was a city councilman of Jerusalem for 16 years said, "This is a moment in history, we are striving and seeking peace in Israel and throughout the world, however the most essential step toward peace is occurring today, the cornerstone of peace and stability in every society is the family, what we are seeing today is the Blessing of marriages by Father and Mother Moon and I recognize on this day that this Blessing is healing all the strife in the world, black and white, Palestinian and Israeli, Christian, Moslem and Jew.
Our Officiators concluded with four cheers of Monsei, 100 million years of blessing. The ceremony concluded and then we reassembled for the final pictures. Dr. McGhee and Dr. Porter played the piano and the organ and Rev. Daugherty sang with joy a very modern version of Amazing Grace. Joy is the purpose of life. If we follow Father's direction we will see the Joy of the Lord.
We joined a luncheon for 1000 in Pastor Barrett's dining hall and out into the parking lot. It was pure joy. Pastor and Mrs. Barrett and Dr. and Mrs. Yang, Bishop Kim and Bishop Stallings couple cut the cake. Dr. Glaubach gave a beautiful presentation to our wives and Shelly from Israel pinned it on Mrs. Yang and my wife. It was from Jerusalem and it was a pin that had four letters -- L O V E. Love from the first Israel to the Second Israel and now on to the third Israel. Love will heal our families. The Love of God and the Love of True Parents is pouring down from heaven. This is the day of the Lord.
Chicago Once Again Has Set The Direction For The Dispensation! Upon reporting to True Father, Father congratulated Dr. Yang, Bishop Kim and our team and to Bishop Kim, "This was a great and historic providential victory today. It has very deep meaning. Bishop Kim, do you want to walk, run or fly? He said, "I want to fly Abonim. True Mother congratulated Bishop Kim." Pastor Barrett's heart is melted. His members had a beautiful and glorious experience. Let us follow our True Parents step by step from providence to providence until the Fatherland becomes the sovereign nation of the Cheon Il Guk and the world becomes the Kingdom of God on earth.
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