Unification News for May 2001
April 11 - Las Vegas, Nevada
Father Sun Myung Moon was the special guest speaker at an Easter Week Wednesday night revival held at the Zion United Methodist Church. Reverend Marion D. Bennett hosted the founder of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification for a 7:00 p.m. sermon on "The Path for America and Humanity in the New Millennium." This was the 46th gathering of the 50-state whirlwind "We Will Stand" tour.
When Reverend Marion Bennett heard that Father Moon was initiating a 50 state speaking tour, he could hardly believe that it was true. However, as soon as he understood that he wanted to bring the message directly to the churches, Reverend Bennett did not hesitate to extend an invitation for Father Moon to speak in his church. He stated that, "It would be a great honor to have Reverend Moon speak in our church. He has a message that people need to hear."
Reverend Bennett, a former Nevada State Legislator for 10 years, pioneer civil rights leader, and pastor of Zion Methodist Church for the past 40 years, stood strong in the face of skepticism and opposition to his decision.
When asked by an ABC-TV reporter whether some members of his own congregation were skeptical about inviting such a controversial figure to their church, Reverend Bennett was adamant.
"Yes, some opposed my decision. But people also opposed me in 1964 when I invited Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Las Vegas. History proved me right about Dr. King, and I believe that history will prove me right about Reverend Moon."
There were two news conferences where Christians, Muslims and others joined together as one united voice before the world.
The evening began with a 5:00 p.m. buffet dinner in the Zion Fellowship Hall followed by the main program in the sanctuary from 6:00 p.m.
The Zion Chancel Choir opened the evening's worship with gospel renditions that both stirred the soul and quieted the spirit in preparation for the messages that would follow. The Zion Usher Board helped pack the crowd into every available seat.
Former Nevada Assemblyman, Patrick Hickey, welcomed guests and shared the numerous proclamations and letters sent by Nevada dignitaries, including Governor Kenny Guinn, U.S. Senator John Ensign, and Congressman Jim Gibbons.
State Senator Bob Coffin, an Invitation Committee member of the American Leadership Conference, sent personal greetings saying that he had heard that Reverend Moon had enough passion and energy to conduct another tour of such magnitude "at age 91"!
The overflow crowd at Zion Methodist reflected a unique blending of Christians and Muslims side-by-side in worship.
The spirit of ecumenical brotherhood was reflected in the joint invocation offered by Reverend Sam Roberson, pastor of the Community Baptist Church of Henderson and Imam Mujahid Ramadan, leader of the American Muslim Council.
Reverend Michael Jenkins, American President of the Family Federation, shared impassioned remarks urging all to join in the spirit of family renewal and national revival.
Dr. Kene Holiday, well-known actor and Hollywood evangelist, introduced the ministry and the endless sacrifices that have encompassed Father Moon's life course.
Dr. William Baker, President of Christians and Muslims for Peace, and a close associate of Dr. Robert Schuller, preached of the need for people of faith to unite around our many shared God-centered values.
Dr. Cheryl Lau, former Nevada Secretary of State and Fellow at Harvard's JFK School of Government urged the audience to listen carefully to the featured message.
Reverend Marion Bennett introduced Father Moon expressing his gratitude for his Holy Spirit experience in Korea where the founding of the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) took place. He noted that he had both seen and felt Father Moon's unique calling to bring the church together.
Following the "We Will Stand" video, the congregation gave a resounding welcome to the keynote preacher, Father Moon. He seemed very much at home in the Zion pulpit and the congregation responded naturally and enthusiastically following every word.
He spoke with conviction about the true nature of the Fall of Man. He made it clear to all that humankind's fallen lineage resulted from the failure of the first parents, and that world salvation was directly linked to the restoration of a hoped-for family of Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior.
After extended extemporaneous remarks, Father Moon quickly led the audience through the text of his prepared speech with simultaneous translation by Mr. Peter Kim.
Clergy members of ACLC then presented Father and Mother Moon with a towering 3 foot tall Nevada trophy carried by Minister Duke Muhammad, Reverend Terry Cox, Bishop A.J. Thompson and Reverend Donnell Horn.
Dr. Pouran Ameli, President of the Iranian-American Association presented Father Moon with a beautiful plaque from her members, and reminded the church of the many works of Mother Moon, as Founder of the Women's Federation for World Peace.
Dr. David Rowberry, Director of the Las Vegas Institute of Religion presented the couple with a beautiful wooden replica of the LDS "Proclamation of the Family" engraved in Korean.
Finally, Dr. Harry Newman, President of the Technical Institute of Biblical Studies, presented Father Moon with an honorary degree from his Institute.
Numerous model family and model community service awards were given out to local congregation members as well as the special gift of gold watches brought personally by Father Moon for several local ministers.
ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox news reports on the event saturated the 11:00 p.m. local news. For one moment in time the so-called glamour of the Las Vegas Strip was clearly outshone by the presence of a "Moon shining brightly over Vegas" .
It was indeed, a "victory for Heaven."
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