Unification News for March 2002
ACLC Inaugural Banquet in Detroit
by David Kasbow
Our American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) inaugural banquet on Saturday, February 9th was more than we had hoped for; we had a packed banquet room of 80 ministers, Imams, local judges, the ACLC regional and national leadership and the infamous Archbishop George A. Stallings Jr. and his expecting wife. Besides the special quality of the guests what made the program special was the deep and close relationship between the Archbishop and the host pastor, Dr. William Revely, founder of Holy Hope Heritage Church, Baptist. In his introduction of the Archbishop Dr. Revely shared several humorous episodes in the 25 years of their shared spiritual journeys.
As the Archbishop described the mission of the ACLC he stressed the importance of marriage and family and how much blessing has come to him since his marriage last May, and how his sermons have changed since that time revealing a new level of relationship with God for him. Rev. Jenkins, the national Co-Convenor of the ACLC, shared on the theme from the book of Esther, that we have come together "for such a time as this" (Est.4:14). He emphasized that the time was right for Esther to save her people, likewise at the appointed time David was called. In the same way it is now Americaís appointed time to receive Godís Blessing, a time when religious boundaries are coming down, a time when marriage is being lifted up.
To initiate the founding of ACLC, Rev. Revely prayed over the installment of the Co-Convenors, Rev. David Kasbow of Family Federation and Rev. Earnest Hatcher of New Kingdom MBC. After Bishop Ki Hun Kim blessed the gathering with holy wine Rev. Revely shared how the father of a family in his congregation, on his deathbed, asked him to take responsibility for his two sons. He introduced the boys and their mother and testified that this is what needs to happen in the church today, people taking responsibility for each other. He testified that in them, and further, in his relationship with Family Federation members such as Art & Roxanne Roselle of the Detroit FFWPU he had found "real family". This was the greatest compliment he could give us.
There is no model of how the ACLC should work so we prayed a lot as we prepared our first prayer breakfast meeting on Thursday Feb. 14th, just five days after the inaugural banquet.
I had been attending the weekly meetings of the local Council of Baptist Pastors for almost a year so I was considering using their model. Their meetings are quite formal and businesslike. However, I soon realized that this style was not for us, at least not right now.
As we invited the banquet attendees to the breakfast meeting we were struck by the testimonies the guests had. Our guests were so inspired that the first meeting was mostly testimonies, not only of the banquet, but of their course in marriage and what needs to be done to restore the family. We realized that this time of sharing was something the pastors longed for and were not getting anywhere else. A time for testimonies is never done at the Baptist Council meetings. We also realized that our group seemed destined to be quite an activist group. We already were talking of letters to the editor, protests and such to move the culture away from the destructive anti-family messages that are out there.
After breakfast we began the meeting with a Bible reading and message, then a time of sharing testimonies, then an explanation of the 144,000 Blessing purpose and strategy. We finished the last section with a presentation of the True Family Values Lecture material. We encouraged ministers to sign up for this to be presented in their church.
We are quite pleased with this new beginning. We have had meetings and fellowship with ministers for years but the formalization of the ACLC into an official organization did something to galvanize the group and help them and us feel we have a purpose for working together.
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