The Words of the Vargas Family
ACLC Houston Conference - Participants State Best One Yet!
March 22-24, 2007
The ACLC conference in Houston, held from March 22-24, 2007 was an incredible turning point in ACLC and the work with empowering the clergy. It is indeed a new era and time, with events turning and developing in ways beyond our imagination.
The testimony of Mrs. Jackson, the wife of Rev. Andrew Jackson, the ACLC Co-Convener from the Bay Area in California, summarizes and reflects the sentiments of many of the participants. She said the conference was the best ACLC conference she has attended. She said that she has been to many ACLC conferences and that after the conferences one sometimes does not feel if one wants to return or not, but that this time one had a feeling of wanting to return again. She said that the Holy Spirit descended during the lectures on Friday and gave her more understanding of the content that was being read.
This was the first time that a conference was held in a location that was not a tourist attraction. The only attraction was the conference itself. In addition, most participants paid their own registration fee. Interestingly, we reached full conference participant capacity with 10 days after the conference invitations were first sent out, with the conference being held only 3 1/2 weeks later from the date of the invitations! As Bishop Margie de la Rosa, the ACLC Co-Convener of New York noted, that if participants had a 2-month notice to register we could have easily had 200-300 paid participants.
The Hispanic Clergy and the Native Americans contributed substantially to the conference. They had a deep and rich experience and expressed much appreciation and gratitude for the conference and for having been able to participate.
I had received a vision in the early planning stages of this conference that we should include Native Americans in this conference in order for the conference to be successful. Interestingly, in fulfillment of this vision, 8 Native Americans attended, including Bishop Margie de la Rosa.
Fr. Contreras gave a Character Education curriculum introduction lecture at the conference, and many of the participants, both English and Spanish speaking, expressed much interest in the curriculum. Many wanted to get the curriculum CDs from Fr. Contreras. Fr. Contreras not only is providing copies of the CD (with a donation), he is creating a mailing list and forum for all that want to be involved in it. Through this mailing list and forum, he will keep them all informed of what other leaders are doing with the curriculum, success stories, and provide updates and new materials, as it is available to the participants.
When Fr. Contreras and I went to Mexico, we distributed the Character Education CDs to the priests and clergy there. Since that visit only a short time ago, Fr. Jorge is already teaching 60 students Character Education and has another 140 leaders that are interested in the material.
In addition, Fr. Contreras will be teaching this curriculum on a radio station in California and has plans for expansion of the radio program. Fr. Jorge also plans to teach this curriculum on a radio station in Mexico.
Bishop Kim and I had a lunch meeting with several of the Hispanic Clergy at the conference. Bishop Kim discussed about having a conference for 400 Hispanic clergy in 6 months from the conference date, and possibly inviting True Parents to this conference. The Hispanic Clergy became very excited about this and asked me excitedly, when and where!
It is indeed a new time. The Hispanic clergy, together with the married priests, will play an important role in saving America. This was revealed in a spiritual vision that Bishop Margie de la Rosa had.
In addition, I believe very strongly that the Native Americans will play an important role along with this group.
But their being called is not just for the Hispanic Clergy. They are being called to reach out and serve the whole. To serve our White brothers and sisters, Black brothers and sisters and all nations and all peoples.
My personal reflection of the conference was that it was successful, in the sense that we were able to draw good, serious, participants, and they left empowered, with tools to carry on their work.
Maria L. Vargas
Special Assistant to the Secretary-General, ACLC and Executive Director
Office for the Coordination and Development of Hispanic Affairs, ACLC