Unification News for
True Mother in Chicago
by B. Russell Sucharoff-Chicago, IL
In Chicago we prepared for True Motherís visit by bringing together our Committee of Department leaders under the leadership of our regional director Bishop Ki Hun Kim. What has worked well through the past campaigns is our unity centering on the Christian Churches of Chicago.
What is changing is that many of our existing churches are opening up the doors to many new churches. While in years past we have connected with many key ministers through the ICC trips to Korea and the CAUSA conferences, our WFWP conferences, our True Family Values conferences and the Blessings have been opened up to the entire congregations. This has made a dramatic difference in our work with the churches.
For the past several years, each Tribal Messiah Couple has taken responsibility for a specific church. On every second Sunday we visit that church regularly as well as attending Wednesday night bible study and other special anniversary services. In essence we are becoming an integral part of their congregations.
Our campaign really began with the follow-up from the RFK Blessing. Our celebration on December 27th attracted over 1,000 participants and featured an address from Rev. Joong Hyun Pak.
In addition to this we have developed a monthly meeting with our key ministers on the final Saturday of every month. This began with about fifteen ministers and is ever developing. Our meeting at the end of March had over 200 participants and concluded with the blessing of all in attendance.
Our basic strategy was to mobilize the church community. We have the experience of gathering the church congregations through bus pick-ups.
In conjunction with the churches we focus on several areas of key individual and VIP guests. Through the month leading up to Motherís speech, we attended our churches every Sunday and then met as a community every Monday night.
This campaign offered a couple of unique challenges. First of all, our campaign leader under Rev. Kim, Rev. Michael Jenkins was asked by True Mother to be the M.C. for the program and travel with True Mother for the entire 16 city tour. This meant that many other members had to stand up and take more responsibility. Rev. Reiner Vincenz lead the guest mobilization working hand in hand with Chicagoís two great campaign ladies, Yukimi Lemont and Maria Helena Tonneyck. These two sisters have been continuously able to care for and love our key ministers. As a result the holy spirit has been able to come down with incredible results.
I apologize for not mentioning every name that helped-it was reported to True Mother that over 100 Tribal messiah families participated in the campaign. John Ogden once again managed the bus pick-ups. For this event over 50 churches filled up 39 busses. Since the event was on Friday night at 6:00 PM, Bob Wagner arranged for every guest to have a box lunch as they rode to the hotel.
And this event was not just on Friday night, but actually on Good Friday night. This imposed a special challenge in that nearly every one of the churches had their own Good Friday service scheduled. But through the miracle of the Holy Spirit and our own loving and serving of the church communities nearly all of our ministers were willing to re-schedule their services to an earlier time or consider Motherís speech as their Good Friday Service. I remember that someone insisted that we could never bring people to RFK if we had to leave on Thanksgiving night-yet we brought 2500 from Chicago. Likewise, the obstacle to having Mother speak on Good Friday night presented a challenge which God was able to overcome through our determination, persistence and absolute confidence.
In the end, Mother confirmed that over 3,000 guests had filled the Grand Ballroom of Chicagoís downtown Marriott Hotel to overflowing. Representatives from the U.S. Congress, the State of Illinois, the City of Chicago, the Nation of Islam, the Sikh Community, the Lutheran Church, the Baptist Church and the Church of God in Christ lined the stage to receive the gift of 3 of True Fatherís speech volumes from True Mother. Proclamations were lined up across the stage held high by proud second generation brothers and sisters. These letters of greeting proudly proclaimed and honored the Founders of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon. In all, 11 Proclamations and Letters of Greeting came from the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Governorís Office, the City of Chicago, the Mayor of Chicago, our U.S. Senator, U.S. Congressmen, the Coalition of Religious Leaders for Northern Illinois, and the South Shore Ministerial Alliance.
The program itself went beautifully guided by Rev. Jenkins and Mr. Salonen. Dr. Hycel B. Taylor, from Evanstonís reknowned Second Baptist Church delivered the invocation. Mrs. Myra Stanecki especically flew in to Chicago to read the speech entitled "True Parents" and did an excellent job. Then it was our True Motherís turn to take the stage.
The congregation was geared up and ready to receive her. Ever since the RFK Blessing, so many of these guests have had the single minded desire to receive True Parents in their own Home Town-Chicago. True Mother read her powerful speech to a resounding and continuous chorus of Amen, Praise the Lord and Hallelujah. When she finished she received a standing ovation throughout the entire ballroom.
Mother then received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from one of our RFK newly blessed couples, Dwayne and June Luckett as well as 2 special plaques from the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Coalition of Religious Leaders, a group of over 30 of the most eminent religious leaders in Illinois.
Mother then gave out the eight gifts to our distinguished guests and then invited them all to immediately join our celebration.
The cake cutting, phone hook up with True Father, testimonies, singing and dancing lasted for hours. Our U.S. Congressman, a graduate of CAUSA, Religious Freedom and Parents Day events, joined us and spoke lovingly and gratefully to both of our True Parents. Major General Ted Sorensen, the Illinois President of the American Freedom Coalition and himself a Korean War veteran joined many of the ministers, guests and Chicagoís growing second generation as we once again filled the celebration room to overflowing.
One after one, starting with Dr. Amos Waller, who was responsible for bringing over 600 guests from several of his Baptist Coalition of Churches, the ministers began to sing gospel songs for True Parents.
Rev. C.L. Sparks offered a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace, Pastor Connie Banza and her sister Sheila Sims equally sang and praised our True Parents and then everyone broke into song and dance.
The evening concluded with several songs from our True Parents, both in Korean and in English. When we finally began to sing Tong-Il, we were interrupted as True Father began singing yet another song even though True Mother was imploring him that it was late and time to go to bed.
Saturday morning found us all gathered in Motherís suite for Hoon Dok Hwe. The room was filled with CARP members who had brought 3 busses of university students, professors and members of the Filipino community. In addition, the CARP members visited all of the embassies in Chicago. Afterward Mother spoke to us for 30 minutes about the importance of learning Korean and the importance of educating our children from the earliest age in the language of the True Parents. Mother was totally serious and gave us exact instructions.
Once again, the City of Chicago provided a Police escort for True Motherís motorcade to and from the airport. Thus, immediately after breakfast, photographs and program signing, Mother was whisked off to the airport.
Mother waved good-bye and after taking several more pictures in the airplane, Mother was airborne, bound for the next days program in Seattle.
Now the ministers are focusing of the Madison square Garden Blessing on June 13th. We are planning a celebration banquet as a kickoff event as we march forward 2 months from today toward the Victory of the 360 million couple blessing.
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