Unification News for June 1998
Blessing in Chicago
by B. Russell Sucharoff-Chicago, IL
At a recent conference, the Reverend Dr. Samuel Bradford, pastor of the Shiloh AME Church in East St. Louis gave an incredible testimony. Pastor Bradford stated that he became all choked up when he realized that God had sent a Korean missionary to America in order to save the American family. Rev. Bradford stated, "I thank God for a man such as Rev. Moon. God gave him the plan to call us to repentance; to call the family to get back together; and to call all races to come together." Rev. Bradford is a graduate of the Korean ICC trips from over 10 years ago. And he is also a graduate of the persecution when one’s soul is put to the fire for working hand in hand with that Korean missionary.
On June 12th, Pastor Bradford boarded a plane in the early morning hours in East St. Louis to join over 120 ministers from Chicago in order to attend the Blessing ceremony at Madison Square Garden. It was to be the third event in a 6 month period including the RFK Blessing and True Mother’s speech in Chicago.
In the interim Chicago also hosted a ministerial banquet at which Rev. Joong Hyun Pak addressed over 1000 participants of the RFK Blessing and for the past 2 months our members have been visiting their adopted churches nearly every Sunday in preparation for coming to Madison Square Garden.
As a result, 14 busses full of inspired and excited church members set out from Chicago on Thursday night and headed straight for the Statue of Liberty and Madison Square Garden.
One serious advancement with the Christian Church providence in Chicago has been our members investment and involvement with their adopted churches. Whereas in the past, our relationship was primarily and often almost exclusively with the Pastors and Ministers, ever since the Women’s Conferences and True Family Values Conferences, more and more of the church elders, deacons and leaders have become involved in our conferences. As a result, we are really becoming part of the church congregation, rather than just an occasional visitor.
The mobilization for MSG was unique in many ways. Many of our churches were in the midst of their June celebrations-graduations, anniversaries, banquets and conventions. And most especially, while Rev. Ki Hun Kim’s right hand man, the Rev. Michael Jenkins had been called to travel with True Mother during her 16 City campaign in April, Rev. Kim himself along with Mrs. Yukimi Lemont were now called to New York City to work with Rev. Pak directly. Thus, all the processes that we have practiced over the years were now called to be put into place. In other words, we were called to follow the Principle, not just the person.
Because of our church visitation schedule our community would meet every Monday night at our church. 2 weeks before MSG we were addressed by Rev. Amos Waller, Rev. LeRoy Elliott and Rev. Johnny Dodd. This special experience where Rev. Waller called on each one of us to ‘tune-up" his spiritual life left us all re-charged and ready to drive on to MSG. Likewise, Rev. Elliott challenged us by stating that if we filled our hearts with faith there would be no room for doubt to enter.
The following week’s gathering centered on an old friend, the Rev. and Sister Bennie Smothers. Rev. Smothers had been adopted by a recently blessed couple, Dwayne and June Luckett. On the Monday night before MSG the Smothers family brought their church choir and stirred up our Ashland Church Center like never before. They had our members shouting "hallelujah" and ‘Praise the Lord" and singing "Get-Get-get-get-get on the Lord’s Side" while singing in the aisles.
With this heavenly energy flowing and the incredible commitment of our couples to commit not only time and energy, but financial support-beyond the maximum required by God, we were able to send an inspired contingent to MSG for June 13th.
Upon our arrival in New York, we gathered at the Manhattan Center for a "Family-Summit Banquet" which lasted until nearly midnight. Our members filled nearly every square foot of the Manhattan Center where we were addressed both eloquently and powerfully by Dr. Hycel B. Taylor, renowned Pastor of Evanston, Illinois’ Second Baptist Church. On Saturday, Dr. Taylor would offer a beautiful prayer at the Blessing Ceremony representing Protestant Christianity. Likewise, Dr. Paul Swanson, Professor Emeritus from Chicago’s Lutheran School of Theology offered a scholarly and heartistic prayer as one of the religious leaders praying at the blessing ceremony. Dr. Swanson is a 15 year veteran of our Unification Conferences. He has attended CAUSA, ICC, Theological conferences at UTS, True Parents speeches in Chicago, True Family Values and the RFK blessing. I believe that each of these theological scholars and soldiers in the army of Christ would express their personal, collective and historical heartistic perspective on man’s relationship with God.
We were grateful that 2 of our Pastors and one youth Choir Director, Dr. Amos Waller, Pastor Constance Banza and Ms. Debra Nicholson were selected to receive 3 of the special service awards during the first phase of the Blessing Ceremony. After the presentation, they did not want to put the plaques down
and they sat with the plaques on their laps for the remainder of the ceremony.
As a community we are grateful to the guidance and leadership of Rev. Pak who has invested so much in our Chicago Ministerial Community and to Rev. Ki Hun Kim who has totally committed himself to bringing victory for God on a national level. Our ministers are growing through every campaign and our community is coming ever closer together as we march forward toward the successful completion of the 360 million couples blessing.
Yesterday was Father’s Day and our community joyfully welcomed Rev. Ki Hun Kim back to Chicago. In the midst of the celebration, Rev. Kim delivered a very poignant message to the Chicago Community. He told us that God is so grateful for the sacrifice and suffering which we endured during the MSG campaign. For it is precisely on the foundation of this sacrifice and suffering that God was able to push the Providence forward.
Likewise, as the bus captains and campaign coordinators gathered together last week to share information and de-brief regarding the undertaking of bringing 14 busses filled with ministers and congregations to New York, a deep spirit of unity and harmony pervaded. Truly this undertaking has brought our community closer and closer together.
More than anything each campaign, each Providential program and each undertaking has combined to bring our Chicago Community that much more closer to becoming a True Family of God.
And it is with this heart that we will go forward this summer-forward toward the February, 1999 Blessing of 240 million couples -- forward toward the completion of the 360 million couples Blessing and forward, continuing to get more and more involved with the Christian community in Chicago.
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