Unification News for March 2005
Detroit ACLC 3rd Anniversary Banquet
by Rev. David Kasbow
It was standing room only on Saturday, Feb. 5th for the over 100 pastors and their guests who celebrated the third anniversary of the founding of American Clergy Leadership Conference in Michigan. After a three year foundation of prayer breakfasts and church visits we were ready to celebrate the friendships we have made and show the public what the ACLC has to offer. We opened the program with a tribute to the three Abrahamic faiths: Rabbi Mark Waldman sounded the shofar, Imam Abdullah Bey El Amin recited the first verses of the Qur'an and saxophonist Montee Jefferson played Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s favorite song, Precious Light. To further honor the three faiths we had Halal food for our Moslem friends, a kosher dinner brought in for our Rabbi and black, red and green table clothes to honor Black History month.
Joining us for the first time we were honored to have the Detroit City Council president Pro Tem Kenneth Cockrel Jr. give welcoming remarks on behalf of the city of Detroit. After the invocation and dinner I gave a section of the new PowerPoint presentation, "Hope for a Fractured World," on the role of faith leadership in bringing peace and balance to this world. This was a good foundation for Bishop Floyd Nelson, who then spoke and gave a wonderful message on Father Moon's vision.
After our Japanese Missionary Choir sang, we presented Lifetime Achievement Awards to pastors that have worked with Father Moon's movement for over 20 years. These included Dr. Elect Lady Dubose who, in 1984, received information in the mail about Rev. Moon's tax case and began praying for him a year before she met our movement. Iit included Rev. Earnest Hatcher, our Co-Convenor, who was a part of the 120 pastors who founded ACLC in Korea in 2001, and it included Rev. Mozie Lee Smith who went to Israel just weeks after she was in the hospital with an aneurism. In this awards section of the program, we also had our brother Art Roselle, the head of the American Family Coalition, give out a number of Ambassador for Peace awards as well. We finished with our theme song praying for peace in Jerusalem.
What was so inspiring about the event was that our ACLC ministers completely took ownership of it. Each pastor pledged to buy a table; each had input on the program contents, menu selection and the entertainment. It was Rev. Thompson who brought the city councilman; Bishop Weeks knew the saxophonist and bought a table for the newly formed "Women in Ministry" sisters. Rev. Thompson and Rev. Alexander called our minister list and encouraged them to also buy a table as well.
This kind of ownership developed from two things. The missionary sisters who had been here for over a year went back to Japan, and second was the concrete forming of ACLC. When the missionaries left there was a vacuum in our minister work. And, it began to hit me that if we were going to start ACLC that it had to be more than just a name; our core ministers could do more and really wanted to do more. They were becoming more than just friends of our movement. What has helped in this is education. I began inviting the ministers to my house. My wife and I would prepare breakfast once a week and then we would teach a section of the Principle. We have kept these breakfast meetings up for over a year and a half. We started at my house and since have moved to our church. I began asking them to join me to visit ministers. This working together developed when we got the idea of having a prayer breakfast in a different zip code each month. Rev. Mozie Lee Smith wanted to go first. She took ownership in finding the church venue for the prayer breakfast in her zip code area. We did a special mailing, addressed from her, to these ministers and then made a plan to visit them together. This helped our Family Federation members as well. A member whose church was in the zip code area of the month's prayer breakfast felt more ownership in helping out.
What has also helped in the development of our group is visiting other clergy organizations. Rev. Vincent knows all the clergy groups, their histories, and when and where they meet. His taking me around with him has been enlightening. We visited the Baptist Council weekly meetings, the largest of these groups in Detroit, and learned their structure. And, to help us prepare for our program, we were blessed to attend the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) annual banquet, which took place just two weeks ahead of ours. They had a thousand people at their program but it really hit me there that we can do this and not only that, we can do better then this! After all, we are the ones who are fulfilling Dr. King's dream of having black and white, Jew and Gentile (and Moslem), Protestants and Catholics joining hands together. Confirming this, we received the highest complement about our program when we heard a report went back to the Baptist Council members; we heard it was said, "These ACLC people really have their act together."
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