The Words of the Rendel Family
For 14 years, the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification in Chicago has held a banquet to honor champions of the mission of the True Family Values Ministry, which is to empower the God-centered family as the central unit for realizing healthy communities, nations and the world [www.tfvbanquet.com/Celebrate-2.html]. The theme of this year's True Family Values Ministry Awards Banquet, "Honoring God's Pivotal Champions of Faith", was celebrated through the dynamic program on Saturday, December 19. More than 1,000 participants gathered from throughout the Midwest in the largest ballroom of the Hilton Chicago.
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. Archbishop Ki Hoon Kim, continental director of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification USA, gave warm welcoming remarks and reported on Reverend Moon's autobiography, As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen. Ms Fannie Smith, former director of the "One Thousand Churches Connected" Rainbow-PUSH Coalition, offered a final blessing on the meal.
The ballroom was filled to capacity as the luncheon was served and the Lovin' Life Band began its performance, which struck many in the audience as highly professional. Unlike the banquets in previous years, the participants included 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 the Unification Church in the United States, Brother Thomas Muhammad, chief of protocol of the Nation of Islam, and Dr. Shirley Coleman, a former alderwoman of the 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 exemplary religious and civil leaders in Chicago who were honored for their lifetime achievements. A secondary theme was to celebrate the next generation of leaders who are to build upon the foundations established by their predecessors. This was beautifully portrayed by the extraordinary performance of the choir, "Walt Whitman and the Soul Children of Chicago," composed of youth from seven to seventeen who are drug-free and maintain at least 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 the Unification 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 applaud their work throughout the world!" He continued by praising the ministry of the Rev. In Jin Moon, president of the Unification Church in America, 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, who gave a brief explanation about the human-rights violations suffered by Unificationist members 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 introduced Rev. In Jin Moon as the keynote speaker, with explanations about her family and her mission. Rev. In Jin Moon is the fourth out of fourteen children of the Reverend Dr. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon. She called for commitment to faith, to performing good works, and to building a "Generation of Peace". This reporter noticed that many people in the ballroom were alert and listening intently to her every word. She spoke with great dignity, poise and conviction, and connected her listeners in heart and spirit to the spirit of true love and God-centered ideal families.
Rev. David Rendel, the district director of the Unification Church in Chicago, presented four True Family Values Awards with the assistance of Pastor Barrett, Archbishop Kim and Reverend Cotter. The award recipients included the following: 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 African Methodist Episcopal 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 Reverend 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 Reverend and Mrs. Moon -- was presented by a distinguished group of religious and civil leaders, together with the True Family Values Award recipients. Rev. In Jin Moon was invited to the stage to receive the award representing her parents.
The program closed with a spirited musical finale from Pastor Darius Brooks, a three-time Grammy Award winner, followed by the benediction by Rev. William Martin of Chance Ministries.
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 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. Moon 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!"
Contributed by Rev. David Rendel, district director of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification in Chicago.