Unification News for November 2004
Chicago - Why It Always Brings Great Joy and Victory for True Parents
by Rev. Michael Jenkins
The Chicago Block brought 2000 people in 9 days for True Parents' final North American tour. They don't feel strained and exhausted. Just the opposite. They feel refreshed and uplifted. How could they do this? It was the consistent effort of Bishop Kim and the other regions and especially the Blessed Central Families, who for many years now, no matter what changes came in the providence, continued to visit and take care not only of the pastors but also the churches. With monthly prayer breakfasts on the third Tuesday of each month, they have a consistent gathering for the ACLC clergy. Pastors come and go. But the Prayer Breakfast doesn't change. Because of that, a collective spirit has been building in Chicago for many years that has produced tremendous support and understanding for the work of our True Parents.
From Congressman Davis to the Speaker of the House, this gathering of a large and growing body of religious leaders and their members who consider themselves "part of the fellowship" gives us the spiritual momentum to gain the support of the mainstream leadership in the community. Bishop Kim has repeatedly been invited to give the invocation for the Mayor's Annual Prayer Breakfast in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Roman Catholic Cardinal George, the leading Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Baptists and Anglicans, as well as the most prestigious and respected clergy from Chicago from all the African American denominations -- few have prayed for this annual gathering several times like Bishop Kim has. Because of the mayor's acknowledgement of ACLC and the True Family Values Movement and the visible leadership of well-known clergy in ACLC, a level of respect and understanding has been secured for the ideals of the ACLC and the work of our True Parents. Therefore, wherever there is a banquet of clergy in Chicago, ACLC has a significant presence there.
The Blessed Families who visit churches there have continued this as part of their Tong Ban Kyok Pa, or community ministry. Therefore, when it comes time to do the blessing they naturally think of how to connect with the churches that they have become part of. Bishop Kim personally was able to bless 20,000 through the foundation he had with the Nation of Islam and other churches. Last Sunday, 78 churches conducted the Blessing which has become the seed of a new Blessing movement that Rev. Daugherty and the ACLC National Executive Committee are seeking to spread through all 50 states. The Blessing movement is consistent with the spirit of the churches. It is a spirit that inspires and is now leading into the True Family Values Education that Pastor Hayes, Rev. Edwards and Bishop C. Phillip Johnson are now teaching in their churches. With this background it was beautiful to see the Program Book with about 30 pages of ads from some of the most well-known churches in the region. Also, Bishop Kim didn't forget to call upon all the organizations that Father Moon founded to get their ads. It was beautiful to see the full-page congratulatory ad of the Washington Times next to the full-page congratulations from Rev. Thomas Jackson and the prestigious South Shore Ministerial Alliance. The South Shore Alliance includes the Roman Catholics, Rev. Jeremiah Wright and the Church of Christ, the mainstream religious community of seminaries such as the Lutheran School of Theology, McCormack Theological Seminary and the University of Chicago Divinity School. This book in itself was quite a testimony to the support of True Family Values and ACLC in Chicago. In addition, due to the consistent activity of blessed families participating in the anniversaries and other big events of the Chicagoland churches it was a natural thing for most of the churches to "sponsor" a table for their pastor and key leaders. Some churches bought three tables.
One particular interest was a noted Basptist bishop who shook up Chicago a couple years ago when the Clouds of Witnesses came out. He totally and openly opposed Father Moon and challenged all the clergy to reject this idea that Father Moon was anointed by Jesus to fulfill the Second Coming. "This is blasphemy," he announced. Sadly, a lot of pastors fell away from ACLC because of his strong stand. Yet, here we are two years later, and who not only sponsors two tables for Father's speaking tour but also placed a full-page congratulatory ad? This same bishop!! He came back home to ACLC. He is now comfortable with Father Moon and his "anointing." How did this happen? Two things I could see. Bishop Kim kept an absolute standard of unconditional love for the bishop. Though he rejected us, Bishop Kim did not reject him. Last summer ACLC had its prayer breakfast back in the bishop's church, and the wife of soon-to-be U.S. Senator came. Slowly through consistent experience that the Holy Spirit was with this movement, his heart changed. We have seen this with so many of our ACLC clergy. They are all coming back home. But not only that, the thousands who went on the ICC to Korea in the mid-1980s are suddenly starting to feel the call to join Father Moon.
Once such preacher is one of the 12 who is traveling with Father's tour. His name is Rev. Abernathy from Georgia. He's a white Pentecostal and is a good friend of Rev. Jesse Edwards. He went to the ICC and studied the teaching. Also, his colleague, Bishop Pugh, joined the tour. They testified strongly that they know that this is the work of Jesus. Bishop Pugh mentioned that he had worked with CAUSA many years ago but couldn't really understand Rev. Moon's role. It was in September on the Israel trip that he could really understand. Yesterday at our meeting before the event, Bishop Pugh testified that it was there in the Old City of Jerusalem that he saw the prophecy of Rev. Moon that he heard him speak almost 20 years ago -- that one day Muslims, Christians and Jews would worship together. He didn't believe it when he heard it. But when he saw the Jews, Muslims and Christians at the Western Wall and the heads of Islam praising Rev. Moon at Al Aqsa Mosque, deep inside the Holy Spirit touched him and he knew who Rev. Moon was. Father was very inspired to see that white preachers are starting to come forward. These are anointed visionary men, many of whom have already come into conflict with their denominations because of the weakening of the support for the male/female model of family and the judgmental spirit that they exhibit towards non-Christians. These men of God have come to a new conviction: that the way of Jesus is not exclusive, but inclusive and that it centers not on doctrine but on the Holy Spirit and love. Therefore, we are brothers with the Muslim family, and we want to embrace and love them because we are children of the same God.
Another notable point about the foundation in Chicago is that Bishop Kim took the great opportunity of True Parents' speaking tour to hold the 9th Annual True Family Values Banquet. Every year Bishop Kim and the ACLC have conducted the True Family Values Banquet. It is an annual affair. Because of the consistency, the foundation for this banquet has grown and grown. Rev. Kil Hwan Kim and Rev. Bamfo in Boston applied this method of working with churches in Boston and are conducting the annual True Family Values banquet with ACLC. They will now have their 5th annual True Family Values Banquet this December. As a result, the Boston event on True Mother's last speaking tour really inspired True Mother, and the quality and the size of the program was among the top three in the nation.
Letters of congratulations came from the Governor and prominent officials, both Republicans and Democrats. Many have come to trust the fruits of this movement that is focused on religious and racial reconciliation and the ideal of the Biblical model for marriage and family.
The program began with Rev. Daugherty unifying and bringing together the hearts of the people. Then Mrs. Toshiko Richardson of the Michigan chapter of the Women's Federation for World Peace offered a classical musical performance. Bishop Kim welcomed the gathering of 1600, which overflowed into another room with 400. Dr. Paul Swanson, professor emeritus of the Lutheran School of Theology, offered the invocation.
Dr. Yang gave the welcoming address to great applause. Dr. Yang is deeply loved by the ACLC as its chairman. Because he is open, so many times when things seemed to be set in stone if a "consensus" of clergy come forward to share some better way, he will join that direction. They know he will not change easily, but that he will listen. That moves their hearts.
Then Pastor Jesse Edwards came and "testified." Brothers and sisters, one day this will be recorded in history. I felt like I was listening to Paul when he cried out before communities that had little room in their hearts for Jesus. Jesse is now crying out, 2000 years later, proclaiming without question that Jesus anointed Father Moon as the Messiah. He shared that this realization didn't come easily. He has lost many members, friends and even family over the conviction that he has. Many times they begged him to give it up and get back to the "normal" Jesus. Imagine what it was like for those who joined Jesus at the beginning! There must have been many families begging their loved ones who joined Jesus to just get back the the "normal" ways of Judaism. They must have said, "You will then be safe, and you won't be rejected."
But certain people have been chosen by God to do this work. God reveals to them in the ways that they can understand that the Living God is calling them. Many hear the call and see themselves at a fork in the road. One is to stay in the comfort of the "normal," "safe," traditional work; the other is to "drop your nets and follow me." Many who were called take the safe and careful road which compromises the calling of God. Many are called to stay on the traditional path. It depends on your calling. Rev. Edwards was called against all odds to obey what the Holy Spirit told him in his heart of hearts. Rev. Edwards will be noted in all of history as the first white Christian preacher to accept the Lord of the Second Advent. Now many others are beginning to follow. If you heard the story behind the suffering and persecution he has endured, it is a miracle that he held on. He was rejected by his denomination, he was rejected by friends and colleagues. Still he held on. His family, especially his wife and key members of the church, are outstanding Christians who have no judgmental attitudes in their hearts. They are open to the fact that Jesus is doing a new work. In fact, many of the Pentecostal white churches are deeply prepared for this time. Let us not forget that the mainstream rejected Father in 1945, and it was only the Pentecostal independents who supported him. Dae Mo Nim and True Mother came from such a Christian background related to Ho Ho Bin's church.
This is one of the main points of Father's tour. Not everyone is called for the same work. However, Father feels that for whatever reason, those who actually came to the banquet on this tour were hand-picked by God to "inherit" his final message to America. Those who came to this banquet are "called" by God to carry on the work of the Lord. In God's eyes, those who attended this gathering were "chosen."
The Chicago event was truly amazing. Pastor T.L. Barrett, Jr., offered the nominating speech to affirm the crown of peace for True Parents as the King and Queen of Peace. Bishop Ernest Hamilton and Bianca Vargas (Vice President of the National Hispanic Organization) offered the crowns to Dr. and Mrs. Yang, representing True Parents. Letters of congratulation were given by the Speaker of the House and the Governor of Illinois. Archbishop Stallings gave his "testimony" about how he met and came to understand Father and Mother Moon. It was a profound testimony. He said, "I really am not concerned about how you feel about my testimony because sincerely I am standing on MY testimony. I never dreamed that I would meet a man of God who would shake my whole foundation in Christianity. I was trained in the best schools of Christendom in Rome. Yet suddenly I found that my whole training was being shaken at its very foundation. I came to understand that there is so much more to know about God. I learned from Father Moon a new understanding of God. Through this my life changed. I came to know in my heart that he was the one whom God sent to humanity at this time. Yes, I came to know deeply in my heart through the fires of persecution that he was the one whom God sent as the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Second Coming. I know Jesus. Jesus is the Messiah, but even today Jesus is not accepted as the Messiah by the majority of the world. That doesn't change anything about who he is. That's how it is with Father Moon. Though many may not understand that he is the Messiah, it isn't based on the views of man. It is based on God. God revealed to me who Rev. Moon is. If you sincerely turn to God with an open heart God may just reveal it to you."
By this time the audience was electrified. Then came the Crown of Peace video. It is so rich with the history of True Parents and the work in America and the Holy Land. Then Bishop Stallings, Pastor Barrett, Rev. Jesse Edwards, Bishop Kim and Dr. Yang led True Parents into the banquet with royal fanfare. The 2000 people were ecstatic. Bishop Stallings led Father on to the stage, and Rev. Edwards and Pastor Barrett led True Mother to her seat. It was beautiful.
Father was free to speak from the start. He read his speech and then spoke. The 12 clergy in front gave Father a good support group for this tour. The Chicago event was a most familiar scene. True Parents have spoken to the True Family Values Ministry Annual Banquet four times. Each time True Parents' presence launched another new level of clergy development. Four years ago it was the beginning of the spreading of the clergy activity nationwide. Three years ago it was the point from which Father launched the 50 state tour. This time is was the launching of a new religious movement that will become the conscience of the nation.
Father preached in Chicago with greater power than during the 50-state tour. Again working with the 12 clergy at the front you could see the give and take generate greater and greater energy. It was really a moment in history. Father's words are so profound. He scolded the clergy gathered there, and then turned around and said how much God loves the religious leaders because they are the only ones to whom God can really turn to challenge the immorality of this world. Father really hit on the fall of man strongly: "Adam and Eve covered their lower parts after the fall, why? Because the sin of Adam and Eve was a sexual sin." The 12 jumped to their feet, shouting "That's right Father, you've got it." Rev. Abernathy was especially supportive. Earlier in the day he revealed that this was one of the key things through which he could understand that Rev. Moon was the one anointed by God. Since he was little boy his father taught that Adam and Eve came together before God's blessing. He was so excited to see this taught by Father Moon.
Then Father launched into the deep water of the revelation that Jesus should have been received. He is the True Parent and Messiah. Somehow, in Chicago, where the birth of the ACLC really took place, Father became most serious about the suffering of Jesus. He really challenged the clergy: "Do you really understand about Jesus? What would you have been like if you lived at his time? Would you have followed? How about now? Do you know who I am?" ("Yes, Father," the 12 claimed along with hundreds of others). "If you know who I am, how can you be sitting there? We have to rise up and create a moral and spiritual revolution in America. How can you let America go down? You are responsible. However, if you unite with me, God will give you the power to turn it around. Jesse Edwards, do you understand? Bishop Stallings, do you understand? You have the power to turn this nation around. You must be bold, courageous and strong. What are you waiting for? Do you understand?" ("Yes!" they answered.) "I'm not so sure. However, I will trust you."
Father had the whole audience captivated. It was overwhelming. When Father concluded, everyone cheered with joy.
The second generation representatives, John Moriya and Song Davidson, presented the flowers. The trophy of victory was given by Rev. Leroy Eliot, Rev. Lucius Hall, Dr. Arnetta Pierce, Dr. Paul Swanson, Rev. A. Harold White, Rev. James Bass and Dr. Rodriquez.
Crown of Peace Awards went to Rev. Willie Weston, Pastor of Hope Evangelistic Ministries; Mr. Hector Flores, National President of League of United Latin American Citizens; Rev. Jessie Griffin, ACLC Co-Convener of Minnesota and pastor of True Vine Missionary Baptist Church; Rev. Bennit Hayes, one of the 12 and Pastor of Gloryland Baptist Church in Texas; Mr. Robert C. Kim, Chairman of the Federation of Korean Associations of the USA; Mrs. Jeannette Kravitz, President, CEO and Founder of Sponsor KIDS Charities.
Dr. A. Harold White, our Chicago Co-Convenor, was also honored. True Family Values Awards were also given.
Mrs. Kil Ja Kim, Mrs. Stephanie Nishida, Mrs. Glenda Searcy, Mrs. Cynthia Butts, and many others hosted the fellowship after the banquet.
God bless Chicago Block: Minnesota, Ohio, Texas and Chicago Regions.
Hoon Dok Hae with True Parents was intoxicating. Everyone was so excited. It was so personal, and everyone could feel so close to True Parents. Father signed many programs and gave so much love at the breakfast table.
Pastor Barrett, Dr. McAffey, Rev. Danny Holmes (National Executive Committee of ACLC), and Rev. Willie Weston joined True Parents for breakfast. Danny Holmes welcomed Father to his church in 2001 in Memphis. He shared how much he loved Father's speech and the revival he is bringing. Rev. Holmes testified to Father's amazing work in the Middle East. (Dr. Holmes joined the Peace Task Force last December and led the way for one month; it was truly amazing.) He was so happy to be with True Parents. Father really loves Rev. Holmes. We shared also that Rev. Holmes had lost 250 members (out of 750 on a regular Sunday) after Father spoke in his church. Mainly they left because Father's teaching about sex. Dr. Holmes prayed to God and received that this was not a loss but rather pruning. Dr. Holmes proudly announced to Father that 250 new members who are strong and supportive have joined, and now the church is at greater strength than ever before.
Pastor Barrett had such a beautiful exchange with Father and Mother. Pastor Barrett is deeply loyal in heart to Father and Mother. He thanked them again for blessing and restoring his marriage. He also shared that since his church was the first one Father and Mother had ever spoken in, since this is Father's last speaking tour, could they please come to Life Center and make it the last church he speaks in. True Parents laughed. Father said, "I will come back and speak as a parent if you make the right preparation. If the religious leaders truly want me back and prepare a big enough and important enough gathering, I will come back. However, this will conclude my public speaking tours."
Rev. McAffey is a strong and brave clergyman. He praised Father's work in the Middle East and shared how dangerous it was; however, he saw the courage of Father's representatives and knew that God was guiding the effort. He sincerely asked Father (as a U.S. Army veteran of Korea) how we could support Father's work to reunify Korea. Father said, "Do the blessing continuously until you bless millions of Christians." It was truly a beautiful breakfast. Father concluded by signing programs.
The Blessing of the families will heal the nation and unify the world.
Thanks, Chicago. Thanks, Bishop Kim. We have much to learn from your work.
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