Rev. Moon's 50 City Tour - Oakland, CAŚMarch 12
The "We Will Stand!" Banquet & Revival program at the Oakland Convention Center in downtown Oakland can only be described as "magical".
The Oakland Tribune's headline was "Rev. Moon Stirs Up Fans in Oakland " with a second proclaiming, "Moon: Man, Woman Only Half A Person". Across the bay, The San Francisco Chronicle reported 2000 religious leaders had jammed the Oakland Convention Center banquet hall, the headline blazing proudly, "In Oakland, Moon Stresses Family."
Prior to Father Moon's ascent to the stage, the audience enjoyed a chicken banquet with lively soulful selections from the Christian Fellowship Church Choir. Rev. Kevin Thompson, of the local Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) then introduced Rev. Michael Jenkins, President of the FFWPU as master of ceremonies.
Dr. William Perry, Pastor of Gospel Harvest Institutional Church of God in Christ, and a founding member of the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) gave the invocation. Rev. Jesse Edwards of the United Pentecostals of Philadelphia and Pastor Connie Crawford Bansa of Chicago, (both also members of ACLC ) gave rousing and eloquent statements on tearing down the walls between the races and denominations and reaffirmed the tour themes of working together to rebuild and strengthen the family for the sake of this nation. Both testified that it is Father Moon who has been the catalyst and inspiration behind this "rebuild the family" movement.
After another lovely musical selection from a local trio, Southern Light, Rev. T.L. Barrett, Superintendent of the Church of Christ in Chicago, and co-convenor of the ACLC, rose to the podium. In a powerful evangelical style, he praised Father Moon for his sacrifice and perseverance in the face of great persecution and misunderstanding to travel the 50 states promoting the family.
"This is a new millennium and it's time for a new message," he said, "and Rev. Moon is the man to give it."
After a brief biographical video, Rev. Jenkins introduced Father Moon to an enthusiastic ovation and welcome. Wasting no time, Father Moon, launched into an animated and impromptu talk about his joy at visiting the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area again. "God intended men and women to be together as heterosexual pairs - man and woman together - he stated, and "there are many (here in the Bay Area) who do not accept the pair system for human beings."
One minister was heard to shout out "Preach Father Moon, Preach", during the course of these remarks.
After his extended impromptu speech, Father Moon then began to read "The Path for America and Humanity in the New Millennium" in Korean, with simultaneous English translation by Mr. Peter Kim. Additional remarks were interjected throughout. It was hard for anyone to believe that here before them stood a man, 81 years....old.
In the end, Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon (Mother Moon) joined her still beaming husband on stage and received flowers and gifts of appreciation with him. Gifts were presented by the ACLC of No. California, the Inter-racial Sisterhood Project, the San Francisco Korean Seniors Association, and International Refugees Services, Inc.
Father and Mother Moon then presented gold watches to 3 area ministers for their outstanding work in the community. Several more gold (plated) watches were given to other deserving clergy. Five others from the general audience received a watch by lottery drawing as well.
The True Family Values Ministry of No. California also presented "Sacrificial Love & Service Award" plaques to four outstanding people from the area for their religious and/or community service.
Bishop Larry Magathen of the Church of God in Christ, another local ACLC clergyman, gave the closing prayer.