The Words of the Cotter Family
Dear, Beloved Brothers and Sisters,
Merry Christmas and Happy True God's Day from Rev. In Jin Moon and her family, Archbishop Ki Hoon Kim and from all of our national headquarters staff and family!
2009 has truly been a momentous year and we are so grateful that our True Parents have been able to spend time with us and that they have so much love and expectation for America in the next 3 years.
The advent of In Jin Nim's Lovin' Life Ministry in 2009 has brought extraordinary transformation and hope to our families across America. Through her love, wisdom and parental guidance (and absolute unity with our True Parents) she is ushering in a new era of growth for our American movement and unprecedented inspiration for our young people.
Last weekend in Chicago, In Jin Nim did a magnificent job of representing and speaking on behalf of True Parents at the 14th Annual True Family Values Banquet. She won the hearts of all of Chicago! Lovin' Life Ministries went LIVE in Chicago last Sunday for the first time, and over 1,000 gathered to hear her powerfully moving sermon.
What an incredible and historic way to conclude this year, with True Parents speaking in Las Vegas and In Jin Nim in Chicago! I have included the great report from last weekend from our Chicago District Director, Rev. David Rendel.
Please have a wonderful and a Merry Christmas with your beloved families!
God bless you.
The weekend of December 19 and 20, 2009 in Chicago was truly historic as the 14th True Family Values Ministry Awards Banquet and Lovin' Life Ministries Midwest Live events were celebrated at the historic Hilton Chicago Hotel. Even amidst extreme weather conditions and the weekend before Christmas, participation was outstanding and the spirit of True Parents' True Love was manifest in every activity!
The theme of this year's True Family Values Ministry Awards Banquet, "Honoring God's Pivotal Champions of Faith", was victoriously celebrated through the dynamic program on Saturday, December 19. The venue was the International Ballroom of the historic Hilton Chicago Hotel where over 1,000 participants gathered from throughout the Midwestern regions of America.
The program was skillfully guided by Master of Ceremonies Pastor Torrey Barrett of Life Center Church of God in Christ, son of Pastor T. L. Barrett, Jr., founding member of the American Clergy Leadership Conference. It began with an eloquent invocation delivered by Pastor Thomas Jackson of New Original Church of God in Christ in Chicago. Bishop Ki Hoon Kim then gave warm welcoming remarks and introduced True Father's Autobiography. Ms. Fannie Smith, Former Director of "One Thousand Churches Connected", Rainbow-PUSH Coalition offered a final blessing on the meal.
The International Ballroom was filled to capacity as the luncheon meal was served and the Lovin'’ Life Band began their highly-professional performance. Unlike the banquets in previous years, the participants comprised a high percentage of young people which created a fresh and vibrant spirit, further enhanced by the dynamic music of the band.
After the meal, greetings were given by Rev. Joshua Cotter, Executive Vice President of HSA America; Brother Thomas Muhammad, Chief of Protocol of the Nation of Islam; and Dr. Shirley Coleman, Former Alderwoman, City of Chicago. Each shared their heartfelt appreciation of the mission of the True Family Values Ministry and for True Parents as its Founders.
This year's True Family Values Award recipients were chosen from exemplary religious and civic leaders in Chicago who are nearing the end of their life's work due to their age. A secondary theme was to celebrate the next generation who are to build upon the foundations established by their predecessors. This was beautifully portrayed by the extraordinary performance of Walt Whitman and the Soul Children of Chicago, comprised of youth with ages ranging from seven to seventeen who are drug-free and maintain a "B" grade-point average in school. They began with an inspired version of "Joy to the World", followed by two more spirited songs which thrilled everyone with the precision and sincerity of their delivery.
In his deeply poignant congratulatory remarks, Rev. Leroy Elliott, Pastor of New Greater St. John Missionary Baptist Church, shared about his love and devotion to True Parents based on his many years of experience with them and our Movement. He explained that many have hesitated to accept the ministry and teachings of Father Moon simply because of their ignorance. “"But," he said, "my Bible teaches me that I can judge a tree by its fruit, and the fruit I've witnessed from Father and Mother Moon and the Unification Movement has been nothing but good! Therefore, I offer my deepest love and respect to them and for their work throughout the world!" He continued by applauding the ministry of Rev. In Jin Moon and asking God's blessing on her as she continues the mission of her parents.
The program continued with a greeting from Rev. Michael Jenkins, Chairman of the American Clergy Leadership Conference, and a brief explanation about the Toru Goto human rights violation case in Japan. He asked that all the participants fervently support efforts to safeguard human rights and religious freedom throughout the world, with the same conviction that they support the God-centered family.
Following the presentation of a Universal Peace Federation video, Mr. David Hunter gave a noble introduction to In Jin Nim as the keynote speaker, with explanations about her family and her mission. In Jin Nim then delivered a profound message, calling for a commitment to faith and good works, and to building "Generation Peace". Everyone throughout the ballroom was alert and listened intently to every word. She spoke with great dignity, poise and conviction, and connected everyone in heart and spirit with True Parents.
Four True Family Values Awards were presented by Rev. David Rendel, Chicago District Director, with the assistance of the Emcee, Archbishop Ki Hoon Kim and Rev. Joshua Cotter. The recipients included: Dr. James Bass, founder of Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church; Dr. Helen Cooper, founder of the Westside Center of Truth and Operation Brotherhood; Rev. A. I. Dunlap. Civil Rights activist and Pastor-Emeritus of the Cary Temple AME Church; and Ms. Margaret Burroughs, renowned poet, author and founder of the historic DuSable Museum of African-American History.
A fifth True Family Values Award recipient, Dr. Morton Kaplan, Distinguished Professor-Emeritus of the University of Chicago, attended the program but had to leave before the presentation due to his health. Upon his departure, he left a message stating, "When I heard that Rev. Moon was unable to attend today, I was so despondent that I missed him here in Chicago. I have never known love as deeply as that I have experienced with him, with the exception of my maternal grandfather. Please tell Rev. Moon that I love him!"
The main presentation, the "Lifetime Achievement Award" to True Parents, was presented by a distinguished group of religious and civil leaders, together with the True Family Values Award recipients. In Jin Nim was invited to the stage to receive the award as True Parents' Representative. Afterward, all the participants sang the "Happy Victory to You" song and In Jin Nim, with several representatives, cut the victory cake.
The program closed with a spirited musical finale from three-time Grammy Award winner, Pastor Darius Brooks and a benediction prayer by Rev. William Martin of Chance Ministries.
Following the benediction, throngs of participants gathered around In Jin Nim to greet her and express their thanks for her message. She patiently and lovingly greeted them all, often posing for photos, and extended her heart as a true mother, embodying the essence of her keynote address.
In Jin Nim truly made her mark in Chicago and we are grateful for God's great blessings on this event!
Minister Esther Hudson-Jackson, Central United Community Church, Chicago
“I recognized at first glance the tremendous effort and planning that was put into this event. I was so impressed, I smiled the entire time, my eyes shining like a kid's first time in a candy store. Everything was excellent!
I felt privileged to be allowed to attend such an event to listen to Rev. Moon. Words cannot express what a blessing it was. Her message went like an arrow straight into my heart; it was received and believed!”
Rev. Helen Cooper, True Family Values Award Recipient, Chicago
“It was such a thrill to be included in this historic program! The congregation was so enthusiastic, elated and inspired by Rev. In Jin Moon's words. I would love to meet her on a personal basis. I was also moved to be included among the other honorees; Dr. James Bass is a living legend in Chicago as are Dr. Margaret Burroughs and Rev. A. I. Dunlap. Thank you!”
Pastor Ernestine Harrington, New Light Vision Ministry, Detroit
“This is my first time attending and I cannot express the words of how I feel about this international fellowship. I no longer want to be a part of a church or an organization, but rather to be a part of God's Kingdom! Rev. Moon's message was extraordinary and again, my words cannot express my gratitude. Thank you again and may God continue to bless you and the True Family Ministry!”
Rev. A. I. Dunlap, True Family Values Award Recipient, Chicago
“If America were to take some lessons from Rev. Moon's family, there would once again be hope for this nation. The survival of America and of that of the world surely depends on the example that Father and Mother Moon are displaying.
This is especially true in our Black community. Following Rev. Moon's teachings would enhance what progress can be made toward world peace.
I am afraid that if America does not listen to Rev. Moon's teachings and follow his example, it may very well be headed toward destruction.
What I am most inspired by is that Rev. and Mrs. Moon are not just talking the talk, but they are leading us all by their own example.”
Evangelist Keisha Eubanks, Little Jerusalem COGIC, Chicago
“What impressed me most was how we all came together, regardless of race, color, creed or religion. I loved the way we greeted one another and showed love toward one another. And all the speakers and music brought so much joy!
Thank you for the opportunity to fellowship with you all once again!”
Mrs. Judith Crane Ross (Sister of former Congressmen Phillip and Daniel Crane), Chicago
“I attended the first Causa Conference in Phoenix in 1986. When the media cornered me many years later and asked whether I knew that Rev Moon was the sponsor of the American Leadership Conference, I said, “Yes, I know and I wish his teachings were taught in every public school in America!"
I loved today's program, which was my first again in many years. I apologize that I have had to take some time off to be with my eleven grandchildren. Please give my best wishes to Rev. and Mrs. for a happy, healthy 2010. Also, please extend my best wishes for a happy 91st birthday and my congratulations on the publication of his autobiography!”
Dr. Ellis May, Pastor, Professor-Emeritus and Ambassador for Peace, Chicago
“I’ve been with working with the Unification Movement for many years. I've traveled around the world proclaiming peace on behalf of Father Moon [120-Nation Tour], and I'm happy and proud to be here for this fantastic event! I am also very grateful that the work of Father and Mother Moon is now being securely advanced through the ministry of their daughter!”
Following the True Family Values Awards Banquet, hundreds of young people, parents and guests gathered in the Continental Ballroom below the International Ballroom for the first-ever Lovin' Life ballroom dancing instruction in Chicago! The session was directed by In Jin Nim's beautiful and graceful daughter, Ariana.
“"My wife and I were really surprised at how many people came to the ballroom dancing practice!" exclaimed one couple after the program. The ballroom was nearly filled, especially with young people. The instruction by In Jin Nim's daughter was very clear, focused and funny! We felt a lot of joy dancing together. This is a tremendous tradition for building a culture of respect, joy and true love among the couples within our community. Go Chicago and Dance!”
The Winter Gala, held in the International Ballroom on Saturday evening, was a wonderful time of celebration and fellowship for the over 400 participants. The setting was formal with a large dance floor in front of the stage surrounded by tables and two stations serving hors d'oeuvres. The participants of all ages (Unification families and many guests (mostly young people) were beautifully dressed in their dark suits and evening gowns.
The program began with relaxing and inspiring music from the Lovin' Life Band, followed by brief greetings from HSA-UWC America leaders, Mr. Jaga Gavin, Rev. Joshua Cotter, Rev. Sheri Reuter and Mrs. Heather Thalheimer. Mr. David Hunter did an excellent job as the Emcee. Later, in a beautiful ceremony, four outstanding second-generation young adults were presented Lovin' Life Ministries Excellence Awards for their exemplary leadership and characters. The recipients were selected by the youth leaders in Districts 6, 7 and 8. The ceremony was initiated by In Jin Nim to extend the heart and spirit of the True Family Values Awards to our youth. With each presentation, a brief biography of the recipient was read and a plaque was given directly by In Jin Nim. It was a moving experience and set a new precedent for future recognitions.
The final highlight was a beautiful ballroom dancing demonstration by Ariana Moon and her dance partner from Harvard. Their eloquence and grace was truly inspiring. It opened the way for all the participants to then dance throughout the remainder of the evening, in the first ballroom dancing event in Chicago which was truly magnificent! In Jin Nim's children lead the way as husbands and wives, fathers and daughters, and mothers and sons all shined through the beautiful dancing.
The finale of the weekend was the Lovin' Life Worship Service on Sunday morning, again held in the International Ballroom. It was a powerful program from beginning to end! It also had great historical significance as the first Lovin' Life live service in the Midwest and the first service to be broadcast live from a location other than New York City.
The service began with incredible spirit-filled music from the Lovin' Life Band. They are becoming increasingly powerful and their music is ministering in a profound way to our youth (and many parents too)!
In Jin Nim's sermon was delivered with great clarity, confidence and conviction, and the warmth of her spirit seemed to embrace the entire congregation of 1,100 family members and guests. She shared deeply about True Father's absolute and unwavering faith, particularly during his time in Heung-Nam Prison, and compared it with the lives of other pivotal champions of faith, Dr. Ann Brooks; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Nelson Mandela and Dr. Maya Angelou. Each chose to over-come circumstances in their lives by applying the strength of their spirit and faith in their God-given divinity. She encouraged all of us to do the same; to have the courage to love unconditionally and to be vulnerable to the transforming power of true love.
She recalled how True Mother used to tell her, "To dream is just the beginning; the rest is up to you!" Her words became even more poignant as she described an encounter in the midst of a difficult trial where she exclaimed to God, "Why me?", and God responded, "Why not you?" She realized that only by courageously facing challenges can we grow the strength of character to become a true child of God.
The sermon concluded with a spirited prayer from Rev. A. I. Dunlap, recipient of the 2009 True Family Values Award, in the style of the traditional African-American church. Pastor Jaga Gavin gave a beautiful message about the significance of tithing and its impact on our internal and external lives. A final video presentation of upcoming youth events in the Midwest excited everyone with its creativity and humor.
The Lovin' Life Band closed the program with the popular song, "Long Black Train" and the Lovin'” Life theme song, "Everlasting Love", with the young people exuberantly gathered together in front of the stage. For the next hour and a half, families formed a long line and met In Jin Nim personally, one by one, and In Jin Nim received each one with unconditional patience and love.
Mr. Walt Whitman, Founder and Director of the Soul Children of Chicago proclaimed, "I have never been to a worship service as remarkable as this, with the combination of heart, spirit and intellect. This is exactly what I have dreamed that a youth movement in America could be!"
Mrs. Annette Dixon, Publisher, Village View Newspapers
“I was attentive, I was in awe! The huge event still felt serene and, amazingly, it was a very peaceful celebration. I was elated to actually get to meet In Jin Nim because I was so inspired by her message. She speaks perfect English!
The service truly was inspiring and I enjoyed it very much. I must admit that I left the Hilton Hotel feeling that, "I love life now!"
Lana Sutker, 2G High School Student, Chicago
“Today I listened closely to the sermon and really liked how In Jin Nim said, "During your day, you just have to focus on God; concentrate on your faith and concentrate on what you believe in. Then you can grow from that point. However, if you don't concentrate on those things, you can't grow." This is such a simple and amazing understanding! I want to think about it every day!”
Rev. Kazuo Takami, 1G, Illinois State Director
"Every Sunday, I have been thinking how wonderful it would be to have a live broadcast with Lovin'’ Life. Today, my wish came true! I believe that Lovin' Life Midwest Live was a great success! "
One of our young Pastor guests told me that he was very surprised to learn about the illegal deprogramming activity in Japan. At the same time, he was very inspired by the concept of Generation Peace. The past two days have been a true celebration and I hope we do it the same way next year!”
Sholina Pierson, 2G High School Student, Chicago
“From today's sermon, I realized that when I want to look good for so and so, it is really bad! But to want to look good for God is really a good and deep thing. I'm going to really try to go for that and think about it every day. Thank you In Jin Nim. You move me!”
“I was very moved by In Jin Nim's message this morning. It really spoke to where I'm at now. I know that having strong belief and faith carries you through and that it should be unstoppable no matter what happens. However, endurance isn't something that has really been my strong suit, so I really felt that she was talking to directly to me! Thank you.”
Noriko Ogden, 1G, Wife
"I deeply appreciated In Jin Nim's message. It was very encouraging and practical. The stories she shared were applicable to my life of faith. This time I began to realize clearly that In Jin Nim is a person who practices what she speaks. I felt that she truly has overcome a lot of difficulties in her life. I now what to study her words more seriously and write down the key points so I can apply them more seriously in my life and deal with real issues. I believe that this will help my faith and spirit grow.”