Unification News for November 2003
1st Annual Regional Interfaith Convocation
Region 11 - Hattiesburg, MS - November 10 - 11, 2003
On November 10th and 11th Rev. Weon Geun Kim and Region 11 ACLC held the First Annual Regional Interfaith Convocation at the Inn On The Hill in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Hattiesburg was the location of choice since is centrally located to all our states, and the "Inn On The Hill" provided us a warm, welcoming atmosphere.
The purpose of the convocation was to bring together our active ACLC ministers from our three states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana for fellowship, education, and organization. The plan was to have interfaith presentations, testimonies, Divine Principle, discussions, and an opportunity to set a foundation for organizing our ministers in positions where they can take on more responsibility and exercise leadership.
The Opening Ceremony began with lunch on Monday, with about 30 in attendance. Rev. Terry Yamane, was M.C., and welcoming remarks were given from Bishop Weon Geun Kim and our ACLC Regional Coordinator Rev. Steve Wilson. Words of welcome were also extended from Dr. Harold Toliver representing Christianity, Imam Kamal Saleem representing Islam, and Rev. Wilson also welcomed everyone in the name of Judaism, on behalf of Rabbi Ben Ami, who had done extensive work in Hattiesburg during the period of the Civil Rights movement in Mississippi.
We then watched the video "Beyond the Cross, The Road to Victory in Jerusalem", which is always inspiring, and received the testimony of Bishop George T. Craig, who was one of the first ministers in our region to take down the cross, about how spiritually he received many directions about how to perform the ceremony in his church. He was spiritually told to cover the cross with the Family Federation flag before he ever saw the video of Dr. Yang in Jerusalem. He also replaced an image of the flag over all the places where crosses were hung or present in his church. Bishop Craig also had a dream that a cross was struck down off the top of a church by lightning, before we told him about the cross on the chapel at Barrytown. He sincerely encouraged the other ministers to make every effort to go to Jerusalem, even if they borrow the money from the bank.
Next testimony was from Bishop Frank Kirkwood of the New Covenant Fellowship Ministries in Birmingham AL, who shared how his church congregation has tripled in size since taking down the cross on August 17th. His church has successfully been operating a local food bank for many years and also, since removing the cross, was personally approached to become the Distribution Coordinator for a major food distributor paying only the cost of freight for much more food. This blessing has enabled Bishop Kirkwood and his church to reach hundreds more families and further expand his ministry.
The afternoon sessions were inspiring and informative presentations explaining the basic beliefs of the three major religions Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Dr. Harold Toliver gave an overview of Christianity and the Biblical basis for all its beliefs and responsibilities, Imam Saleem prepared very well, knowing his audience, to help all of us understand the origins of Islam, its holy foundation of belief, and the misconceptions and how they originated. Rev. Wilson (whom we referred to as Rabbi Wilson) also prepared very well a presentation the basic beliefs of Judaism and the Torah. Afterward and thru dinner we had questions and answers of the panel and evening entertainment.
Day two began with Hon Dok Hae reading of one of the three Providential speeches, "The New Elimination of Boundaries and World Peace", an internal meeting with Bishop Kim and the regional members, and then breakfast. During breakfast, we were treated to a surprise blessing of entertainment. Our Japanese Missionaries had met a Japanese family in the hotel who were famous entertainers from Japan, there for a performance in Hattiesburg. They travel around the world to perform as cultural "ambassadors for peace". Both the parents and two children danced and sang for all our guests to start the day. It was great.
Our morning program began with Rev. Wilson who had the mission to present the "History of Restoration" and tie together the mission of all the religions in God's Providence, and a deeply moving presentation, with power point slides, on the life of True Father. The ministers in the audience were attentive, sincere, and taking notes.
Next, Bishop Kim gave us all a lively and inspiring presentation entitled "God's Plan" where he explained very clearly about why each of us were created by God to be co-creators and how we must take responsibility on the individual, family, society, and world level until we all build a world together that can reflect God's image of peace and love.
After a delicious lunch, Rev. Terry Yamane made a thought provoking presentation on "The Reality of the Spirit World". Using the power point slides from Rev. Schanker, combining parts of the Principle of Creation and Resurrection, Rev. Yamane used the Bible to help illustrate how important our physical life is to prepare for our eternal home in the Sp World, and to help set a foundation of understanding for the spiritual messages so significant to the Providence today.
Our final period was set to be a planning session with a goal to organize both our state level chapters and regional level ACLC. There was enthusiastic, energetic discussion amongst the ministers and members, all offering their ideas and goals for our areas and how we can expand our activities particularly through media and communication. An open election was held to fulfill positions of responsibility and then reports were made back to the larger group. (Another memo will be made to report the results).
After some final soul-stirring music, our 1st Annual Regional Interfaith Convocation ended with prayer, a closing meal together, and a new level of unity and inspiration to go forward together to victory.
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