Unification News for December 2004

Chicago on the Move

by Rev. Sutchar

Its been six weeks since he returned from Israel and Bishop Ki Hun Kim has not lost a step. For these past weeks he has been running and running. From Israel to Chicago's prayer breakfast without time for a deep breath. Then from banquet to banquet and on to East Garden to welcome True Parents back to America. And even after all that, he mentioned that he felt that True Parents were due to come home very soon.

Call it a feeling, a spiritual connection, or whatever, but the next thing we knew, Bishop Kim was on a jet leaving for Irvington, New York. Then he was back in Chicago, attending Minister Farakkhan's "Day of Atonement" and blessing 20,000 people there.

In the midst of all this, we began planning for the 9th annual True Family Values Banquet.

Bishop Kim felt sure that True Parents would be in attendance this year. It would be held in early or mid December in downtown Chicago. So the Chicago community came together and began planning the guest list (about

1200 -1500), dignitaries and VIPs, proclamations, media coverage, the banquet ad-book, which hotel to choose, which weekend to hold the banquet, and on and on.

Then a news flash! True Parents were in fact, coming to Chicago.

Suddenly we were on a conference call with our entire Midwestern bloc. The banquet had been moved up, from 2 months to 10 days away. And still, I never saw Bishop Kim even flinch!

Everything would stay the same. No panic, no worry. Just efficient and effective planning - in order for one thing and one thing alone - to bring joy to our True Parents.

Coincidentally (or was it?), the campaign kicked off with our regularly scheduled monthly ACLC prayer breakfast, and the ministers were out in force. Dr. A. Harold White, Chicago's ACLC convenor, had the

reins firmly in hand. Rev. James Porter, a veteran of the very first Israeli pilgrimage, hosted the event, supported by one of the ablest kitchen staffs on the south side of Chicago.

So, basically, on twelve hours' notice, a new dispensation was begun.

Bishop Kim and the center members prepared thousands of bags of holy candy (each minister would carry home a bag with enough candy to bless each of their members), and we jumped into gear to fill the 1200 seat banquet hall now just 10 days away.

Once again, Dr. Porter's banquet hall was filled to overflowing for the prayer breakfast. Jon and Marina Acevedo had just returned from their sojourn to the Philippines and had brought Ambassador for Peace and Israeli pilgrimage veteran Rosendo Burcioga and other Hispanic guests. CARP and the Special Task Force were well represented, and as always, several new ministers were in attendance. Our beloved Lutheran pastor, Dr. Paul Swanson, got the spiritual jump on everyone and bought the very first banquet ticket. (Was it for $50.00 or $5000?--as Bishop Kim noted, it had three zeros after the number 5!)

After a scrumptious breakfast, Dr. White called for prayer. After all, this is a PRAYER breakfast. Three guests were chosen to pray for the family, the nation and the world at war, the specific situation in our own home state of Illinois (two terrible bus accidents have occurred in this past week), and the critical time of this upcoming electoral process.

Now we were ready to receive the word of God.

Through the blessing and grace of our own Rev. Michael Jenkins (who is in Jerusalem as I write these words), we were treated to the heart and words of the Rev. Bennit Hayes, who had just flown up from Houston, Texas. Rev. Hayes gave a deep and inspiring homily. He talked about his own testimony: his personal relationship with Father and Mother Moon and his experience at the Divine Principle seminar in Ocean City, Maryland. He talked about his personal struggles listening to and trying to digest Rev. Phillip Schanker's Divine Principle lecture about the life of John the Baptist. Rev. Hayes then testified about how he had left the lecture hall and returned to

his room. Then and only then, God began to work on this Baptist preacher directly. He was pointed to the passages in his very own Bible which demonstrated plain as day that although John was the "greatest born of woman," he would be "least in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 11:11)

And then, for the first time in his life, Rev. Hayes began to truly understand.

It was a tremendous testimony of the word of God and a tremendous testimony to our True Parents and their faithful disciples, who are continuously teaching the Divine Principle.

After the sermon, Bishop Kim offered a Powerpoint presentation of his most recent trip to East Garden. He threw out the gauntlet and called the assembled congregation to prepare to receive Father and Mother Moon in Chicago in 10 days. (I mean most banquets are prepared at least a year in advance ... not 10 days!) Bishop and Mrs. Kim then led Dr. and Mrs. White and several ministerial couples in a holy wine ceremony with the entire congregation of over 200 guests joining suit. The holy candy was then distributed and each minister prepared to "go out and preach the gospel to every corner of the earth."

Dr. White then re-convened the assembly, called for announcements, and took the offering. Dr. Porter closed us out in prayer, with all in attendance committed to fill the banquet hall that True Parents will be keynoting in just 10 days.

God created the world in 7 days - and yet we have 10!

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