Unification News for June 2005
Inaugural Meeting of the Executive Committee of the ACLC of Northern California
Reported by Rev. Bento Leal
On May 20-21, 2005, the Inaugural Meeting of the Executive Committee of the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC), Northern California Chapter, was held at the San Francisco Hilton at Fisherman's Wharf. There were a total of 18 attendees, including nine Christian clergy and nine members of the Interfaith/ACLC Committee of the Bay Area Family Church (BAFC).
In his opening remarks, Rev. Dr. Man Ho Kim (Chairman of ACLC of No. California) warmly greeted and thanked all the participants for attending this historic meeting. He then stated the three purposes of the meeting: 1) education of the mission of ACLC, 2) practical aspects of our local ACLC organization and projects, and 3) fellowship together. He said that Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the Founder of ACLC, is praying for American clergy to unite together across racial, denominational and ethnic lines to bring a moral revolution to this nation, and to return America back to her founding principles and create One Nation Under God, and ultimately One World Under God.
Next, as meeting coordinator, Rev. David Rosenblum (Secretary-General of ACLC, No. California) invited all the participants to introduce themselves and their hopes for the two-day meeting. Dr. Amos Brown, Pastor of Third Baptist Church in San Francisco, talked of the importance of bringing peace here in our neighborhoods as well as working for peace in Israel and elsewhere. He spoke of the Young Male Literacy Conference that he and Pastor Brondon Reems of Center of Hope Community Church in Oakland are organizing for Saturday, July 16, at the Oakland Airport Hilton.
Rev. Victor Medearis, Pastor of Double Rock Baptist Church at Hunter's Point in San Francisco, told us to "Be of good courage!" as we do our work, and that "God is going to have to use some Tsunami Power to bring America to her feet!"
Rev. Dr. Rick Perry of San Leandro said, "If we're going to have True Peace, we're going to have to have a True Community and that begins in the family." He elaborated upon his deep experiences he had with our recent peace pilgrimage to Jordan and Israel, and how he was looking forward to share some his testimony at the upcoming Community of Faith prayer breakfast meeting on May 28.
Pastor Reems said that at a recent IIFWP Conference in Washington, DC, "Father Moon had a strong sense of urgency saying that now is the time for Christian pastors to manifest their spirit and love and heal the land!"
We also heard wonderful comments from Rev. Dr. Andre Jackson, Evangelist Dorothy Shanks, Rev. Darrell Anderson, Rev. Dr. Leland Harrington, and also from BAFC Interfaith committee members Mrs. Reiko Hankins, Ms. Anne Carrigan, Mr. Michael Irwin, Rev. John Gowey, and Rev. Michael Allen.
On Friday evening, Rev. Kevin Thompson (Convenor, ACLC of No. California) gave a stirring message on "The History of ACLC and Our Purpose Now". His powerful message set the tone for our gathering. He said, "There's a fire raging across America and the whole world, so everybody needs to get their hands to the pump to put it out! We've no time to argue about theological differences of this or that, but to work together!" Imploring the clergy, he said, "God is calling you to something great! And when God calls you, you've got to go, even when trouble comes your way.
Remember, it only takes a handful of Godly people to change the world!" After these introductory remarks, Rev. Thompson gave a powerpoint slideshow presentation entitled "Faith Leadership for Our Fractured World". We then closed the opening evening in prayer.
The next morning, Saturday, we were up bright and early for our Scriptural Reading and Prayer Service led by Rev. Bento Leal, Northern California Regional Coordinator of the Ambassadors for Peace. The service comprised of each attendee taking turns reading Bible verses and excerpts of Rev. Moon's sermons from a book entitled The Life and Mission of Jesus Christ. In those sermons, Rev. Moon delves into the heart and mission of Jesus, and his suffering and dedication to accomplish God's Will even unto death. After the readings, we closed in sincere unison prayer and the singing of Amazing Grace.
After breakfast, Rev. Thompson spoke on "The Guiding Principles of ACLC". First, he read from the Bible in John 17:20 and I Cor.1:10. He said, "The purpose of ACLC is to unify the Body of Christ, and if we do, then God can work. Without that unity, God is stifled." He continued, "The themes of ACLC are: Rebuild the Family, Restore the Community, and Renew the Nation and World." He said, "the family is the school of love and the biggest problem in the world is the breakdown of families .(and how) we need to be re-parented in order to grow and reach our God-given potential." Rev. Thompson said that Rev. Moon is asking each pastor to conduct a Holy Wine Ceremony for married couples in their congregation. "Holy Wine is communion to the couple.
The pastor should have at least three Blessed Couples (i.e., those who have received Holy Wine) as their primary supporters; then the pastor will have strength to do his ministry." Addressing the youth problems in our communities, Rev. Thompson said, "We have to raise our children with character-building programs." At the close of his message, he explained that everyone gathered was being invited to be members of the ACLC Northern California Executive Committee, and that we should have bi-monthly meetings.
We then broke up into three discussion groups. The first group discussed the topic: "Promoting Marriage Blessing Revivals in Churches, and Helping Churches Grow". The second group discussed: "Effective Strategies and Programs to bring Clergy together beyond Race and Denomination." The third group discussed: "Identifying the Needs of the People in our Communities, and Creating Programs to Meet Those Needs". The discussions were dynamic and fruitful, with many ideas on the kinds of projects we can work on together.
During our lunch break, we felt extra blessed to be joined by Mrs. Patricia Fleischman, President of WFWP here in No. CA. She shared, with a mother's heart, about the ongoing Womens' Middle East Peace Initiative, and inspired nearly all clergy to support this important signature campaign.
This was followed by reports by each of the discussion groups, and it was an important opportunity for participants in each group to hear, and learn from, what the other groups had discussed. Rev. Kim gave closing remarks saying, "This meeting has brought us closer together as religious leaders, and as brothers and sisters. God needs us now! Let us continue to deepen our bonds with each other and work to bring God's love and healing to our communities."
It was an uplifting and encouraging meeting. We got both inspired with God's Word, and motivated to Do Action. This is now a great foundation to build upon and accomplish effective ACLC activities at the local level.
Special thanks to Rev. Man Ho Kim and Rev. Kevin Thompson for calling together this important meeting. Also, special appreciation goes to Rev. David Rosenblum and Mr. Michael Irwin for preparing many of the practical and organizational details for the meeting, and for the rest of the BAFC Interfaith/ACLC Committee and participating clergy for helping make this meeting a great success.
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