The Words of the Rendel Family
The American Clergy Leadership Conference National Convention was held at the Wyndham O’Hare Hotel in Chicago from May 29-31, 2008. It would be a gathering of many of the top ACLC ministers from all across America and would be held in conjunction with its 8th Anniversary Banquet, which would immediately follow the three-day convocation. The theme of the convocation was “Rebuild the Family, Restore the Community and Renew the Nation and the World.”
On May the 29th, over 150 ministers from all over America began arriving in Chicago.
After the opening luncheon, Rev. Levy Daugherty presented the Principle of Creation in depth to the assembled ministers and ACLC District coordinators.
This was followed by Mr. Robert Sayre, Assistant Director for Character Education under the Universal Peace Federation, who presented an excellent talk on Character Education. Afterwards, there was ample time for questions and answers.
The evening provided a wonderful welcoming dinner. ACLC National Chairman Bishop KI Hoon Kim and ACLC National Co-Presidents Archbishop George Augustus Stallings and Bishop Jesse Edwards each spoke to the gathering. They each offered a vision of not only where the ACLC has come in the 8 short years, but also where it is going and its critical relationship to the future of America.
On Friday after a deep and wonderful Hoon Dok Hae Session, ACLC National Executive Board Member Rev. Bennit Hayes, Pastor of the Gloryland Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, led the morning devotions. Rev. Hayes spoke from Philippians 2:5 (Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.) He preached about living for the sake of others; how love isn’t love until you give it away; and how Jesus chose disciples who had the capacity of being humble. It proved to be a joyful and powerful morning.
After breakfast, Vice -- President of the Family Federation-USA and Director of the Education Department Rev. Phillip Schanker would present the next two lectures.
Rev. Schanker delivered the Human Fall with incredible depth and clarity. The PowerPoint slides had just been created and were both beautiful and exciting to view. But most of all, the passion with which Rev. Schanker spoke moved the entire congregation continuously. As the graphics continue to improve and the lectures continue to evolve, the ministers are understanding each lecture to greater depths than ever before.
After a break, Rev. Schanker continued the lecture and then moved on to “The Last Days and Resurrection. ‘Again, his passion and zeal continued to inspire the audience. The time set aside for questions and answers proved to be very exciting for all the participants.
After lunch Minister Reiko Jenkins, Rev. Tanya Edwards and Bishop Shirley Cotton presented the Women In Ministry to the audience. This is one of the fastest growing ministries within the American Clergy Leadership Conference.
An entirely new presentation, titled “Jesus’ Peace Teachings as seen through the Gospel of Matthew,” was presented by Dr. Andrew Wilson, Professor of Old Testament Studies at the Unification Theological Seminary. Dr. Wilson, whose Ph. D. dissertation was written on Second Isaiah and granted from Harvard University, gave a stimulating, thoughtful and in-depth presentation. He covered the ideas of Jesus as seen through the Book of Matthew, with a special emphasis on Jesus’ peace teachings. It was presented in a brilliant and scholarly manner. Afterward the questions from the audience reflected the depth of Dr. Wilson’s presentation.
The next presentation was given by Rev. Michael Jenkins, Advisor to the ACLC and President of the FFWPU-USA. Rev. Jenkins presentation was titled “The Mission of Jesus. ’’ The very first thing that Rev. Jenkins asked was that the audience prepare new wine skins in which to put the new wine which he was about to serve. Throughout his lecture, this theme would be presented over and over as he made explicit references to many parts of the Scripture that are so easily taken for granted. Especially dealing with the relationship between Jesus and John the Baptist, Rev. Jenkins brought out many very detailed points that have often been ignored or misunderstood throughout the gospels. He did not encourage the ministers to accept his words at face value, but rather he strongly encouraged them to pray and study their bibles in much greater depth than ever before.
It was a very deep and soul searching session.
There was much time for questions and answers, and many ministers would later mention how they had spent much of the night in prayer and study.
Finally, after dinner, the day would close in prayer.
Saturday morning began with Hoon Dok Hae. Then Rev. Danny Holmes, ACLC Executive Committee Member and Pastor of Greater Hope Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, led the devotions.
The two sessions before the final banquet would include a special presentation of the Middle East Peace Initiative and the vision of the ACLC for the remainder of 2008 and beyond.
The MEPI presentation was especially powerful since Rev. Jenkins and Archbishop Stallings had literally just returned from the Middle East. Everything that Rev. Jenkins presented, be it the story of Gethsemane, the Mount of Olives, the Upper Room or the Transfiguration was presented with a fire of someone who had literally just been there literally a few hours earlier. His presentation lit up the room and set a fire within all those present.
The final presentation, given by Bishop Kim, Archbishop Stallings, and Bishop Jesse Edwards would give the audience an inspiring vision of where the ACLC would be going throughout the remainder of 2008 and beyond.
After three days of lectures, intense study, examination, and questions and answers regarding the essence of the Divine Principle, Saturday afternoon proceeded toward the ACLC’s 8th Anniversary Banquet. ACLC Co-President Bishop Jesse Edwards would serve as a more than able Master of Ceremonies for the afternoon.
Bishop Earnest Hamilton, Founder of the Greater Holy Temple Ministry, offered the invocation for our event. ACLC National Chairman, Bishop Ki Hoon Kim was then called up to speak, and he offered greetings to the completely filled banquet hall. This included over 400 members of the clergy and members of their congregations.
The program focusing on the Global Peace Festival, which will be held on the Capitol Mall in Washington, D. C., on August 9thwith the full support of the national ACLC was then introduced. As Rev. Paul Murray, the Executive Director of the Global Peace Festival, ascended to the stage, the audience began to think that they were seeing double. In fact two identical men took the stage and started speaking simultaneously. In reality, it was not only Rev. Paul Murray, but his identical twin brother, who is also taking on an active part in the Festival. Rev. Murray gave a stirring and exciting vision of both what was needed and how the Global Peace Festival is being set up to change and transform the hearts of Americans to doing the will of God. Beyond race, creed, culture, gender, ethnicity or denomination, the festival will truly result in a nationwide and worldwide statement of “One Family Under God.” The next event would prove to be one of the most stirring events in the entire banquet.
Minister Reiko Jenkins, Rev. Tanya Edwards, and Bishop Shirley Cotton took the stage to introduce the Women In Ministry to the congregation. After quite a beautiful presentation, each and every one of the women in the congregation were called to gather together on the stage. This gathering created an incredible power and spirit and surely brought down the heavenly power of the Holy Spirit. The room was being transformed from a hotel banquet hall into an evangelical house of prayer. It was an exciting and moving experience for all.
Since Chicago was hosting this event, Chicago ACLC Chairman Rev. David Rendel served as the local host for the event. Rev. Rendel recognized many of the dignitaries in the audience. He read letters of greeting that had been received from the Mayor of Chicago, the Governor of Illinois, and a beautiful proclamation from the Chicago City Council.
Afterwards, ACLC National Executive Committee member Rev. Carl Rawls from Selma, Alabama, offered the blessing over the meal.
The audience was then serenaded by the beautiful voices of Chicago’s own True Family Values Choir. The all-Japanese choir brought such a beautiful spirit to the room. They garnered the complete attention of every single member of the audience and brought a beautiful and peaceful spirit to the gathering.
Congratulatory remarks were given with deep conviction and love by ACLC National Advisor and Family Federation National President Rev. Michael Jenkins and his wife Mrs. Reiko Jenkins. These stirring remarks moved the gathering deeply.
We were then treated to a special performance from the Praise Dancers from the Church of the Living God. This is the Church of Bishops Melvin Crawford and Connie Crawford Bansa. The Praise Dancers were in fact, her two college-age children, who performed magnificently to the delight of all in attendance.
We were then treated to an excellent video presentation outlining the major events during these eight historic years that the ACLC has been in existence. From a mountaintop at the DMZ in Korea to this Chicago 8th anniversary banquet, many of the great achievements under the banner of the national ACLC were depicted...
The video was followed by the introduction of the event’s keynote speaker, National Co-President of the ACLC, Archbishop George Augustus Stallings, Jr. It would take another full article to cover the points of the Archbishop’s incredible keynote sermon. He spoke from the Book of Exodus, and he centered on the event when Moses meets God in the Wilderness of Midian. The Archbishop asked very simply, “What is God’s purpose?”
Although I can in no way do justice to this incredible sermon, I will simply attempt to bring out just a couple of his major points, which would result in God’s statement to Moses that He was the great “I AM.”The Archbishop stated that “if you are living for your own purpose, then you aren’t going to amount to anything. We are too often trying to live our lives according to our own purpose. He quoted from the Book of Psalms 139:16. He stated that we are sitting and living in a stupefied condition.
That is, we are sitting in our own “flesh box” and we are still spiritually enslaved to our own belief system. Why are we afraid to take the ACLC to the masses? he asked. He challenged the congregation to go beyond the walls of our own belief systems. We are tangled up in symbols that have no substance. The essence of his sermon stayed with the historic meeting of Moses and God in the wilderness. When Moses asks God who it is that he is to say has sent him to Pharaoh, God tells Moses to tell Pharaoh that “I AM has sent me.” The natural flow of Archbishop Stallings sermon concludes with the statement that “the I AM in me must meet the I AM in you.”Only then can we work together to fulfill God’s true purpose and to build “One family and one world under God.”
The Archbishop retired to thunderous applause from the now standing audience. He had brought out the best in every single congregant, challenging each and every one of us to look inside and truly try to understand God’s true purpose in this world.
Over the past 40 days the National ACLC has been on a campaign to double its membership. Thus, the final aspect of the banquet was to honor those ministers and those regions that had worked hardest to successfully fulfill these goals. In his own words, it was “relationship, sponsorship and taking ownership” that caused Rev. Andre Jackson, from Northern California to win the contest and the trip to the Bahamas for him and his wife. He gave credit and utmost gratitude to Father and Mother Moon both for his own blessing and for teaching him how to use the principles of living for the sake of others in his daily life. Rev. Mark Tangen from Los Angeles was the other membership drive winner.
Chicago’s own ACLC Regional Directors Rev. David Rendel and Rev. Willie Weston were honored for more than doubling Chicago’s ACLC membership. Rev. Tolson and Rev. Mark Tangen (representing Rev. Tim Henning) also received the award for the Los Angeles region.
As with all of Bishop Kim’s events, the program ended on time. However, the inspired audience was not about to run out to their cars and rush back outside. Clergy, ministers and brothers and sisters could be seen fellowshipping, hugging, taking pictures and talking for a long time after the close of the formal program.
Pastor, Breakthrough World Harvest Church
“This was the first time for me to attend this kind of convocation. The lectures were excellent and they gave me a much deeper understanding of the Bible. I feel that faith and reason are united in the Divine Principle and I want to study more.
“I have many opportunities to educate young people. I really don't want to teach in the ways that I was taught because those traditional ways don’t work for young people now. I think the Divine Principle is the one that can give them deeper understanding of the Bible in this age. I hope that all pastors can receive this teaching soon!”
Pastor, Chance Ministries
”I was in the U. S. Marine Corps for several years. There was no black, white or yellow there -- everyone was ‘green’ and each would die for everyone else. When I see Christianity today, there is so much separation and so many denominations. We don't need so many churches -- all we need is one "I love Jesus" church!
I have been always thinking to establish a multicultural church. When I met this movement several months ago, I was totally inspired that there were no barriers of race, culture or denomination in the organization! I think that the ACLC is the one that should lead not only the Christians, but all other religious movements as well in this great country!”