Unification News for January 1999

Chicago Commemorates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. With An Interfaith Breakfast

by Richard B. Lemont -- Chicago, IL

True Family Values Choir under the direction of Noriko Ogden, directress entertained the crowd of over 1200 ministers and distinguished guests as the program opened. TFV Choir's songs opened the door and welcomed the crowd. Originally, we were not supposed to do it, but because the other choir didn't show up on time, our choir sang first and welcomed the people. We truly felt like this was our banquet! As they stood in kimonos, choir robes and Blessing scarves chattering tables fell silent. The guests devoted their entire attention to the mostly oriental crowd of women on the stage in the International Ballroom of the Hilton Chicago and Towers. Furasato and Amazing Grace were applauded madly by the assembly as our sisters finished.

As the TFV Choir prepared for the opening of the event Rev. Ki Hoon Kim, Chicago Regional Director, represented our True Parents at a small reception given by Mayor Richard M. Daley. Francis Cardinal George, the Archbishop of Chicago and other Chicago notables such as Congressman Bobby Rush, Rev. Clay Evans and Bishop Cody Marshall hobnobbed with Mayor Daley, Police Superintendent Terry Hillier, aldermen, commissioners and powerful ministers and civic leaders.

This marked the third time that Rev. Kim had been invited by the Mayor's staff to deliver a Unity Prayer and sit at the head table. His prayer called Dr. King's dream one that was not centered on one color but on all the colors of the human race living as one family under God. Rev. Kim gave the strongest prayer among 3 unity prayers and everyone listened very quietly.

The Keynote Speaker was Rev. Bernice A. King the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Rev. King is assistant pastor at Greater Rising Star Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia where she is in charge of the Youth and Women's Ministry. She strongly emphasized in her speech about the unity of denominations and even religions. As she closed her speech she told a story familiar to every Divine Principle lecturer over the past 25 years. An angel showed a man the difference between heaven and hell in identical circumstances. There were 2 banquet tables covered with foods from the corners of the world. At one table the guests created hell as they struggled with the 10 foot long utensils while the heavenly banquet shared the food by unselfishly serving each other.

Chicago has been having this event since 1987, when the late Mayor Harold Washington began it. We feel Chicago has a big foundation to bring unity among denominations and religions and welcome True Parents. We, Unification Church members, should lead this movement in Chicago. Actually, we may have been the biggest single group attending the event with around 40 of our members there and the planning committee for the event is filled with the names of ministers who know us through CAUSA, ICC and TFV activities.

The following Monday Rev. Kim joined Mayor Daley and many other religious leaders at a press conference on Dr. King's birthday.

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