Unification News for August 2003

Stop the Violence, Bring the Peace Rally in DC

Recently in the Adams-Morgan neighborhood, home of our Washington Family Church, gang-related violence has been on the increase. It came calling ever so close to home, nearly on our church doorstep, two weeks ago. A gang related shooting erupted mere steps away from 1610 Columbia Rd. God was trying to get our attention.

On August 7th at our regular ACLC luncheon, all in attendance were struck by the spirit of God. We all sensed that God was calling on ACLC leaders to step up to the plate and commit ourselves to solving this problem, not only in Adam-Morgan but in communities throughout the city.

Rev. Gregg Thomas spoke with power and passion about the plight of youth in the city. He conveyed the very pain of God as he stirred us to a greater sense of our purpose as ACLC members. The spirit was moving like a mighty wave and rolled forth from Rev Thomas and then landed on Rev. Ron Brown of Christian Love Baptist. Rev. Brown seconded the theme of taking responsibility. He reminded us that we must stand up for God, go into the streets and show real hope to the people. It must be about God.

Thus the Stop the Violence, Bring the Peace movement was given birth. After a round of hastily gathered meetings and conference calls over the next few days, we planned our first preliminary event for the following Thursday, August 14th at the Columbia Rd. Church.

During the week, we outreached to leaders of the community and of the police. Rev. Jeong Phyo Hong, Rev. Adrian Bayo and Rev. Kevin McCarthy met with Assistant Police Chief Monroe and Regional Operations Command Liaison of the Faith-based Community Partnership, Kathy Minor. We shared with them our plan for the upcoming rally and prayer walk. They could see something was moving with ACLC and they really wanted to be a part of it.

Our sister, Minister Chi Mauuso who is an ANC neighborhood commissioner and Rev. Debbie Taylor reached out to so many of the local community representatives and clergy inviting them to attend Thursday’s initial briefing and planning session. Rev. Wilfredo Rivera brought several contacts from the Latino community.

Other important leaders present who spoke: Tom Howarth, Director of Community Outreach, Jubilee Housing-Adams-Morgan. Ms. Botoa Navrrete, Community Outreach Assistant, Executive office of the Mayor, Office of Latino Affairs, Eugenio Arene, Executive Director, Council of Latino Agencies. Bishop Harvin, Candidate for Director, office of Religious Affairs.

Of course, a fireball of spirit was created by the resounding charge of our ACLC stalwarts, Rev. Ron Brown, Rev. Gregg Thomas and Co-chairman Bishop C. Phillip Johnson and Rev. Jeong Phyo Hong. Our national Vice President Rev Levi Daugherty brought us home by challenging us to bring peace within as a prerequisite to peace in our nation and world.

Everyone was deeply moved by the spirit of reconciliation as displayed in the video about the Israel pilgrimage. Ultimately, they realized the same spirit of reconciliation is the greatest hope to end gang violence.

We concluded by announcing plans for next Thursday August 21, event. It will be a rally for peace and reconciliation beginning at our Columbia Rd. church and continuing as a prayer walk through the neighborhood to some of the hot spots of recent gang slayings. We will pray there and reach out to the neighborhood. Everyone pledged to bring out the people.

At the conclusion of the event, we all went out and leafleted the neighborhood. People are very hopeful and excited that the ACLC clergy are coming!

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