Unification News for August 2004

Divine Principle Convocation

by Rev. Bruce Sutchar

Based on the foundation of a very successful conference on church growth, a prayer breakfast focusing on the topic, "the faith of a disciple" taught by our own Archbishop George Augustus Stallings and other activities, the Chicago community under the leadership of Bishop Ki Hoon Kim prepared for a 4 day national level seminar focusing on the Divine Principle and True Family Values, entitled "Reaching Divinity." Held at the Ramada OíHare, Chicago welcomed about 100 ministers and clergy to the conference -- July 13 - 16, 2004 -- from all across America.

The conference began on Tuesday night with our Continental Director, Dr. Chang Shik Yang giving an exciting and informative PowerPoint presentation over-viewing many of our 2003-2004 activities from around the world. These included the programs in Washington DC on February 4th and March 23rd. He also gave an inspiring and detailed explanation of our pilgrimages to Israel which concluded with the powerful sistersí pilgrimage in May.

The next morning we were treated to PowerPoint presentations dealing with the Creation from our own energetic ACLC leader, Rev. Levi Daugherty. Rev. Daugherty always brings a lively and creative presentation to the teaching of the Principles of Creation.

The Rev. David Reed treated all to his methodical and direct lectures based on the guidance of Mrs.Gil Ja Sa Eu and the Divine Principle Teaching Institute. Rev. Reedís methods, which many first experienced in Cheong Pyeong in January, 2003 inspired many of us to prepare for a 1 day ministers teaching seminar. With Bishop Kimís concurrence and support, we plan to teach our ministers how to present the Divine Principle on their own.

I know for anyone who has ever taught the Divine Principle, we realize that the most effective way to learn the Divine Principle is to teach it. Through that effort, God can inspire us as we explain the Principle to others. We experienced this as well on Thursday morning when Bishop C. Phillip Johnson was our guest DP teacher for the session on the Purpose of the Messiah.

What has always been an especially valuable aspect of our ACLC seminars has been our morning and evening fellowship. The same was true at this conference. Each morning a different minister (Rev. Dr. Lonnie McLeod, Rev. Carl V. Rawls, Rev. Dr. H.G. McGhee and Rev. Tessie Williams) led our morning Hoon Dok Hae. Each evening was filled with music, song and the Word of God. Our dear brothers, the Revs. McGhee and Edwards were responsible for much of this and lifted the spirit higher and higher. Rev. McGee has such an amazing relationship to God through music, and Rev. Jesse Edwards is a one of a kind Pentecostal preacher. As many times as I have heard Rev. Edwards, I left the session on Wednesday night feeling deeply repentful that I had not encouraged more people to join the festivities and be nourished by the word of God.

The participation of some key ministers was especially meaningful to me. The Rev. M. Earle Sardon recently celebrated his 92nd birthday and has been working with our movement for over 20 years. Rev. Olivia Jones prophesied the birth of our first daughter (after 3 sons) and became her God-mother. Rev. and Mrs. Isaac Strong also attended; Rev. Strong gave me my first opportunity to preach in 1984. These 3 ministers have worked with our movement for over 20 years each. They have participated in CAUSA, ICC trips to Korea, Common Suffering, True Family Values, WFWP, True Parentsí speeches and many other conferences. These ministers have stood up in the freezing cold to defend the right to have a nativity scene in the public square and have been staunch supporters of our True Parents. Rev. Sardon, who 22 years ago, admitted to being "very skeptical" of our ICUSA program (because of the negativity that he had read in the media) would later go to jail to stand up against the religious discrimination against our True Parents and our movement, just as he had done with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Albany, Georgia in 1962. Then, last year, when True Parents came to Chicago, Rev. Sardon sat at a table directly in front of True Parents and boldly responded when True Father asked if anyone in the room was older than he. After that response, True Father dialogued with his "elder brother" for about 10 minutes in front of 1,000 guests. The amazing thing is that Rev. Sardon was not supposed to be at the event. Nevertheless, through his faith, he canceled urgent plans and wound up having the experience of a lifetime with True Parents.

Then there is Rev. Randall, all 5 feet of him. Rev. Randall is the pastor for our dear sister Rev. Bennie Owens. As you know, the hardest people to get to attend an entire conference are always the ones in their home city -- because they are constantly getting urgent calls that take them away from the seminar. But Rev. Randall attended every session and seemed 100% focused on every word being uttered from the mouths of the lecturers. When I complimented him on his faithful attendance, he just said to me, "thank you so much, I needed this."

My conclusion is this. Even True Father listens to the word of God everyday. I think that he would be the first to admit that these are not his words, but the word of God being expressed through him. Therefore, as we all would agree, no one can get too much of a good thing -- too much of the word of God. For our minister friends and ourselves as well -- we can not get too much of the word of God.

All of us in Chicago want to thank our national staff; Dr. Yang, Rev. Jenkins (who led the seminar so powerfully), Rev. Daugherty, Rev. Schanker (who taught our brand new True Family Values lecture), Rev. Reed and the staff that planned the seminar. Thank you to David Rendel and Noriko Ogden who made all the hotel arrangements and thank you to our Bishop Ki Hoon Kim, whose continuous insight inspires and creatively leads our Chicago community. At this seminar, he included our more than 5-year on-going monthly prayer breakfast to take place right in the middle of the convocation. Likewise, Mrs. Reiko Jenkins, Mrs. Debbie Taylor and others co-hosted the first national "Women in Ministry" luncheon during the convocation.

So, brothers and sisters, itís time to march on. Our summer camps, educating and bonding together our beloved second generation children are in full swing. The 2004 Blessing is upon us. More and more providential events are coming up faster than we can count. And we are getting stronger and stronger.

So let us all put on the armor of God and go forth, in the shoes of the servant and the heart of the Father and bring peace to our world and love to our families.

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