Unification News for July 2005

Uplifting Parents' Day Awards Ceremony In No. California

Reported by Bento Leal, Regional Coordinator of AFC in Northern California

On Saturday, July 23, 2005, a beautiful Parents' Day Awards Ceremony was held at the Bay Area Family Church (BAFC) in San Leandro, CA. Some 120 people gathered to honor the 14 couples and individuals who were selected to receive a "2005 Excellence in Parenting Award", the featured agenda for this month's Community of Faith breakfast meeting.

Rev. David Rosenblum served as emcee and welcomed everyone on this historic and special day of honoring outstanding parents the day before Parents' Day, a national holiday established in 1994 to be observed the 4th Sunday of every July. After an opening prayer by Rev. Dr. Betty Hendricks of Richmond, we enjoyed a sumptuous buffet breakfast of sausage, potatoes and eggs lovingly prepared by a heavenly staff of volunteers led by Ms. Nancy Asmundson.

After breakfast, a contingent of 25 members of the BAFC International Choir representing 12 nations sang three inspiring songs under the supberb direction of choirmaster, Mrs. Zita Peruffo. The atmosphere was set for the festivities to follow.

Rev. Bento Leal, Regional Coordinator of the American Family Coalition and the Parents' Day Council of Northern California, was introduced as the keynote speaker. He gave a 15-minute PowerPoint Slide presentation explaining the origin, history and importance of Parents' Day, and the many kinds of Parents' Day events that are held nationwide each year. He specifically highlighted Dr. Stephen Covey's explanation that parents are vital in their children's lives in their roles as models, mentors, organizers and teachers.

Rev. Leal also read a congratulatory letter from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who wrote in 2004, "On behalf of all Californians, I am pleased to offer my greetings as you celebrate Parents' Day. Parents nurture, challenge, and inspire their children. They care and teach; influence and lead; protect and encourage. Their abiding moral principles shape our families, our communities and our national life. Society will be forever grateful to those parents who remain committed to their children by setting an example that guides them in truth and integrity. I applaud your outstanding efforts to recognize and honor parents who have the incredible responsibility of raising the next generation of Californians and Americans. Please accept my gratitude and best wishes for every future success."

Rev. Leal also read an excerpt from the Parents' Day 2005 Proclamation by President George W. Bush: "On Parents' Day, we recognize the boundless love and generosity of all parents, including the foster and adoptive parents who demonstrate the compassionate spirit of America. We honor parents for their dedication to providing our Nation's children with the love and support they need.I do hereby proclaim Sunday, July 24, 2005, as Parents' Day. I encourage all Americans to express love, respect, and appreciation to parents across our Nation. I also call upon citizens to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities."

Next, the 2005 Excellence in Parenting Awardees were called one by one to the stage to receive their special recognition, framed certificate, applause and be photographed with presenters Rev. Bento and Kimiko Leal and BAFC Pastor Kevin Thompson. The awardees are: á Mr. Kris & Lisa Gudjohnsen of San Lorenzo á Rev. Derek & Shirley Guyton of Novato á Drs. Clinton & Betty Hendricks of Richmond á Mr. Rahin & Anissa Khan of San Jose á Dr. Amos C. & Jane E. Brown of San Francisco á Mr. Ching-Ming & Betty Chu of Hayward á Mr. Wen-Yun and Man Yun Chen of San Jose á Mr. Yeh-Ping & Kwang-Hwa Wang of Milpitas á Mr. Hsieh Wu & Lu Ping Wang of San Jose á Mr. Parminder Singh & Tripat Kaur of Hayward á Mr. Henry and Saeko Nakamura of San Jose á Mrs. Fatima Hotaki Salimi of Fremont á Mr. Kader & Zohra Keshawarz of Antioch á Mr. Dwayne Brown & Sophia Omar Brown of Mountain View

Several of the awardees have been married for more than 50 years! In many cases, these couples and individuals raised their children in hardship and yet prevailed with love and determination to create loving families, and children who love and respect them and their values. Truly, these parents are a shining example to all parents, and a blessing to our nation.

After the award presentations, congratulatory remarks were given by Mayor Jose Esteves of Milpitas (population 68,000), who was also appointed this day as an Ambassador for Peace.

Mayor Esteves said, "I'm honored to congratulate these outstanding parents. I was told that I was being considered as a nominee for an Ambassador for Peace appointment today, but I would have come anyway, because family values are very important to me. I am so surprised actually to hear the words of the Ambassador for Peace certificate. In Milpitas, we have started something new since 2004 Ð we have made many sister city relationships with cities in other countries. We believe in respecting the values of others in our diverse community. This kind of organization, which honors and uplifts traditional values and good parenting, is so important to hold together the fabric of society."

Next, Dr. Amos C. Brown, one of the parent awardees and Pastor of Third Baptist Church in San Francisco, and also a local ACLC leader, gave appreciation remarks.

He said, "This award is really for Jane Brown (his wife), because she did most of the parenting responsibilities. As a busy pastor and civic leader it is easy to neglect first base. So, thank God for my wife! (applause) The greatest testimony, though, was one I heard last week in Milwaukee at the NAACP national convention, of which I am a National Board member. Three ladies were in the reception room. One told me that she was a Spellman College graduate. I mentioned that my son, David, had gone to Morehouse. [ed note: they are nearby each other in Atlanta]. She then with wide eyes said, 'Are you David Brown's daddy?' I said, 'Yes, I am.' She then said, 'Though your son is an actor in Hollywood, he is not like the other actors. He's for real and for what matters. You should be very proud of David Brown!' In closing, I'd like to say that I truly appreciate the founders of this great effort, Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, for their incredible leadership, fortitude and love to pull people of different races, religions and ethnicities together. That is the only way to heal our nation and world. And they've been so misunderstood. But if you go against the tide, the tide won't like it, but that's what you've got to do. So, thank you, Dr. Moon, for pushing ahead, and I'm with you!" (applause).

In closing, Rev. Rosenblum asked for everyone to make one large circle and sing "Amazing Grace". Mother Mary Ann Wright of Oakland, one of the first local Parents' Day awardees in 1994, gave the closing prayer. We then had a group photo of all the awardees.

Special thanks to all who helped make this event such a success! Again, special appreciation to Ms. Nancy Asmundson and her team for preparing the wonderful breakfast, and also to Mrs. Yukiko Zinke, Mrs. Emiko Osaka and Mrs. Yukiko Townsend who worked several hours the night before making the lovely rose corsages given to each awardee.

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