Unification News for May 2001

April 8 - Columbia, South Carolina

The 42nd day of the "We Will Stand" 50-state interfaith and revival tour drew a capacity crowd of 600 to the Adam's Mark Hotel in downtown Columbia. A fellowship of 120 ministers from 17 denominations formed the American Clergy Leadership Conference which is the core sponsor of this unique crusade.

After the invocation by Reverend Tony Gordon, Ferguson Grant AME Zion Church (Cayce, South Carolina), a mass choir composed of five different choirs got the assembled into the spirit of joy and praise.

Included in the audience were 150 Christian ministers as well as Minister Earl Mohammed of the Nation of Islam and Imam Idris Mohammed of the Muslim American Society.

"We support any effort of unity and family," stated Minister Muhammad earlier in the press. "The aim is to break down the walls of racism, and South Carolina is, in my opinion, one of the most racist states in the United States."

He also expressed his opinion that only a thin, doctrinal line divides Christianity and Islam.

The Freedom, Faith and Family Awards were then presented to various organizations and individuals from around the state. Dr. Alma Byrd, a former state legislator and professor at Benedict College; Dr. Carl Evans, Chairman of the Religious Department at the University of South Carolina; Pastor Dr Julia M. Lakin, Unity Evangelistic Church; the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Charleston; Mrs. Henrietta Squirewell; and the Born Again Church of Jesus Christ Apostolic were all recognized for their years of service to the people of South Carolina.

Because it was Palm Sunday all of the ministers who were traveling with Father Sun Myung Moon were unable to take care of their churches and get to the program on time. Fortunately, The Honorable Donzella James, Georgia State Senator, stepped in at the last minute. She gave an inspired speech that set the tone for the evening.

Reverend Lloyd Norris, pastor emeritus and founder of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Baptist Church in Columbia, was also present.

"I have an ecumenical edge that enables me to relate with people of other faiths and religions that many of my Baptist colleagues don't share," Norris said. "But the world is moving in a direction where interfaith religion is almost going to be required."

Senator James proudly introduced the featured preacher after a brief biographical video.

Father Moon was very warmly greeted and his words were met with many shouts of encouragement. He spoke from his heart for about an hour and a half then read only the last section of his prepared speech. His busy schedule required that he catch a flight to New York that evening.

After his sermon, flowers were presented to both Father and Mother Moon by Dr. Alma Byrd and her husband. Father Moon and his wife then presented the flowers to David and Sanae Doose of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification in Charleston.

Special commemorative gold watches were presented to Reverend Willis T. Goodwin, President of the Charleston Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, and Reverend Edward McClain, Calvary AME Church of North Charleston.

Regional report

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