Unification News for December 2000
Chicago Hosts National Celebration of True Parents' Work
Edited by Bruce Sutchar from excerpts written by Akiko Ikeno, Danichi Yoshida and Philar Quiros
I remember reading a short story from many years ago about how Father walked over to a fountain somewhere in Europe and all the fish swam over to him. Then watching him, his host tried the same thing, but none of the fish swam over to him.
In a similar vein, as we prepared to greet our True Parents, a horrendous December snowstorm closed the Chicago airports and much of the mid-west. 80% of the flights at O’Hare and Midway were canceled and we became greatly concerned about whether True Parents plane would even be able to land.
However, as we studied the weather map with the security guards, we noticed one clear spot in the entire mid-west at about 9am—that was Chicago.
One incredible experience was that it seemed that after nearly 5 minutes after the doors opened that over 2,500 Ministers, Political leaders, Community Leaders and other VIP's were gathered and filled nearly every seat of the Grand Ballroom of the Chicago Marriott Hotel. As the host, Bishop Ki Hoon Kim is always incredibly nervous before the actual; event began—But as true Parents entered the banquet hall at high noon—every seat was filled to overflowing.. There had been great unity between Rev. Kim, Dr. Yang , Mr. Joo, Rev. Jenkins, and all the leadership in America. We felt that this really brought our nation to a new level as the elder son nation in God's providence. Many of our Tribal Messiahs expressed the feeling that we are truly living in a different era now. It was very surprising to see how the Ministers are recognizing our True Parents. God's grace truly covered everything. Despite the challenges faced during these past events, America was able to bring a victory before our True Parents. True Father is said to have been overjoyed and inspired by the success of the December 15-16th events, revealing a great hope for America and already challenging leaders with new events and goals. Because of the unity and combined effort and prayers of all our family members, we once again brought victory to our True Parents. We feel ready to move on and bring a greater foundation for the sake of Heavenly Father and True Parents in 2001!
Friday morning, the day before the banquet, Chicago was preparing for three conferences while guests from many states were making their way through the winter weather to partake in a series of historical events. The first group of guests arrived the night before and began to trickle in early in the morning. The bulk of participants were caught up by delays in traffic and airline flights. However, amazingly, there were only a handful of cancellations due to weather, and most participants, even if delayed, made it to Chicago showing their sincere desire to be part of the new vision for the world. Some brought additional unregistered guests who wanted to partake in the events, even paying their own expenses, including room and meals. In the end, the hotel ran out of double rooms because the list of participants exceeded the first numbers we expected.
On Friday, December 15th we hosted two events, simultaneously. The International Inter-religious Federation for World Peace (IIFWP) Conference took place in the Hilton Hotel. It brought together religious leaders, political leaders and educators to discuss the vision for IIFWP, its direction, and its role in establishing new levels of peace throughout the world. Combining readings from Father Moon, round-table discussions, and presentation by speakers, an atmosphere of aspiration emerged. The conference had several ambassadors, former political leaders, professors, founders and directors of national organizations, and religious leaders. These participants, especially the ambassadors, not only agreed with Father Moon's ideas but also saw the necessity and supported the establishment of an IIFWP. The American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) took place in the Chicago Marriott Downtown (this was the same hotel which Father hosted the 1983 ICUS Conference and that Father and Mother had each spoken in on many occasions). An event for the original 120 ministers who had gone to Korea earlier in the year quickly became a gathering and revival for over 200 clergy. Candidates who wanted to be part of the original 120 ministers, and spouses packed the room. With the theme "Bringing Down the Walls," clergy from different denominations preached support for the creation of one body to bring down the walls that divide Americans and begin the healing of the world. The atmosphere was an incredible mix of joy, urgency, and seriousness about the responsibility and vital role of the ACLC in America today. Voices of affirmation and unification came from around the room as ministers agreed with speakers on topics from healing the divided America after the elections, to uniting the body of Christ to take leadership in America and in the world, and to re-establishing their role in the relationship of the prophet and the king, becoming America's conscience and saving the present declination. Both conferences brought forth victories and a strong level of unity among participants with Father Moon's vision. These participants all took part in December 16th's IIFWP inauguration and the True Family Values Ministry (TFVM) Banquet which Father Moon and his family attended.
Last year when True Father came for Chicago's True Family Values Ministry banquet, Dr. Tyler Hendricks reflected, the atmosphere of the event built up and hit its peak with the arrival of the True Parents of Mankind. That level of spirit was already reached at the conclusion of the December 15th conferences and, therefore, the level of spirit present by the TFVM banquet was phenomenal. The weather the night before was forecast to be cold with heavy snow during the night continuing through the morning of the 16th. However, the morning began calm, unusually warm, with no snow. The temperature reached a high of 41° during the banquet and almost immediately dropped off to single digits after the banquet was over.
The morning opened with the inauguration of the IIFWP and the installation of its new leadership. All the ACLC participants joined the IIFWP conference participants and partook in the inauguration. The hall was packed and the spirit built during the event was incredible. A surge of hope, eagerness, enthusiasm, and passion arose from the inauguration creating the vision into a mission.
Slightly after 11:00 am the doors opened and the banquet hall quickly began to fill. Over 2,500 people were gathered for this event. The theme of the 2000 TFVM banquet was "Empowering the Family, the Church, and Society through True Family Values," and the banquet was to honor one last time, Father Moon's 80th birthday. The program began with lunch and entertainment including 1999 Ms. Wisconsin whose platform was abstinence, the incredible world renowned tumbling exhibition, and the True Family Values Choir. Awards were presented to five recipients who contributed to bringing True Family Values back into America. These included Elder Willie Jordan, pastor of the 12,000 member St. Mark’s Baptist Cathedral and retired Air Force Major General Ted W. Sorensen, a veteran of World war II, the Korean War, the Berlin Air Life, and for the past 20 years, nearly every major event that our True Parents have hosted. Like our True Father, General Sorensen just recently celebrated his 80th birthday and was recognized at a recent American Leadership Conference in Chicago.
With the entrance of Father Moon, Mother Moon, and eldest son Hyo Jin Moon, the atmosphere illuminated with the support and unity of those present. A video highlighted the accomplishments of Father Moon, focusing on all the successful achievements in the year 2000 alone. After a deeply personal welcome from one of our most precious friends and one of the leading Congressmen in America, both Father Moon and Mother Moon were welcomed with individual introductions by Pastor T.L. Barrett, Jr. and Rev. Maxine Walker, respectively emphasizing the unique roles both have played in touching the hearts of people. A tribal chief from Ghana took the opportunity to personally recognize the work of Father Moon and reiterated his offering of 400s hectors of land to help substantialize the vision of Father Moon for peace zones throughout the world. Proclamations, letters of greetings and telegrams from the Speaker of the House, the Governor, the Secretary of State, the State Treasurer (all of whom are American leadership Conference graduates) acknowledged the world transforming work of Father and Mother Moon. Other letters sent warm regards and gratitude, including letters from the Rev. Jesse Jackson and a very personal letter President and first Lady Bill Clinton. Many members were impressed by the seriousness of the ministers as they received Father Moon's words, and noted that Father Moon's style of deliverance had changed. Usually toward ministers, he sticks with the written words and presents a speech. This time, his tone, his style of deliverance, and his content were no different than if he were speaking to only Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) members. Father’s 35-minute speech continued on for two hours and took on a Hoon Dok Hae style. Father Moon read parts of his speech, "True Family and I" and would break off from the speech and begin speaking, clarifying details. Many times the ministers would shout comments up to Father and he would respond in kind. It was as if Father Moon embraced all the participants, no longer looking at or treating the minister as guests, or other VIPs any different from FFWPU members. The message of truth he was bringing to all his children and the warning he was addressing to save all his children. He spoke to everyone as one, impressing upon them that God's principles apply to all. The first words he spoke were in English which the hall delighted in, and he continued making sure everyone's headsets for translation were working. Participants noted a sense of security watching Father Moon, feeling he was like a father taking care of his children.
As Father Moon addressed the reality of spiritual world, those present opened up their minds and listened with seriousness. As he warned Christian and Muslim, professor and politician alike of the consequences of dying without fulfilling God's purpose of creation, the audience responded to the intensity of the truth with internal reflection. Father Moon called all Christians to go beyond their churches and their denominations, impressing onto them that faith in Jesus alone is not enough. He stated the necessity of knowing and embodying God's love. That is the key to entering Heaven. As he spoke many ministers began to feel Father Moon's heart as they responded back in affirmation of these statements. With the bold statements of truth Father Moon poured onto the hall, and with the dramatic description of the reality of heaven and earth, the audience had to open their hearts and minds to not only listen but accept these as truth. These were revolutionary ideas presented about spirit world, Jesus, and the role of the True Parents, and yet the crowd was supportive responding positively. Father Moon continued to emphasize the necessity of faith in these words. "Go back and pray to see if what I am saying is true." With the declaration that Satan had been completely defeated ministers shouted back, "Amen!" With the warning that if we really want him to come back, next time he'll bring a big baseball bat to train everyone, the crowd roared with laughter. Father Moon had truly subjugated the environment, bringing forth a serious message, a warning, but creating a composed atmosphere by maintaining humor throughout and honing down anxiety of listeners. Ministers praised the fellowship experienced being with different races, different denominations, and different religions. The spirit, they said, was incredibly inspiring, and the vision of Father Moon, one that they are allied to support. The reflection of FFWPU members states that Father Moon Father Moon had developed a heartistic relationship with those present, continuing to speak overtime, as if wanting to spend every minute with his people, as a father desires with his children. He noted several times that e was on his way to Hawaii, but he continued to speak up until his flight's departure. He had embraced all present as his children, as members of his movements, as the new army for God. Not all could stay until the end because the program had been elongated, but everyone left with a treasure chest in their soul, filled with God's spirit and True Parents' vision and hope for mankind.
We truly feel that the events of December 15th-16th, brought a victory for IIFWP, ACLC, TFVM, and for the True Parents of mankind. From here a new beginning for America, as we close the year 2000, commences and a new level of spirit or hope for peace and unity opened with the success.
As the weather reports got worse and worse and many members and ministers flights were canceled, we began to wonder if we would in fact be having Pledge Service with Father and Mother the next morning. But 30 minutes after the speech was over, they were winging their way to the airport. And the next thing one knew—Rev. Kwak, Mr. Joo, and Rev. Kim were waving bye-bye as True Parents golden chariot raised up into the air headed straight toward their next stop in Hawaii.
Several hours later Rev. Kim received a call from True Father in Hawaii thanking him for the efforts of the American Family in bringing such a joyful and heartwarming experience to True Parents.
Here are some of the reflections from Dec. 16th Banquet:
Rev. THOMAS JACKSON New Original COGIC President - South Shore Ministerial Assoc. Vice-Pres.- Assembly of God Int'l COGIC
"It was very good, very impressive, a very good speech. Father Moon spoke about the same things I am speaking to my congregation. I loved his speech. I'd like to hear more."
Mr.EDDIE McCANN JR. Director of Intergovernmental / Public Affairs for Coalition of Religious Leaders in Illinois.
"I enjoyed Rev. Moon's speech. I was closely listening to Rev. Moon's speech. I hugged Rev. Moon and He said that I was so big, and I told him yes. Does the mind control the body or does the body control the mind? I never thought about that point. Rev. Moon's speech made me think about many points, about grace and mercy and about conscience. Also, I realized that if you don't have a good husband or wife then you are not completely happy. Father Moon's speech made a perfect sense.
BISHOP DAVID TERRY St. Mark's Church of Holiness Chicago, IL
"We can't just follow Jesus. We have to pay something, make some condition. I liked the strong message of Rev. Moon, everything was true. In Luke 14:16 Jesus spoke about the man who invited many people to a banquet but many people didn't attend, this banquet was like that. Everything that Father Moon talks about that night was so true. I really like that strong message from Rev. Moon. He said that the speech of Father Moon will be his main sermon for his Sunday Service." BISHOP DAVID TERRY St. Mark's Church of Holiness Chicago, IL
"It was fantastic! Almost like a miracle!" MRS. WRICE from St. Louis, Missouri
Yoly T. Tubalinal Managing Editor/Publisher Philippine TIME-USA News & People Magazine
People normally judge the success of an event based on the number of people that attended it. If it were to be my basis of judgment, then I can safely say, the event last Saturday at Marriott Hotel was a tremendous success. But I always go beyond the size of the audience and the noise of the people that filled the ballroom. I look, instead, at the quality of people that quietly sat on their appointed places, they, who listened with much enthusiasm and undivided attention to the speeches of those that delivered their preaching and testimonials before a huge crowd of believers, observers, doubters and maybe, non believers, too. Many of these people are highly educated and very much respected in their fields. And they were there to cheer Father Moon and Mother Moon for their teachings. These intelligent men and women took time out to be at this event and share in the joy of many believers. And I thought, they, too, must believe. They, too, must share Father Moon's teachings. Father Moon is, no doubt quite passionate about his mission. Father Moon undoubtedly commands the highest respect among this multitude of intellectuals. That's a remarkable feat!
Dr. Kunle Johnson Christ Progressive Prayer Church Chicago Parish
I arrived early to witness the grand opening of the Banquet which was solidly organized. The atmosphere was serene and divine. You could feel the Spirit of the lord moving around the very large banquet hall. I was flabbergasted at the multitude of people from different cultural ethnic and religious background assembled at the celebration of Rev. Moon's 80th birthday. I was eager to see, feel and hear the message from this Man of God.
I believe Rev. Sun Myung Moon was God-sent. He is a Messiah of this end time called millennium. The movie shown us was educative and it revealed how the Holy Spirit was guiding the Moon's family in their Divine journey. Through the Christendom and how they were winning souls for Christ. I was amazed at the eulogies and comments delivered by personalities at this Grand occasion about Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his wife. They are the Moses of our generation leading us to the promise land which is eternal life.
The caliber of dignitaries and personalities assembled at the banquet hall was unprecedented. Only the President of America can attract such a caliber of personalities. I was very sure that many churches were there that day to spy and take a cue from the True Values Ministry's high level of organization and the Moon's system of winning souls for Christ. The major spiritual gift of the Moon's Ministry is effective evangelism to propagate the Gospel of Christ. The church will continue to abound in number and in the grace of the Almighty God.
I wish the True Family Values Ministry long life and a more prosperous year for a job well done in the vineyard of the Lord. Thank you and God Bless You.
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