Unification News for March 1999

Empowerment 2000 Conference

Rev. Eric Holt
February 27-28, 1999
Brooklyn, New York

Rev. Dennis Dillon, minister, author and publisher of the New York Christian Times, is a man with a vision. During the last weekend in February, (Black History Month), Rev. Dillon spearheaded a 2-day holistic empowerment conference in the Brooklyn Marriott Hotel - "holistic" in the sense that the conference focused on family, health and wealth – concepts that are demonstrably inter-related. Under the umbrella of the New York Christian Times, a city-wide Christian newspaper published in Brooklyn and circulated in thousands of churches, Rev. Dillon brought together various Fortune 500 corporate sponsors, health organizations, churches and non-profit organizations, including Family Federation. Other familiar organizations included Ocean Church, Pure Love Alliance, etc. Participants in Blessing ’98 at Madison Garden will remember Rev. Dillon as the spirited emcee for the family rally at that event.

Attendants at the conference were treated to sessions with various inspirational speakers, clergy, and experts in many fields. There were also several highly practical panel discussions on topics such as "family", "networking", etc. Over 100 exhibits adorned the ballrooms and hallway in the Marriott, including our own Family Federation table featuring a continuous-play video about the Blessing. Manhattan Family Church pastor, Rev. Chen Fong spoke in place of Bishop Joong Hyun Pak who became ill at the last moment. Panelists Robert Kittel (Pure Love Alliance) and Dr. Tyler Hendricks (Family Federation) gave presentations and engaged in a highly informative and educational discussion on the topic of "family" with, among others, Dr. Gwendolyn Goldsby-Grant, a well-known psychologist and columnist for Essence magazine.

Our own NY Metro Family Church Choir (New Jersey, New York City/State) under the directorship of Francesco Santelli performed both days, and received a very warm welcome and response. Family Church Choir member, Christine Libon had this to say: "Over thirty singers from New York, New Jersey and the Unification Theological Seminary joined together under the directorship of Francesco Santelli to perform at this exciting conference. Musical selections of our Family Church Choir included spirited songs such as If My People Will Pray (based on I Chronicles 7:14), and Ezekiel Saw the Wheel, etc. We were thrilled to have as our accompanist Miss Shin Chun Wu, a masters degree student at the Manhattan School of Music, who performed marvelously on the Baldwin piano. Inspiration flowed as we listened to the Antioch Choir performing an a cappella Jerusalem, with lyrics stating: when the battle is over we shall wear a crown in the New Jerusalem. The grand finale came from the St. Paul’s Community Baptist Church Choir, whose third number, Jesus is a Rock in a Weary Land was phenomenal. Their director made a comment which warmed our hearts: ‘We saw the Family Church Choir representing so many nationalities. Well, we’d better get ready, because that’s what it’s going to be like in the Kingdom of Heaven’. Amen! After worshipping, praising and receiving information, many choir members enjoyed browsing at various booths set up to celebrate African-American culture and the community."

All in all, it was a well-organized and high-energy conference, aptly named "Empowerment 2000". Rev. Dillon is to applauded for his "big-tent" approach to solving social problems, by involving as many organizations as possible (including several of our Family Federation –related organizations) in networking and synergistic cooperation. Many thanks to all choir members and volunteers, especially Rev. Yasuhiro Hori, Ken Owens, Lourdes Swarts, Barry Geller, Francesco Santelli, David Eaton, Shimoyama-san, Merlyn Velasco, Shizuko Kato, Francesco Santelli, and Rev. Jeong Phyo Hong.

 Download entire page and pages related to it in ZIP format
Table of Contents
Tparents Home