Unification News for December 2001

Mobile ILC

by Joshua Cotter

The Mobile ILC took place Saturday, December 1st a the Ramad Plaza Hotel in Mobile, from 12:30 - 8:30 PM. The program was a great success with 70 guests in attendance and over 30 FFWP members and staff. In attendance were 27 religious leaders, 3 elected officials, 6 civic leaders, 2 educator s and 28 other guests.

59 Ambassadors of Peace were awarded; 48 from Alabama, 10 from Louisiana and one from Mississippi. Among these AOP's were 6 elected officials, 42 religious leaders, 3 media representatives, 6 civic leaders, and 2 professors. 18 AOP's could not be there to receive the award, but they were all mentioned and recognized at the final banquet, with some sending representatives in their place.

The ILC was a joint effort between Alabama and Louisiana, and some Ambassadors of Peace came from Mississippi to help. This represented the first cooperative effort between these three states, which comprise the Mobile region, centering on Bishop Won Geun Kim.

The conference began at 1:00 PM and the session lasted until 5:30 PM. The Ambassadors of Peace banquet then took place from 6:00 - 6:30 PM. For the sessions we met in a ballroom with round tables of 8. The sessions were full all day long and the participants were increasingly inspired right up to the dinner hour.

In the opening IIFWP session, the invocation was given by Dr. Harold Toliver, ACLC President, who lost his church during Father's 50-state tour. He weathered the storm and God has now blessed him with a new building and an independent church which he started: God's Church of Hope and Healing". He was so inspired that he invited everyone to come and visit his new church before he prayed!

Welcoming remarks were given by Hon. Frederick Douglass Richardson, Mobile city councilman. He is an ALC graduate and great supporter of True Parents' work. Music was provided by our Japanese Missionary choir and Rev. Tony Balmes, originally from the Philippines, who moved everyone with his song about "All God's children coming together; all generations, no more segregation..." It was a great way to open the conference and bring the Holy Spirit.

Rev. Joshua Cotter read Rev. Kwak's opening speech and we presented the IIFWP video. This was followed by Mrs. Teresa Yaman, WFWP Alabama President, who spoke for 10 minutes about the history and activities of WFWP, including our local chapter. She concluded with the video on the Mozambique school project. Everyone was amazed by the world level activities of True Parents' organizations.

We went immediately into the AFC presentation on Rebuilding the Family and Transforming the society. John Thomas, AFC Louisiana chairman, gave an overview of AFC's mission and activities and then gave a totally inspired hoon dok hae reading on the Marriage and Parenting. He truly captured and held the attention of the audience!

Commentary was given by Sister Alicia Muhammad, wife of the Nation of Islam leader here, Minister Timothy Muhammad. She works with at-risk girls and is a mother of four. She gave a great talk about how we have to raise our children in purity and not allow them to be corrupted by this society, but become transformers. She had thoroughly read the Founder's words and frequently referred to them in her commentary. She also has a beautiful voice and sang, "To God Be the Glory" for everyone. Dr. Toliver followed her with a moving and humorous commentary on the importance and sacredness of marriage.

The audience was truly alive by the time we broke into our roundtable discussions. All nine tables insisted on giving their reports at the conclusion of the roundtable discussions, even though the time was short. Rev. Cotter, the moderator, tried in vain to cut them off, but they all wanted to be heard. There were many thoughtful and inspiring comments regarding the issues of youth, parenting and marriage. The unity of religious leaders from different faiths, public officials, community activists and our members was beautiful to behold. The spirit was building strongly now.

After a brief refreshment break, we went into session III, the ACLC vision. We were blessed to have Bishop and Bishop Cotton from Jackson, Mississippi with us. They are part of the original 120 ACLC ministers. Rev. Cotter moderated and read the hoon dok hae material on the unity of religions, racial harmony, and America. When we showed the We Will Stand video, the spirit was so high. Everyone was moved by the power of God to bring so many faiths and races into one.

Commentary was given by Councilman Fred Richardson, who gave a stirring speech on restoring the community and racial harmony. When he speaks, the power of God and his namesake, Frederick Douglass, comes down! Dr. Toliver, ACLC president also spoke on Rebuilding the Family, and the 2 Bishop Cottons (husband and wife) concluded by speaking on Renewing the Nation. Bishop Mary Cotton tearfully testified to the work of Rev. and Mrs. Moon as the True Parents.

By this time, we were supposed to go into the last session on Spiritual Principles and Marriage and Blessing. However, the Holy Spirit was moving so strongly that we just let God have His way and His time.

Rev. Cotter introduced Rev. and Mrs. Won Geun Kim as the regional leader of this new 3-state region. We all proclaimed, "We are one; Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi!" Then, we invited Rev. Kim, Dr. Toliver and Bishop Cotton on stage to present the "Golden Sea" watch to Bishop George T. Craig from Tuscaloosa. Bishop Craig has been working together with True Parents for almost 20 years and he and his wife are blessed. Dr. Toliver and Bishop Cotton both received the Golden Sea previously.

Bishop and Mrs. Craig received the watch with so much pride and gratitude and then Bishop Craig began to testify to God and True Parents. He told of being in Korea in the 80's for ICC and receiving a vision from God on the "Rock of Tears" that his whole life would change; that he would forget all that he had learned; and that the Marriage Supper of the Lamb was at hand! Some time late he was in a terrible car wreck, where he was clinically dead in the hospital. He rose to the ceiling and saw his lifeless body, and the flat line on the scope. His body was packed in ice and wheeled down the hall. Then he went toward a beautiful part of the spirit world, but was told if he reached there, he couldn't come back. He went back and woke up covered in ice, to the great surprise of everyone in the hospital. But his wife never left his side, never gave up hope.

Bishop Craig had to learn how to walk, talk and write again over a three-year period. God taught him new things and eventually he received the Blessing from Rev. and Mrs. Moon and has been teaching these new things to his congregation and to anyone who would listen. He told the preachers to teach about the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, that God is working through True Parents at this time.

Everyone was blown away by his testimony and Rev. Cotter said that God had accomplished the session on Spirit World and the Blessing through Bishop Craig without the powerpoint and technology! Hallelujah! He invited all the clergy to attend the Blessing of 144,000 ministers in February.

John Thomas then introduced Rev. Dr. Simmie Harvey, who walked with ML King, Jr. and has supported our movement since CAUSA days. He gave a beautiful testimony and praised the conference. This powerful session was concluded by Apostle Floyd Nelson of the Lighthouse Apostolic Temple.

Then it was on to the dinner banquet! Imam Kamal Saleem, who received his AOP award in New York was the co-convener with Rev. Cotter. He gave an introduction to Islam and prayed an Islamic prayer of peace. Robert Battles gave an observance for World AIDS Day (December 1st). Then we had more great music from the Japanese choir and the great gospel group, the Trumpetaires. They had everyone up and dancing and shouting in the Holy Spirit. And I mean everyone!

Our guest speaker was Rev. Clinton Johnson, President of the Mobile City Council. He was so moved himself by the conference. He received the American Century Award from the Washington Times in 2000. He gave a fiery speech on leadership that everyone later said would become the standard on that subject. He really lifted up the crowd, saying that a true leader cannot worry about those who criticize him, but must be true to God and to himself. I know he was speaking not only about his own experience, but also about Rev. Moon.

Then Bishop Won Geun Kim presented True Mother's speech, while everyone read along in their speech booklets. We told the audience that Mrs. Moon was speaking that night in New York. Rev. Kim did a great job and read in a powerful, moving voice.

After he concluded, we presented the Ambassadors of Peace Awards. All of them were asked to come to the stage and remain for a great photograph. The first to receive was Sen. Georg Callahan. His son Greg, a city council candidate, came to accept on his behalf and he testified how much his father respected this conference.

When all the AOP's were on stage, many pictures were taken. Everyone was so proud to receive this truly special award. Later, Evangelist Loretta Handy said, "I can't believe it has been signed by Father and Mother! What a treasure!"

The two Bishop Cottons concluded with thankful words to True Parents and to Rev. and Mrs. Kim, and then prayed. The Trumpetaires took us out with "Reach Out and Touch".

What a powerful day! Hallelujah and Praise God and True Parents! And thanks to all of our families who sacrificed so much to bring their guests and ensure that this conference would be a victory. I'm so moved by our brothers and sisters, because they will accept nothing less than total victory and success with heavenly dignity. Amen!

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