Articles From the July 1994 Unification News
Huntsville Apostolic Church Hosts DP Presentation
Wayne Despres-Spartanburg, SC
Unification Church representatives from Regions Three and Four joined forces with a prominent Christian leader in the Southeast to co- sponsor a first-time presentation of the Divine Principle to more than one hundred members of his congregation on June 20 and 21 in Huntsville, Alabama.
Reverend Enzo LaRocca, State Leader in South Carolina, organized the "Regional Youth Leadership Seminar" at the request of Bishop John W. Barber, founder of the Born Again Church of Christ, Apostolic, headquartered in Dillon, South Carolina. Deeply troubled over the burgeoning moral crisis among American youth, and recognizing Reverend Moon's striking success in separating Unification Church members from these destructive influences, Bishop Barber urged Reverend LaRocca to arrange for Reverend Kevin McCarthy to deliver this special presentation.
"I'm constantly trying to get my young people to understand more about the fall, and about resurrection," said Bishop Barber, who has four sons of his own, as well as an adopted son and daughter, and 14 grandchildren. "And this was good-very good. I definitely enjoyed it. And the young people themselves are constantly talking about it, too, especially the first day, when he talked about the fall." Bishop Barber, who presides over more than 90 churches in America and abroad, is a 1988 graduate of the Interdenominational Conferences for Clergy.
Although this initial gathering was composed of Bible students of all ages, the specific long-term goal is to prepare qualified youth leaders to guide other young people during this time of relentless attack on morality in society.
Participants arrived from as far away as coastal North Carolina-almost a thousand miles, and 12 grueling hours by bus. Some got there Sunday evening, June 19; others traveled day and night Sunday, arriving tired and hungry on Monday. Nevertheless, obedient to Bishop Barber's direction, they all took their places without hesitation and prepared to hear something new.
Reverend McCarthy, as expected, was a most informative and inspiring instructor, sharing insights that had new students and Unificationists alike scribbling frantically in their notebooks. Significant points came through loud and clear, stimulating special interest among the faithful long-time Bible students. There was, they realized, more to the Bible than they had previously thought.
The congregation was divided into eleven sub-groups, which gathered at mealtime to discuss the lectures. Supervision of each group was shared by one Unificationist and one leader from the Bishop's group. Unificationists did what Unificationists love most-answering questions and talking freely about The Principle.
Good entertainment always helps the atmosphere, but we had no idea what kind of treat was in store. Many workshop students were also members of Bishop Barber's choir, and between lectures they poured forth some truly excellent compositions. Judging by the high degree of precision and harmony, these young people had obviously invested a lot of their heart in perfecting their offerings. Joshua Cotter, ACC coordinator for Alabama, sang a few songs of his own, bringing the whole congregation to their feet several times, clapping and singing along to wonderful songs they never heard before, but loved right away. Bishop Barber's group even brought their own food-and the cooks to prepare it! Food for the spirit, and food for the body. We dined on some of the finest Southern cooking one could hope for.
Among the several outstanding attendees of the seminar was the Reverend Dr. Babs Phillips, former personal assistant to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Mrs. Phillips was elated at the turnout and the contents of the entire program. "It was the best I've been to, and I've been to many," she said. "The teachings were very well explained. We really need to have more of these across the country. We really need to help get young people's minds on something positive." Mrs. Phillips, who currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia, has visited 16 states as an advisor and speaker for the Women's Federation for World Peace. Her book on her experiences with Dr. King, "The Agenda of a Sacrificial Lamb," is expected to be published by April of next year.
The seminar cultivated a strong desire for more personal Divine Principle instruction. One request that kept coming up in my group was: "Don't you have these seminars on a smaller level-like for ten or fifteen people at a time?" In fact, at least 20 of the 104 workshop guests expressed interest in following through soon with a seven-day workshop. Fully 50% said they intend to study Level 4. Several wanted audiotapes of the complete Divine Principle, and were ready to pay for them on the spot!
Unification Church members who shared group leader responsibilities at the seminar were: Rev. Helgi Hardarson, assistant to Region 4 director, Atlanta, GA; Mr. Tom Cutts, Marietta, GA; Rev. Ocie Crawford, Alabama state leader, Birmingham, AL; Mr. Joshua Cotter, Mobile, AL; Rev. Hugh Dussek, North Carolina state leader, Charlotte, NC; Mr. Howard Self, Charlotte, NC; Mr. and Mrs. Kirtley Jones, Charlotte, NC; Mr. Gerry Olson, Charlotte, NC; Rev. Enzo LaRocca, South Carolina state leader, Columbia, SC; and Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Despres, Spartanburg, SC.
Unificationists themselves appeared delighted to share a project with a neighboring region. Reverend Hardarson commented: "When we have an opportunity like this, it's wonderful to pool our resources and gather together. We don't have this opportunity very often. It felt good. It was a very refreshing experience."
This initial gathering was the start of what is hoped to be an ongoing series of such cooperative study programs between the Unification Church and the Born Again Church.
When asked if he would like to do this again, Bishop Barber replied: "Definitely."
After the Youth Leadership Seminar, Bishop Barber's group remained in Huntsville for the national convention of his church. They will visit the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center on Saturday before returning home.
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