Unification News for April / May 1999
Report from Oakland
Kevin Thompson -- Oakland, CA
Blessings come in threes, it seems. True Motherís speech and awards banquet at the Oakland Hilton was a success in more ways than one. Never have we brought such a diverse group of high quality guests to such a rich spiritual evening. The Love Center Choir set the evening off to a wonderful beginning with their powerful style, as the audience feasted on a sumptuous salmon dinner. Mr. Paul Cobb, a long-time friend of our church family and a writer for the Oakland Tribune, gave a heartistic introduction to True Mother. The audience was well prepared to receive the speaker of the evening, and Mother gave out so much blessing with her speech.
Our brothers and sisters tell me that some of their guests were in tears during Motherís speech, the content being exactly what they needed to hear. One of our guests was observed marking up the speech text with notes as she went through it and then proceeded to do the same thing with the second speech.
After the speech came a "peace blanket" presentation from Princess Pale Moon, followed by True Mother presenting plaques to 14 selected winners of the first annual "Sacrificial Love Awards." The recipients were selected from 55 nominees drawn from local education, religious and community activist categories. Pictures were taken, and then it was on to the celebration room with members and guests sharing in the joy of seeing True Parentsí love bridge the gap of two continents.
The second great blessing for our church community came the next morning when True Mother visited our new church facility and cut the ceremonial ribbon, holy salted the sanctuary and toured the whole building. Mother expressed her happiness to see this church, and I was able to explain about our activities. We were able to get this church through tremendous unity of our community and cooperation of so many people. Having this new center of our activity has been a huge boost for our efforts with weekly events taking place. I explained to True Mother about our Friday evening Divine Principle study for families in which the whole family gets a chance to study our teaching and have discussion and fellowship with other families. This has become such an important part of our weekly calendar and each week 130 or so people attend. This then becomes our more internal study time and then Sunday Service can be more "guest friendly" in its content. When our regional director wants to speak to the church membership, we have an adult Sunday school before the main service. We have been able to host our own prayer breakfasts, parenting classes, music lessons, cub scouts, second-generation workshops, WFWP workshops and regular DP seminars in this new facility. The backbone of all of our activities has been the 10pm to midnight prayer meetings in the church each night. Posing for pictures outside with all the members present was another special event.
The third blessing came in the form of a wonderful newspaper article which Paul Cobb wrote, with help from Nick Buscovich, and which appeared in the Easter Sunday edition of the Tribune. This article was so positive and uplifting, hitting many highlights of True Parentsí work. Paul Cobb was especially impressed by Motherís warmth during the "spontaneous Karaoke" celebration after the speech. Mr. Cobb told us that he had received many nice comments after the article came out, especially from women of other faiths who are impressed by Motherís accomplishments and happy to see her steeping forward.
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