Unification News for
NYC Family Federation Holds Ministers Luncheon
by Eric Holt,-NYC
Approximately 200 ministers and community leaders gathered at the beautiful Bridgewaters Restaurant in New York Citys South Street Seaport on Saturday, January 24, 1998, to partake of the culinary graces of God and to address the theme, "A Stable and Secure Family Culture". On this crisp New York afternoon, participants began arriving at the catering facility which was ornately decorated with boats and ocean-faring paraphernalia. The banquet hall afforded a breathtaking view of the New York Harbor.
After some spirited warm-up piano entertainment from a local clergyman, emcees Edner and Juanita Pierre-Louis opened the program and invited participants to begin a sumptuous lunch.
A little while later, Fannie Ladybird Ray, a former NAACP woman of the year, introduced Barney Webster from the Dance Theater of Harlem. Barney delighted everyone with his creative dance interpretations of "I Believe I Can Fly" (Rev. Al Sharptons theme song) and "Amazing Grace".
Before his speech Rev. Sharpton received a Family Federation Leadership Award, presented by Rev. Joong Hyun Pak, continental Director of the Family Federation for Unification and World Peace. Rev. Sharpton, alluding to the recent scandals plaguing the White House, cautioned clergy to "look in the mirror" before rushing to judge the President. He urged those present to work for resurrection of the family in New York by participating in Blessing 98 in New York. At the conclusion of his speech, Rev. Sharpton presented an award from the Coalition for Harmony to Rev. Pak
Linda Haft, a representative of Free Teens, an abstinence program for teens, offered an overview of a two-part slide presentation. Afterwards, several clergy signed up for a presentation in their churches.
In his keynote address, Rev. Pak reiterated several themes from his recent message to the Board of Directors of the National Baptist Convention. He reminded the audience of the history-making event on November 29, 1997 at RFK Stadium Blessing 97. Then, utilizing Biblical themes (Revelation 22, in particular), he explained why only "true families" can enter the Kingdom of God. God is love, and love exists in a relationship. God wants to live with us and to experience love with and through us. Joy and happiness come from the give and take of love fundamentally in a family. The family of God is the multi-colored love-race. Rev. and Mrs. Moon, through the inspiration of God, started the True Family World Movement, the centerpiece of which is the Blessing. On June 13, 1998, 360 million couples all around the world will rededicate their marriages. New York City will be one of the locations where this will take place. Rev. Pak exhorted those religious leaders present to join forces to bring this great moral revolution to New York.
Later, several community leaders from Harlem were recognized for their contributions to their communities. Harlem notables Ann Bradshaw, Ruby Kitchen and Preston Wilcox received handsome wooden plaques from the Family Federation.
The luncheon concluded after all participated in a toast of Holy Wine in which married couples pledged absolute fidelity to one another, and singles pledged sexual purity, preserving themselves for their future marriage partner. Everyone was urged to bring this marriage rededication Blessing to their local church and community.
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