Unification News for January, 1997
Californians at the True Family Values Seminars
by Kevin Thompson
On May 28, Father gave direction to Continental Director Rev. Joong Hyun Park to have a series of conferences for clergy in Washington DC beginning just a few days later on June 1. When Father was asked if we could have more time to prepare, he said that the spiritual climate had changed and a great opportunity existed which should be seized upon immediately. So, with not a lot of confidence, but a faith that Father knew the providential timetable, a team was assembled to teach whichever one or two might be rustled up. The calls went out to some of our best friends in the clergy and-surprise, surprise!-100 came to the first conference on just a few days' notice, held on a weekend, their busiest time.
Dr. Tyler Hendricks had been working for some time putting together a lecture series about the Blessing, called "Creating a Faithful Christian Marriage," which was taught at this first conference as well as powerful Divine Principle lectures by Kevin McCarthy. The whole conference was met with such a resounding endorsement by the participants that the staff was very encouraged and hopeful for future prospects.
It was decided to expand the reach of the conference to include the whole country. We were invited to begin reaching out to our clergy contacts and fly them to DC. A couple of our longtime friends from the ICC days were some of the first to attend: Mother Wright and Pastor Willie Peals both attended and were lit up by what they experienced. They came back home and began to spread the word in a way that we were not able to. Pretty soon they were sending groups of people almost every week. There was really a snowball effect taking place and things seemed to be propelled by a force way beyond the amount of effort we were making to reach people.
As the conferences went on, our biggest headache became not so much how to get people to come but more so the logistics of transporting groups of people to the East Coast on short notice. For this, a huge thank-you is needed for two sisters in particular. Claudia Garcia worked day and night taking care of all the logistical issues which arose. She had a tough act to follow when Lin-An moved to L.A. to become regional secretary; however, Claudia has risen to the occasion and gone above and beyond the call of duty.
Also things worked out so smoothly for us because we had a great ally in the travel business in our dear sister Marilyn Pierre, who bent over backwards to pull off the seemingly impossible tasks we were asking of her.
Two other sisters who made success possible because of their sacrifice and diligence were Dr. Shirley Stadelhofer and Anne Carrigan. Both of them worked so hard screening people and making sure that everyone who was going was informed and prepared in so many different ways.
I must also mention Ron Pine in Sacramento, who brought many, many people to the conferences and certainly brought the most diverse groups of people. In addition to Christian clergy, he brought some very prominent Islamic leaders, influential Cambodian ministers, and to top it all off he was able to bring Chief Oliver Red Cloud of the Lakota Sioux, who came to the final conference. In a very moving ceremony, Chief Red Cloud presented a hand-stitched Indian quilt, symbolizing everlasting peace, to Rev. Park representing True Parents. Chief Red Cloud has indicated that he will attend the Blessing in November. The last TFV conference for 1996 was held Dec. 10-12 at the Washington
Hilton. Actually it was originally scheduled to be at the Sheraton National for 200 participants, but as word got out that this was the final conference the numbers grew and grew and grew. As you know, it's not easy to get hotel space in DC on short notice, and the conference organizers had a big headache finding space to accommodate so many people signing up.
Finally they were able to use the Hilton for the seminar and five different hotels for accommodations.
Despite the logistical nightmares involved in holding the conference, the Washington DC church members did a phenomenal job under Rev. Yang's leadership.
Brothers and sisters, this conference was a huge success, with over 800 participants in a rich spiritual environment. There was a wide spectrum of participants representing every religious persuasion, and the love and cooperation and sense of purpose was thick. It was without a doubt one of the great events of my church experience.
True Parents received awards and recognition from the mayor of our capital and from the United Nations, as well as from Chief Red Cloud.
We were able to bring from California an Orthodox priest, who is the American representative of Pope Shenouda III, the patriarch of Alexandria. He was so inspired that he drove all the way from Los Angeles when he heard we were having a gathering in Berkeley!
We also had a chaplain from the California prison system and some very important imams from the Muslim faith community in attendance.
The year 1997 will no doubt present many new challenges and opportunities for victories, and I know that a great providential movement is under way. However, where it will end up depends upon our faith and our commitment.
When I first joined our church I asked one brother, "Do you think Rev. Moon is the messiah?" and he told me, "I don't know but I do know that he knows God's timetable and when he says it is time for something to happen then he is right." Once again Father knew the heavenly time and because of that, 5,000 clergy were educated in True Family Values and preparations are now under way for giving the pre-Blessing in many of their churches.
Reprinted from "American Neighborhood," the newsletter of the Northern California Unification Community
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