Unification News for

April 1998


St. Louis Event with True Mother

by Rev. William Stoner-St. Louis, MO

On Sat., April 4, 1998 Region 8 crossed a very important threshold with the visit of our True Mother to St. Louis. Having been in existence for little more than a year, this new region, the Heartland region, came together through a unique series of events which challenged us to establish a sense of collective unity that we had yet to experience. Through the sacrifice and devotion of brothers and sisters from Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa, God did bless the city of St. Louis with the profound experience of receiving His Love and Truth only His true daughter can share.

As Hoon Dok Hwe implies, April 4 witnessed a community of believers, both Unificationists and non-Unificationists alike, sharing in a family setting the oneness of God, as well as our growth as His children, through the reading of His Word as expressed through the speech "Blessed Marriage and Eternal Life." Unlike the typical understanding of a family setting as a nuclear family sitting in a circle on the floor near the fireplace, this speech brought people from various racial, religious and cultural backgrounds together to acknowledge themselves as spiritual children of the True Parents. Rev. Michael Jenkins introduced Dr. Moon as True Mother to an enthusiastic audience.

Gathering her children together, she shared internal guidance on concepts that were closest to her heart. Thus, as True Mother revealed that "God created humankind to become His partners of true love," they could understand that as mortals we are to share divinity with Heavenly Father as we complete our growth as His true children. When she shared that "our basic motivation for marrying is to resemble God," it became apparent that we are to share that divinity not just as individuals but more important as families. Finally, her proclamation that "humanity can enter the Kingdom of God by passing through the gate of this Blessing," illustrated the idea that the Holy Blessing Ceremony, as performed by Rev. and Mrs. Moon, is the originating point by which true love can grow within each heart and each home.

The victory gained April 4 was especially significant because of the heroic efforts of some special brothers and sisters. I am especially grateful to David Payer, Regional ACC Director in Iowa, for his assistance in obtaining the banner. With a promise that many banners and signs were to arrive that very morning from an Italian master sign maker, the painful reality of an airline company that didnít deliver weighed heavily upon our hopeful hearts. With only two hours before the program was to begin, David not only found a local sign company open Saturday afternoon, but was able to convince them that this would be the most important banner they had ever yet created. John OíConnor of the Kansas church did an excellent job of orchestrating the various tasks involved in setting up the main banquet hall. Carl Swearson, of the Missouri ACC, was instrumental in having U.S. Senator Christopher Bond join him at the airport for True Motherís arrival. Thanks to Carlís efforts, St. Louis Mayor Clarence Harmon offered a proclamation establishing Apr. 4, 1998 as the "Day of Renewing America and Our Families" in St. Louis. Rev. Mary Bratti, former Missouri state director, was successful in inviting the eight community leaders who received Fatherís books. Mark Lincoln from Nebraska church utilized his experience and skills as an East Garden security guard to insure that Motherís visit was safe and secure.

Many leaders of the St. Louis metropolitan area were honored for contributions to the growth of God-centered families and faith-based communities by being named as recipients of 15-volume sets of True Fatherís words. The eight book recipients were: Dr. Fran Benham, director of library services at St. Louis University; Rev. Dr. Irma Cannida, director of Wonderful World of Women; Rev. Dr. William Collins, retired Baptist pastor, retired seminary professor and member of the Board of Directors of Eden Theological Seminary; Rev. Michael West, bishop of St. Michaelís Temple; Rev. James Stewart, bishop of Pentecostal Saints Tabernacle; Denise Muhammad, assistant minister of St. Louis chapter of Nation of Islam; Evangelist Ruth Coney, St. Louis director of Women Aglow; Rev. Leonard Wrice, Christian Service Center.

Heaven was truly present that afternoon as ministers came forward with a strong desire to join in fellowship with us to study Godís Word as expressed through True Parents. Even our own church members eagerly volunteered their time and energy to insure that such event would continue into the future. This precious and blessed occasion concluded as True Mother opened her heart and her room to our members as we shared in celebration through song. As the practice of Hoon Dok Hwe is enfolded in our lives, members from the Heartland region now share a common bond of heart and many within the community are empowered as a result of our True Mother bringing Heaven to St. Louis on a day in April. 

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