Unification News for September 2003

Saskatoon and Montana One-Day Conference

by Rev. Mike Yakawich

On August 26th, 2003 we hosted our International ACLC conference. We had 40 people in attendance. We were truly surprised by the great turn out (which was an overflow crowd) to our event.

We had five representatives from Canada attend. They were from Saskatoon, Canada. The overall faiths participating included several LDS elders, AME, Methodist, Unity, Presbyterian, Shield of Faith, Church Universal and Triumphant, Family Church, Jewish and Buddhist clergy, lay ministers, missionaries, elders and leaders. It was a wonderful variety that greatly complemented our program.

Our MT. ACLC Secretary, Mr. Dennis Briggs, who is the elder of the Church Universal Triumphant, gave a very clear and deep opening prayer. It was a good start to our program. He has been a very loyal member of ACLC.

Dr. Selover’s wife, Grace, gave our opening Bible reading from Psalms 133 and our Japanese missionaries opened everyone’s hearts with a Christian Hymn.

Pastor Mike Yakawich then introduced the conference with some introductions, explanations of national and local ACLC and then an overhead presentation on the Principle of Creation/Three Blessings. This helped set a direction for our conference, introduce some of our principles and helped stimulate some discussion and conversation.

Next, we had a very well thought out, Biblical based presentation from Dr. Thomas Selover titled, "On the Road to Jerusalem." It was an excellent Presbyterian sermon that leads into the introduction of the video. Dr. Selover is the leader of ACLC in Saskatoon, a professor of Religious Studies at Saskatoon University and very active with the Presbyterian faith. Here I give much credit to the Canadian ACLC leadership who both inspired and spearheaded this conference. Their inspiration and dedication to bring such great spiritual leadership from Canada made our event so successful.

The video "On The Road to Jerusalem/ The ACLC Tour" brought much tears to the audience. Many guests could be heard crying especially at the end of the program when Jew, Muslim and Christian embraced. After the presentation, the Unity Church leader came up in front and with tears expressed how God touched her heart through this video and how grateful she was the Chad Martin invited her and that she came to this program. (I wish also to note here that Mr. Martin did a super job in videoing and photographing this program.)

The MT. AFC director, Paul DiLorenzo gave a very informative talk on the UN resolution, Ambassador for Peace and the Parent’s Day Program. He handed out to the audience the resolution regarding the UN proposal from the Philippines in Sept. The MT. ACLC staff stepped up front to show support and sign the proclamation all together. Many clergy were inspired and signed.

Other talks included Bishop Hilton McClendon’s address on "Take Down the Cross and Carry It!" He captivated the audience as he drew in personal examples of tearing down walls of religious prejudice and placing true Christianity instead. He concluded his talk by symbolically burying the cross. He took a cross and laid it on the podium. Then he placed the Family Flag over it and encouraged the entire audience to do the same in their churches.

After Bishop McClendon’s talk, we passed out a certificate for each guest. The entire group then signed this certificate which part of it stated: "In the spirit of cooperation and ecumenical dialogue, we make a personal commitment to carry the Cross daily as an ambassador of peace by conforming my life to the will of God."

We were blessed with a Jewish Christina couple form Canada who introduced us to their ministry. He takes an antelope horn from Israel, which is about 4 feet long, and if the Lord God tells him to blow it, he blows it. He says it brings unity among a community. He faced great physical pain at this conference and explained that he was being tried and tested by Satan. After the program, several of us traveled to the top of the rim rocks, which overlook the city of Billings and blew the horn several times more. He felt God’s presence and guidance for the horn to be blown and to bring greater blessing to Montana. He shared a great happening will occur in Billings due to this.

Elders of the LDS faith presented a discussion on the value of the family and how we all should be bring someone closer to God each and every day.

A Hispanic Methodist Lay Minister gave us wonderful prayer over the lunch meal. He like so many were deeply touch by the video regarding the conference held in Jerusalem this past spring. The Unity Church representative was in tears sharing her testimony on see the video and the Jew, Muslim and Christian embracing each other.

We had our share of spiritual battles during this conference. The Jewish Christian representative, Mr. Luiten from Canada, cried out in pain at the beginning of the program with sharp pains in his back. He said Satan was attacking him. Bishop McClendon offered a strong prayer for healing and protection. Later, as Mr. Luiten stood up to share and blow his horn he was again in excruciating pain (where Dr. Selover and I physically supported him at the podium). Here he said he felt the pain of God for the division of Christianity.

At the end of the program, a very close friend of ours from the AME church had her daughter, Damitria, with her. Her daughter fainted into a light comma. Apparently, they were just at the doctors and came directly to the conference from the doctor’s office. We were in our closing prayer when the ambulance arrived. She was looked over by the paramedics while we were taking our group photo. (Since, we could not do anything anyway with Damitria in the good hands of the paramedics.) We could see a clear battle between God and Satan.

We were blessed at the end of the program by Rev. Stewart Folster, a Presbyterian minister form Canada, who gathered everyone into a circle (as we pushed tables and chairs to the side). He passed a rock around for each to hold and at that moment could pray or pass it on for someone else to pray. He is a Native American minister and shared deeply about prayer, coming together and the value of the Native American culture. He did an excellent job in bringing everyone together and concluding the event even while the paramedics were busily working on one of our guests

We felt it was a very high spirited and lively event. Our guests were asking when we would be doing our next program. Many took a copy of the video home with them to share with their own church members. They left with a deep sense of gratitude and understanding of the ACLC movement, Father Moon’s efforts and the dedication of the ministers

We thank God, Lord Jesus and True Parents for making this event so special. We are also thankful for the prayers and support of Rev. Lee and Rev. Wiesinger who helped make our program such a great success. I am also very grateful for the Martin and DiLorenzo family, the missionaries Sayoko Okano and Naomi Seiyama, and my wife Yukiko whose leadership, planning, support and staffing of the program made it such a great success.

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