Unification News for November 1999

Chicago Holds Hoon Dok Hae Seminar for Ministers

B. Russell Sucharoff
Chicago, IL

Rev. Michael Jenkins had barely stepped off the plane returning from the 2nd Hoon Dok Hae Conference in Washington, D.C. when he turned to our Chicagoland Bishop, Rev. Ki Hoon Kim and remarked with incredible enthusiasm, "We should have a Hoon Dok Hae seminar for ministers right here in Chicago."

The remark was standing on the foundation of an incredible weekend in Washington, D.C; reading, discussing and reflecting on the words, the vision, the prayers and the heart of our True Parents 50 years of public ministry. Dr. Hycel B. Taylor (Pastor of Evanston's Second Baptist Church and former National Director of Operation PUSH) and Dr. Paul Swanson (Professor Emeritus of Family Counseling from the Lutheran School of Theology at the University of Chicago) who had each been selected to offer prayers representing American Protestant Christianity at the Madison Square Garden Blessing ceremony had each attended this seminar in Washington, D.C. Dr. Taylor had eloquently addressed the entire conference and Dr. Swanson had been an active participant. Joining them were a number of distinguished Clergymen from the Chicago area as well as former Ambassador Joseph Amamoo from Ghana. Of course, the most exciting part of the conference was the fact that True Parents themselves came to the final banquet and True Father addressed the distinguished participants.

Upon the confirmation that True Parents would in fact be present, Rev. Jenkins requested that several additional ministers could fly in at the last minute to be present for Father's remarks. So on but a few hours notice, several ministers left immediately after their Sunday Sermons and hopped on at 1:40 pm airplane which allowed them to arrive at the Sheraton National Hotel's banquet room just in time to receive Rev. Kwak's opening remarks as he prepared to introduce our True Parents to the audience. One minister, Rev. Olivia Jones, who has been with us "through it all" over the past 15 years said that she literally arrived, preached and departed "faster than a speeding bullet" in order to arrive on time for the closing banquet. I mention Rev. Jones, because every year in her anniversary bulletin, she states "I want to especially thank Rev. and Mrs. Moon and my Unification Church family for the opportunity to travel extensively throughout the world. And let us continue our journey with God to the end." Rev. Jones is also so proud of the fact that when she traveled to Korea and Japan on the ICC tours, hers was the only conference in which True Father addressed the ministers personally.

So on the foundation of this exciting conference in Washington, D.C., in which True Father himself, gave the keynote address to close out the conference, Rev. Jenkins and Rev. Kim began to prepare for Chicago's first Hoon Dok Hae Conference. Amazingly, a little more than 48 hours later, more than 40 members of the clergy were gathered at the Ramada Inn on Chicago's beautiful lakefront to begin the conference.

It was a very simple conference, convening at 9:00 am on Wednesday morning and concluding after a beautiful luncheon. After the welcoming reception, the program began with a very moving prayer from Rev. James Bass, the Pastor of Mt. Olive Baptist Church and opening remarks from our Bishop, Ki Hoon Kim. We then began the conference by reading Father's speech entitled "True Families as the Foundation for World Peace in the New Millennium." Rev. A. I. Dunlap, Shepherd of the Mt. Olive African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and myself took turns reading Father's speech. After completing the speech, responses were presented from Dr. Paul Swanson and Ambassador Joseph Amamoo. Afterwards, the panel which also included Rev. Michael Jenkins (our host and M.C.) entertained questions from the ministers in the audience.

A lively discussion followed as several of the ministers brought up topics related to the speech that we had just finished reading. We talked about the role of grandparents, parents and children in a healthy family. Dr. Swanson remarked that "only as we can forgive our parents, can we accept ourselves." Ambassador Amamoo remarked about how the churches are challenged to meet the needs of their families.

Ambassador Amamoo talked about how churches are often failing to address the real problems and challenges of their congregants. We discussed many of the difficulties that are attacking our society and began to form strategies which can be implemented through the cooperation of our church community.

In a similar spirit to the conference in Washington D.C., many of the participants offered praise and gratitude to our True Parents for their efforts to bring the American Family back to a God-centered life-style.

Personally for me, the most moving aspect of the Washington, D.C. conference was to hear the testimony of so many of the ministers, professors and theologians as they gave honor and praise to our True Parents. After years and years of negativity, it was so incredibly inspiring to hear these world famous scholars speaking so respectfully about our True Parents. One Chinese Scholar even presented True Parents with a beautiful ancient bell. He then explained that this bell was to be rung in order to announce the coming of the Messiah. He then preceded to ring the bell as he presented it to our True Parents.

And in a very similar spirit, the Chicago ministers truly gave great credit and honor to the works of our True Parents. Many of the ministers at the conference have been fighting along side our True Parents for nearly twenty years. Like Rev. Jones, Rev. M. Earle Sardon has participated in probably every UC activity since CAUSA and Common Suffering. Rev. Sardon will be celebrating his 88th birthday soon and he is looking forward to celebrating True Father's 80th birthday with him in Korea.

Our conference concluded with a beautiful luncheon where the ministers continued to discuss the ideas that were presented through Rev. Moon's speech. Copies of the Hoon Dok Hae book "True Parents" and Dr. Lee's book were distributed to all the participants. A good time was had by all and we immediately began to prepare for the next Hoon Dok Hae conference with the agreement that we would continue to meet once a month

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