Unification News for July 2005
Just a couple of weeks before the rally on June 27, Bishop Ki Hoon Kim was in a terrible car accident, in which his vehicle rolled over three times on Highway 90 going toward O'Hare Airport in Chicago. He had a fractured spine that required four hours of surgery, but luckily no other injuries. The doctors anticipated 2-3 months for recovery with a neck brace and orders not to move. But just a week afterward Father's direction came that we would go to four cities, including Chicago. What happened in Chicago is definitely a miracle. Because of Bishop Kim's situation, the ministers pulled together centering on Rev. Barrett, Rev. Wesson and several other key clergy.
Over the years Bishop Kim has invested so much in serving the clergy and our Chicago members have done so much to help churches in the community. ACLC was virtually birthed out of Chicago when Father came there in December 2000 for the True Family Values banquet, the first event in the history of True Parents in which they came to a city because they were invited by the clergy. Immediately after that event Father was so inspired that he asked Dr. Yang to organize the 50-state tour. Truly the ACLC movement of clergy is deeply rooted in Chicago. The Chicago tradition of having a prayer breakfast every month for the last five years has borne so much fruit as a movement of the heart.
Forty clergy met two days after they received notice of True Parents' tour and seriously discussed how to achieve the goal of 12,000 attendance. The venue was selected and everything was set in motion immediately. Because there's been such consistent ongoing activity with the clergy, it wasn't as though we were suddenly asking them to come to our event. We've been working with them for years, so naturally when True Father calls there's a feeling that they want to respond. It's a beautiful thing.
True Parents arrived in Chicago early and spent almost two hours talking with Bishop Kim in detail about the clergy development, and Dr. Yang and I arrived shortly afterward. There was a luncheon meeting, and so many testimonies were given about the healing that has been happening. When the revelations from spirit world about Father's role in history were published, many prominent Chicago clergy turned against our movement, even taking out a full-page ad in the major Christian newspaper condemning this revelation. Even our main co-convener, Pastor Barrett, could hardly stand. Many of his congregation truly wanted to disengage from the fellowship because the bishop of their church had condemned any association with the ACLC and had personally condemned Pastor Barrett. Since that time a lot of healing has occurred and that condemnation has lifted, thanks to Pastor Barrett's faith.
The beautiful testimonies at the luncheon were of Bishop Kim loving these people even when they publicly criticized us, of Bishop Kim giving donations to their churches and serving them. One by one they all came back. One of the most beautiful was to see Rev. Dr. Maxine Walker, whose heart is really with ACLC again, coming back and receiving the Ambassador for Peace certificate and appointment from True Parents. God was truly working through the Chicago movement.
The June 27th program began with a prelude by a number of Chicago's great choirs. Rev. Consilla Hudson Gilliam, pastor of a Baptist church, and her choir lifted our hearts. Also the True Family Values ensemble performed. The invocation was given by a prominent ACLC clergyman, Rev. Dr. Paul Swanson, professor emeritus at the Lutheran School of Theology. His prayer was most meaningful as it truly signifies that mainline thinkers and sincere religious leaders step-by-step are coming to appreciate Father Moon's role in history and how he has been anointed by Jesus. When this finally becomes more clearly widespread and established, Christianity is going to be fully supportive of our True Parents.
As always, Rev. Bruce Sutchar has been amazing in securing proclamations and letters of greeting from public officials. In 48 hours he got a letter of greeting from Governor Rod Blagojevich, and also a proclamation introduced by Alderman Joe Moore and signed by Mayor Richard M. Daley.
As in all of our events, we gave the holy wine (holy juice) and chose one representative couple, in this case Rev. Carl Rawls and his wife Marilyn, pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church from Alabama. Pastor Rawls is on the ACLC National Executive Committee of ACLC and has also become one of the main lecturers at the Divine Principle convocations, teaching the chapter on the Fall of Man. The other day he shared so deeply at East Garden that because he understood that the fall was a misuse of love, he could understand that God's heart is grieving, that He didn't want His children to fall. How beautiful it was to see Rev. Carl Rawls and his wife completely committed, standing there to be the representative couple to receive the holy wine and share the cup. My wife Reiko and I together offered the prayer to seal this special holy wine ceremony, calling for each couple to pledge fidelity in marriage and faithfulness and purity, pledging not to commit adultery, never to divorce.
Next the welcoming remarks were given by Dr. Chang Shik Yang, and the clergy shouted as Dr. Yang concluded with "Now is the time." Mrs. Tokiko Richardson, head of WFWP in Michigan, performed "God Bless America."
The three Abrahamic faiths were represented by Rabbi Waldman, Imam Salahuddin and Rev. Jesse Edwards. On this occasion Imam Salahuddin gave such a deep and stirring message that he truly sees the Koran teaches that the Mahdi will appear, the messiah. 'Not from just feeling but from the facts of the scripture and the life and the fruit of the work of Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, I have come to believe that he is the messiah." Then he asked the audience, why not? And everybody shouted, Amen.
Archbishop George Augustus Stallings lifted our hearts with a testimony about the scriptural call to judge them by their fruits, and that he has experienced and witnessed the fruit of the movement of True Parents, and that they truly are the True Parents, taking responsibility not just for one nation or people or family, but actually for the whole world, with the heart to save and heal everybody, with no walls and no barriers.
The video presentation was shown, which always stirs everyone's hearts to realize that True Parents' work in America goes back 34 years. It includes scenes from 20 years ago of Sen. Hatch's testimony that America made a big mistake and violated the constitutional rights of Rev. Moon by pursuing a case that had no merit. Also shown are the meetings of Father Moon with Kim Il-sung of North Korea, and with President Gorbachev, scenes giving witness that even though the communist rulers had tried to destroy Rev. Moon because of his rejection of communism, he still overcame through true love. The scenes from the trips to Middle East by leaders worldwide show that True Parents? efforts for peace have never subsided.
Because of Pastor T.L. Barrett's longstanding support for True Father, his aid in helping to begin the ACLC, and also the support of his Life Center Church, he was called upon to introduce Father Moon directly and welcome him on the stage. The ACLC national executive committee of 15 pastors who traveled from city to city with Father Moon came forward to make a welcoming processional line to attend Father?s entrance to the stage. Pastor Barrett testified many great preachers have come out of Chicago, but it was Father Moon that touched Chicago in such a way that began the unity of the body of Christ. Pastor Barrett said, 'I believe with all my heart and soul that Father and Mother Moon are the True Parents of humankind.'
Pastor Barrett's Life Center Church brought over 120 people. The Nation of Islam had a large contingent of members who have become like family. Over 100 churches from around Chicago directly secured many guests for the conference. The ballroom was overflowing, to produce the largest event on the tour in terms of numbers of guests.
Father spoke passionately from his heart. Father could feel the support of the clergy. Coming off the inspiration of New York and Washington, Father was lifted in a special way because he could feel and touch the fact that Ambassadors for Peace, scholars, religious leaders and others are finally coming to understand the mission and the ministry of Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Father began to pour out his heart about how serious this time is. We have to understand that there is no other way but to follow God's way, and God's way is inclusive - including Islam, Christianity, Judaism. God's way is based on our overcoming and perfecting ourselves by unifying our mind and body.
Father's written speech begins with his prayer from 1958, and in that prayer Father determines that he will ask God's support and he pledges to God that he will create a new world and perfect himself and bring forth a new age for humanity. What's so amazing is that Father's words from 1958 have no less meaning today. As they are being read, no one can distinguish his words from 40 years ago from today, because they are words of truth. Just as Isaiah is as relevant today as he was 3,000 years ago, so also is the teaching of Father Moon. It will be relevant forever because it's not based on a reaction to the false history emerging from the fall of man, but is actually establishing God's true direction to rebuild the family, restore the community, renew the nation and the world, to bring forth absolute faith, love, obedience, and to make true families based on true love, true life, true lineage.
Sister Claudette Marie Muhammad, representing Minister Farrakhan, sat with my wife in the front row. She was so humble and enjoyed True Father's speech. Being a spiritual woman dedicated to the work of God, she was totally in tune with Father's spirit and message. She smiled many times during the speech. Father spoke in English and Korean, and the feeling of oneness was so strong. Sister Claudette called us later and expressed how much she felt at home and uplifted by Father Moon's word, ministry and message. She also brought a feeling of love for True Parents and Bishop Kim and our family movement.
Flowers were presented by Paky and Mi-ae Fontaine. Pastor and Mrs. Barrett offered special gifts to True Parents, a heartistic gesture of gratitude that the Barretts' marriage was healed based on True Parents? guidance and prayer during the time of the 50-state tour.
This moment in history concluded with an incredible send-off from Chicago. All the clergy were there: Bishop Ernest Hamilton, Rev. Hampton, thousands more. I was especially moved because I felt as though really we had been welcomed by the family that I grew with during 20 years of working in Chicago. It was a beautiful to see them welcome the 12 Koreans, 12 Japanese, the 18 representatives from six continents, and the national executive committee who were traveling with Father Moon.
When the evening concluded with Rev. Gilliam's choir, everyone was signing and dancing. I can't forget the scene of Mrs. Lan Young Moon, president of WFWP International, dancing with such happiness, and remembering how much our Korean family suffered in the 1950s to bring forward this movement at this time. America is secure because Ambassadors for Peace and clergy are stepping forward to say yes to True Parents.
The next morning at hoon dok hae it was stunning to see almost 1,000 gather from the Chicago bloc, including so many ministers. One alderman from the city was there as well, a prominent and influential civic leader, long-time elected official, and also a minister of a major church. We were amazed to see the pastors coming in the door at 5:00 a.m. The ACLC national executive committee got a full dose of who Father really is. He had poured out his heart for 2.5 hours the night before in DC, for 3 hours in Chicago, and then that morning he spoke for 3 hours, testifying that there is no other way but to understand how essential it is to build the Kingdom of Heaven in pairs. Mind and body must be united; the pair of man and woman must be united. There is no other way. Our hearts must be united as one. Therefore, God has brought us forward at this time to really be bound together in heart. It was difficult for Won Ju to read hoon dok hae as she was frequently interrupted. For example, one pastor kept yelling out, "I love you, True Father, I love you, True Father."
True Parents left Chicago with a feeling of incredible hope that every time they tour America the movement is growing, which can be seen especially because Father raised the numbers required for attendance at each event. Press conferences were held in every city. Articles were written by AP, UPI, the Chicago Tribune, and we had much radio coverage. Word is going out that Father Moon is totally determined to create America as God's unified nation of all races and peoples, to end the destruction of families and to build through America a new world of peace.
We're very grateful for the Chicago family being what it is, the vanguard of the movement and the body of Christ. All the members and families of Chicago and the surrounding regions did a wonderful job.
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