Unification News for March 2004

Preparing for the Cosmic Spring in Chicago

by Revs. Bruce & Ilse Sutchar

We pulled up to the warehouse on the West Side of Chicago at precisely the same time as the invited candidate for U.S. Senate in Illinois. The grip of one of the coldest winters in Chicago history was beginning to loosen and ministers were pouring in from all over the city. We had recently celebrated Martin Luther Kingís birthday together and had held a wonderful January prayer breakfast at our own Chicago Family Peace Church. The headlines had been filled with stories about the Democratic primary elections all across America and the premiere of the new Jesus movie.

Our first two guests February 24, 2004 both made announcements about the business and politics of Illinois. They were both citizens of Godís kingdom and made their God-centered concerns apparent. Rev. Bennie Owens, Chicagoís "assistant" ACLC convenor, kept the meeting on target and in order. ACLC veterans Rev. Olivia Jones (the sweetheart of CARP) and Dr. Paul Swanson, a veteran with Pastor A.I. Dunlap of recent summits with Chicago leading Jewish and Methodist leaders, joined Bishop Ki Hoon Kim at the head table. Our host was 20 year Causa/ICC/ICUSA/ACLC veteran, Rev. C.L. White. Dr. White was one of the leaders of our ICUSA/Project Volunteer activities in the early 1980ís. Now our recent 2003 Divine Principle had brought him into the forefront once again.

After a passionate and moving prayer from one of Chicagoís elder statesmen, Rev. James Bass, Rev. Bruce Sutchar offered a power point slide show detailing the current providence in the Middle East. Our Japanese True Family Values Choir entertained the congregation and the room became one in the heart of Christ. Elder Harrison Bolton, who himself is fundraising to complete the building of his New St. Maryís COGIC conducted the offering and raised over $1000 to support the monthly prayer breakfast efforts. We have been meeting monthly in the home church of a different minister for over 5 years - 150 guests is an average number for an usual monthly meeting.

The meeting recognized Rev. Satoshi Iida and his table filled with bright energetic CARP/STF faces, who are working so hard to reach the university students and young people of Chicago. Dr. White closed us in prayer and we departed to prepare for the March 23rd AFC conference in Washington, the Divine Principle Seminar at Ocean City, Maryland, and the 5th pilgrimage to Israel on March 30th.

Then, in the evening, our Family federation members gathered together at the Chicago Church Center for our monthly meeting and to hear an Iraqi Jewish professor talk about the sanctity of the family in Judaism. Under the able leadership of our Dutch brother Hans Rinkema, the Chicago Family Federation has prospered over the past several years. The 4th Sunday of every month is Family Federation Sunday and we have been meeting every 4th Tuesday of the month for the past 9 years. Usually a Family Federation member hosts the meeting (snacks at 7pm and meeting from 7:30-9:00pm) at their own home. This night the meeting was held at our Peace Church facility due to its size and proximity to the speakerís home. A couple of months earlier National ACLC Co-Convenor Pastor and Mrs. T.L. Barrett, Jr. visited our monthly meeting as guest speakers. We do this periodically to inspire our members and liven up our monthly meeting.

This monthí speaker is Dr. Reading Dallal, an orthodox Jewish native of Iraq. He teaches Hebrew at DePaul University in Chicago and has been teaching Hebrew in the Public Schools for the past 30 years. He is on the front line of interfaith respect and cooperation. Dr. Dallal was a delightful speaker, telling wonderful Jewish stories (every great rabbi was a great storyteller -- please remember that the parables that Jesus taught came out of a long, rich and historic Hebrew tradition). He then taught us so much about Judaism and the family. After his formal speech, he left the podium, sat down in a comfortable chair and answered questions from our members and guests (one Hindu scholar was also present) for quite some time.

One final note: Dr. Dallal was met recently by our wonderful French sister Claudine Wojtowicz. Claudine volunteers to teach French at an historic church in downtown Chicago where she met Dr. Dallal who teaches Hebrew there as well. Through follow-up and staying on top of it, Claudine has visited Dr. Dallalís home and through a great effort on her part this wonderful evening was possible. Now Claudine tells me that she has met another Jewish scholar -- this time on the subway coming home from her teaching. As Father has always told us -- witness, witness, witness.

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