Unification News for November 1996
True Mother in Chicago
by Bruce Sutchar-Elk Grove Village, IL
When we first heard the news that True Mother would be coming to Chicago, our committee, made up of the business leaders throughout the Chicago area and headed by Rev. Ki Hun Kim immediately sprang into action. We were able to meet at the beautiful new headquarters of Rainbow Fish House which had just recently been dedicated in an official civic ceremony by the Elk Grove Village Commissioner of Commerce. Our first meeting was very serious as Rev. Kim warned us strongly that we would have to be 100% serious and exact if we wanted this event to succeed. He shared very deeply about how important our internal unity would be for this event. His final advice to us was to "check every detail and check again and again."
We set 5 major prayer points for our prayer condition. These included 1) the success of True Mother's Tour worldwide; 2) the success of True Mother's tour in America and in Chicago; 3) that our event could unburden True Mother's heart by bringing joy to True Parents through victory in Chicago; 4) to unite Christianity with our True Parents and 5) that America could be called to repentance centering on True Mother's tour.
We then set out to find the right hotel. However, because of our work with key ministers in the City of Chicago, Rev. Kim and Rev. Jenkins were inspired to hold the event in a Christian Church. At this time, the Rev. T. L. Barrett, Jr. offered to host the event in his church. Rev. Barrett is one of the leading African-American pastors in the City of Chicago. His church, the Life Center Church of God in Christ is a magnificent building holding upwards of 2,000 people. We were excited about the idea of having True Mother speak in a Christian Church, but we also realized the challenges connected with this experience.
To initiate our event Rev. Joong Hyung Pak came to Chicago, 2 weeks before the event to give the Sunday Sermon in Rev. Barrett's church. The Church was filled to capacity and Rev. Pak gave a powerful and evangelical sermon centering on Divine Principle, but offered as a true evangelical homily. The congregation was deeply moved.
One critical aspect was that we have been working very closely with Rev. Barrett over the past several years. Our member Maria Helena Tonneyck had met Rev. Barrett while visiting another church in Chicago. From this event, Rev. Purnell Spicer had brought Rev. Barrett to hear True Father speak in Chicago last September, 1995. Since that time, both Rev. Spicer and Rev. Jenkins had preached at Rev. Barrett's church and several of Rev. Barrett's members had attended the WFWP conferences in Chicago. With this heart, Rev. Barrett's entire church welcomed Rev. Pak and together we prepared to receive True Mother.
One important point about the event came out as we took out a half page ad in the Chicago Daily Defender, the leading African American newspaper in Chicago. We called to ask Rev. Barrett for permission to put the ad in the paper. He agreed under one condition, we had to make it totally clear that he was an official co-sponsor of the event, so that everyone in Chicago would know that he was totally welcoming Mrs. Moon. This attitude was prevalent throughout the entire event as True Mother would be welcomed and embraced by his entire congregation.
The official estimates were that 2500 people came out to hear True Mother's address and the church was filled to capacity. The audience sat attentive and focused--until True Mother had finished. At this point the festivities truly began. True Mother was presented plaques from the Governor of Illinois, the Mayor of the City of Chicago and the Catholic head of the Archdiocese of Chicago as well as framed letters of greetings from both Illinois U.S. Senators, several Congressman and a Resolution honoring her by name from the Chicago City Council. After this, True Mother received 2 beautifully framed pictures, one of an elder from Ghana and the other a beautiful drawing of the angels making the first rainbow from Rev. Barrett, the members of his congregation and the youth of his congregation. To close the program, all the members of Life Center Church stood and gave True Mother their traditional greeting--which is a chorus of the old standard, "I'll be loving you (Always),." True Mother was deeply moved as she held hands on the stage with the WFWP guest who had just presented her with one of the plaques.
The spirit in the room was so high that not one soul left as Peter Kim proceeded to read True Father's speech in a powerful and resonant tone. The program concluded with music from the world renowned Chicago Gospel Trio, Delois Barrett Campbell and the Barrett Sisters. But before we could say good night, we gave away a special door prize, a trip for 2 to the Holy Land. This prize amazingly was won by a Chinese student from the University of Illinois who had been brought by CARP.
Back at Mother's hotel we celebrated until nearly midnight--with Mother and Father singing back and forth between Chicago and Uruguay. One of Mother's most beautiful songs that really moved all of us was "Santa Lucia."
The next morning we were blessed with being able to share pledge service with True Mother. During this time she shared with us the internal purpose for her international tour--that of liberating the hearts of God, Jesus and Mother Mary. She talked about the importance of repentance (especially to someone else serving as a witness). She reminded us of Father's words from many years ago- -that one day a human avalanche will occur and people will come rushing to us-- that day she said is now--and she continued to give many examples worldwide-- from Korea to Bolivia--where this is currently happening. She said that the real miracle of our modern age is that so many incredible events are occurring while Father and Mother are alive on the earth. I know that all of us in Chicago experienced this many times over through our experience in witnessing people's incredible response to True Mother's speech. Finally, Mother encouraged us strongly, focusing on the Blessing of 1997. She closed with the remarks, "Mobilize everything and Create a Masterpiece."
One the very next day after True Mother spoke, the city of Chicago honored Rev. Barrett by renaming the 5 blocks of the boulevard in front of his church after him. Rev. Barrett invited Rev. Kim and the members of our church to join him for this historic occasion. So at 3 pm the next day many of our members joined Rev. Kim at Life Center Church for this celebration. The Church of God in Christ is the largest African-American denomination in America. It is strongly controlled by its regional bishops.
On this occasion, Rev. Barrett's bishop, Bishop Little was in attendance for the ceremony. In a totally beautiful manner, Rev. Barrett treated our Korean Leader, Bishop Ki Hun Kim with the same respect and reverence as he does Bishop Little. Rev. Kim joined Bishop Little on the dais, the two bishops strolled out of the church arm in arm to the street and finally Rev. Barrett asked each of the bishops to offer a prayer as Garfield Boulevard was re-named Rev. T.L. Barrett Drive. And each of the bishops prayed that this new street would contain the power of God to drive all evil forces of drugs, gangs, and fallen activities out of the area.
The event was quite a celebration and it was covered in all of its pageantry on the NBC news that evening.
Download entire page and pages related to it in ZIP format
Table of Contents