Unification News for November 1996
True Family Values Ministry
by Gregg Jones-Timonium, MD
I'd like to offer a short testimony of outreach efforts to ministers. Shortly after the True Family Values Ministry programs began, I started meeting and inviting ministers to workshops in Washington, D.C. Through June, July and part of August, I visited over 50 churches, finding several with whom I've been able to build a sincere relationship. After going to Alaska in response to Father's call to seminarians, I came back with a renewed understanding of my covenant with God and True Parents, and America-especially Christianity. I made effort to be in the front row to hear Father's words. At one point, True Father looked down over me with tears in his eyes, imploring me with the question "How much do you love this country?" I realized that I needed to question myself and renew my love for God and my nation.
When I came back and began doing the ministerial outreach work again, I had a deeper feeling of closeness with Father, and a deeper understanding of his motivation and purpose for these seminars. Also, I gained a clearer understanding of my shortcomings and a greater determination to overcome them in order to do this outreach work. One minister responded and signed shortly after I returned. I asked my wonderful wife Kyoho to make calls and set up appointments for me.
The first appointment I went to was in the heart of Baltimore. I drove down the street looking for the church among the boarded-up row- houses. The neighborhood looked like a war zone. I ran quickly to the church and rang the bell to get in out of the rain and away from would-be muggers! I came in and sat in the lobby waiting to meet the minister. The walls were covered with photos, spanning over 40 years' time. Marriage ceremonies, families, gatherings of all sorts, soldiers in uniforms, etc., were displayed from ceiling to floor. Obviously, these were pictures of a congregation of love, of a pastor who loved his people. Soon I was invited into the pastor's office. He was an older black man with tape on one eye to hold it open. I acknowledged that I could see his church was in the middle of the battlefield, fighting for goodness. I told him I respected his work for God. I shared with him about the True Family Values Ministry seminars. I told him that these seminars were supported and inspired by Rev. Sun Myung Moon. He knew of another minister who had attended an ICC seminar. He received what I shared with humility and openness. He sadly agreed that families are not doing well. Also he nodded as he shared that we must be more united as Christians to address the needs of our communities. I shared with him that through this seminar we gain important understandings about how to build good marriages and families as foundations for our communities. I mentioned that the Bible does not mention much about family life. He then got up and called his secretary to come in. He told her to bring in the assistant pastor, the deacon, anyone who was around. He said, "I want you all to hear what Rev. Jones has to share." When they came, he said: "You know, I feel that we need more than the Bible. People today need something that they can relate to in order to help them in their own situations. What do you think?" I brought up the famous quote of Jesus that the time will come "when I will speak to you plainly of the Father." I shared more about Rev. Moon's calling at the age of 15 and his absolute dedication to end God's suffering and Jesus' grief. I shared with them about his suffering course to bring his message to the world, especially to Christianity. Finally, this humble laborer for God decided he would attend. The assistant pastor, her daughter and the deacon all registered to come.
This past week we had a wonderful gathering of our community Unificationists and a Baptist pastor with five of his congregants. This pastor responded to the call for ministers to come to the seminars through a mailing. I went to the workshop when I heard that this Baltimore minister was attending. During meal times we developed a friendship. He told me he had gone to a Catholic seminary, though he is Baptist, to get the best theological education. He was deeply moved by the seminar. He said to me, "You know, in these four days I've gained a more profound understand than in 30 years of study." At the seminar, he revealed to me, "I was observing how you all relate to one another. I was deeply impressed by how you get along. Black and white, oriental and Western, you all related so naturally." He purchased Young Oon Kim's Unification Theology after the seminar.
Since the seminar, I've visited his church several times. He said to me, "The Unification Church is on to something, but I have not figured it out yet." The first time I joined their prayer service, his deacon suggested they all come to my church some time. I took her up on the offer and we had a wonderful meeting at my house Oct. 16. We sang songs, all shared something about ourselves, and then I introduced them to the Family Federation for World Peace. He asked a sincere question towards the end of our meeting. He said, "Rev. Gregg, I love the idea of unification, but how do we remain autonomous yet unified? How do we keep our identity?" We came to the conclusion that we find our identity as God's sons and daughters more fully as we work together, shedding those barriers which have kept us apart. It's a great blessing we have to take this responsibility. We need to have Father's heart, Father's mind, Father's motivation. I have never felt closer to Fathers than in reaching out to ministers. Father's prayers, his heart, his spirit is with me when I go. I have five church leaders coming for the next seminar. I know if we all could give ourselves more fully to God, His power could be unleashed. Rev. Moon has said in the past, "I am not the one bringing about unification. God is going to do it Himself! God created this world as one unity and harmony. All we have to do is restore it.... All you have to do is let God come into your hearts and use you as His instrument. The question is not whether unity is possible, it is whether we have God in our hearts or not." AMEN! Let's liberate God to live inside us so we can liberate our Heavenly Father, True Parents, our elder brother Jesus and all humanity.
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