Unification News for January 1999
Chicago Stages 3rd Annual TFV Awards Banquet
by Rich Lemont and B. Russell Sucharoff -- Chicago, IL
God certainly works in mysterious ways. As we are learning in Chicago, we must respond to the anointing of the Holy Spirit-this is our personal portion of responsibility. In this vein, God inspired Rev. Ki Hoon Kim to hold our 3rd annual True Family Values Banquet on December 26th, the day after Christmas. Of course, many people thought that it was crazy to expect that people would get on a bus on Thanksgiving evening in order to take a 20 hour bus ride to Washington, D.C. And yet 40 busses were filled to capacity to bring the Chicago Christian community to RFK on November 29th, 1997. And many felt that it would be impossible to fill an auditorium on Good Friday as True Mother's Hoon Dok Hae Tour came to Chicago on May 13, 1998. And yet over 3,000 guests filled the Grand Ballroom of the Marriott Hotel in Chicago to overflowing. In fact, many key ministers actually canceled their own scheduled Good Friday Services in order to join with us for this exciting event. And the audience included elected officials, from the Federal, State and City government, university and seminary professors, international ambassadors and many of the leading clergymen and women throughout the midwest. So if God had inspired Rev. Kim to hold our True Family Values Banquet the day after Christmas, who were we to doubt that God would perform great miracles if we united with the inspiration.
A TFV seminar was staged before the banquet and over 50 people attended. Again, in spite of the fact that some believed it was impossible to expect ministers to come at 10:00 am the morning after Christmas, Rev. Rich Lemont and Rev. Ernest Hamilton taught 2 TFV lectures to ministers from a number of churches who were inspired by the truth in the seminar and indicated they wish to have similar programs at their churches in the near future.
Bishop Joong Hyun Pak flew in from New York City and joined COGIC Bishop Ocie Booker as the keynote speakers for the event. The banquet was held in a beautiful banquet hall on the southwest side of Chicago. The ministers were treated to a beautiful reception and then proceeded in filling up nearly 60 tables throughout the banquet hall.
National and regional leaders from the American Constitution Committee also flew in for the event which included presentations of the `1998 "Parents of the Year" award and the "United to Serve America" (USA) Distinguished Service Award.
During his keynote address COGIC Bishop Ocee Booker testified strongly to TFV Ministry and said that we all need TFV and that TFV is beyond denomination or nation or race.
Bishop Joong Hyun Pak spoke about how the TFV Ministry and our time on earth is a preparation for the spirit world.
One unique facet about this event is that it was the first time that we have ever charged for tickets. At $35 per ticket or $350.00 per table, our TFV ministry was right in line with similar events throughout the Christian community. Many of our ministers cheered us on, supporting our efforts to assimilate to the culture of the Christian Church. Showing support for your brother's anniversary, birthday or annual banquet is the way of life in the Christian Community. As a result our banquet proved to be a financial success and we were able to make an offering to True Parents on True God's Day in Uruguay.
Ministers attended from many of the states in our region as well as ministers and Church Leaders from all over America. Rev. Godwin DiSilva and Rev. Jack Ashworth came representing Rev. In Hoi Lee in Los Angles.
The program itself, was quite full in every respect. Illinois State Director, Rev. Lloyd Hudson introduced the program. Rev. T.L. Barrett, Jr. and Rev. Michael Jenkins served as Co-M.C.'s for the event. Rev. Helen Cooper offered a beautiful invocation and the participants were then welcomed by Chicago Regional Director, Bishop. Ki Hoon Kim. COGIC Superintendent Pastor Thomas Jackson also joined the Head Table and offered the prayer before dinner.
After lunch, Jim & Shirley Duncan, faithful members of the 2nd Baptist Church of Evanston, received the 1998 "Parents of the Year" Award. The award was presented by Mr. Michael C. Smith, the National President of the American Constitution Committee. Rev. Walter Turner, President of Chicago's Southside Organization of the National Baptist Convention received the USA Distinguished Service Award which was presented by Major General Ted W. Sorensen, former National President of the Reserve Officers Association (ROA) and National Member of the American Leadership Conference Board of Directors.
After being magnificently entertained by the Japanese Women's True Family Values Choir in their beautiful Japanese kimonos and the beautiful voices of Mrs. Kathleen Sometani (WFWP President) and Mr. Ray Figueroa, the awards continued as the True Family Values Ministry awarded Rev. and Mrs. Leroy Elliott, Sister Claudette Muhammad and COGIC Bishop and Mrs. Bennie Allison with the distinguished TFV awards for 1998.
After the conclusion of the keynote speech all participants gathered as the TFV Ministry offered memorial tributes to Bishop Robert L. Ford and Rev. Dr. Amos Waller each of whom recently made their ascension to the Spirit World. Both ministers have been long time friends and both participated in the June 13th Blessing at Madison Square Garden. They will be greatly missed.
After nearly 3 hours of spirit filled festivities, Rev. Hycel B. Taylor of the Evanston's Historic 2nd Baptist Church was joined by his incredible Minister of Music, Mr. Eddie Drummond in a spirit filled rendition of "O Holy Night."
And the program was closed out by Dr. Paul Swanson, professor Emeritus from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, who along with Dr. Taylor had offered the 2 prayers representing Christianity at Madison square Garden.
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