Unification News for April 2001

Norfolk, VAŚ March 19

The Sheraton Waterside Hotel was the venue for another historic event in the annals of "Old Dominion" history. The atmosphere and temperature down by the riverside (the Elizabeth River) was fine and burdens were indeed "laid down" as spirits were lifted for approximately 900 eager, or at least, curious and hopeful, pilgrims.

Father Moon and "The We Will Stand" tour moored at the dockside, making ripples that surely reached out to the sea.

Reverend Levy Mathew Daugherty, Executive Director of the United Federation of Churches and Chairman of the Board of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Life Institute welcomed the gathering with gusto after a musical interlude by the Voices of Inspiration and the Voices of Praise -- the former of St. Andrew's Temple (Church of God in Christ); the latter of the Miracle Tabernacle Church.

Bishop Lauretta Jones, Pastor of St. Andrew's Temple gave the invocation.

A sumptuous banquet followed, accompanied by more heavenly music, this time with the additional voice of Pastor Cynthia Chapman of the Mission of Deliverance Temple.

Proclamations and letters of welcome were highlighted and shared with the audience by Mr. Peter Brown of the American Family Coalition, Mid-Atlantic Region.

A document called the "Declaration of Interdependence" written by Mr. Brown, inspired by the spirit of this interfaith crusade, as well as a founding father or two was read later by Bishop George Augustus Stallings of the Imani Temple in Washington, D.C.

It was signed by all the ministers, civic leaders, and educators in attendance, including Father and Mother Moon. It reads in part :

"Walls of separation have no place in the springtime of God's world. Race, culture, language and theology must bow to the tears of love flowing from our Creator's heart. The Creator of Parental Love could only wish for his children to finally live in peace.

As Leaders of Faith, we stand together, joined by the unchanging love of the God who cared for all of us throughout our lonely and tragic history. We reject the ignorance and coldness of heart that has separated people of faith. We declare with boldness and courage that men and women of God must march together into a new world of peace and true love. We affirm with pride that all people are created by God and are thus our brothers and sisters. We honor and respect the worldwide family of humankind and its many religious traditions."

Special remarks were also shared by Dr. Ray O. Jones, Pastor of the Lee Memorial Baptist Church in Chesapeake, Virginia as well as Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker, Senior Pastor of the Canaan Baptist Church of Christ of Harlem, New York.

Reverend Michael Jenkins, President of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification spoke briefly as well and then introduced Dr. Milton A. Reid, Founder of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Life Institute and Pastor Emeritus of Gideon's Riverside Fellowship.

Dr. Reid then happily introduced the keynote speaker of this jam-packed evening, Father Sun Myung Moon.

Speaking extemporaneously for about an hour -- the ocean and fishing being mentioned prominently from the outset -- he was warmly received by the crowd of ministers and their congregants. His comments were both provocative and familiar. Heads nodded in agreement with many of his words and an "Amen" or two was definitely heard.

Father Moon then read speedily from the prepared text, "The Path for America and Humanity in the New Millennium". Mr. Peter Kim gave simultaneous translation.

Presentations followed these speeches, including several gold watches to ministers from Father Moon as an expression of respect and appreciation. Some others in the audience also received watches or one of the other door prizes prepared by the invitation committee.

Afterwards, Dr. Vern T. Jordahl, a Lutheran, was slated to read "In Search of the Origin of the Universe". In all honesty, however, he got up, faced the audience and said that though he was supposed to read it, and that it was surely an amazing sermon, too, he would just read a couple of important excerpts that had caught his attention. He did so, ad-libbing a bit himself, and then encouraged everyone to read the whole sermon later.

Reverend Daugherty gave some closing remarks and Bishop Anthony Moses, Senior Pastor of the New Discipleship Church, Chesapeake, Virginia gave the final benediction.

Regional report

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