Unification News for April 2002
ACLC Ministers’ Tour in Denver
by Peggy Yujiri
We had a wonderful event in Denver the evening of April 4. It was one of the very first events of the "We will stand for Family and Save the Nation" 50-state tour by ACLC ministers. We were honored with the presence of Rev. Charles Kenyatta and Mrs. Hsu. Their testimony really won everyone's heart. As Minister Gerald of the Nation of Islam put it, "That was the punch!" We found out about Rev. Kenyatta's coming just the night before the event, but it was just what was need to bring the Blessing message home to our audience.
Although we had prepared for 100 guests, it soon became apparent that we had far too few seats and meals to go around. Many more people started showing up and we had to set up extra tables. Our Japanese missionaries and local staff stayed in the foyer as our guests filled up the seats and enjoyed the meal. They didn't mind missing the dinner because they were so overjoyed that all their faithful efforts in visiting ministers had paid off. There were easily more than 150 in attendance.
Some of the ministers of the largest and most famous African American churches in the city showed up for the first time. Not only did they come themselves, but the brought others from their congregations. Rev. Jesse Griffin from Minneapolis gave a wonderful testimony of the work of ACLC. He testified that he gives the Blessing once a month in his church and that it has made a world of difference in his church. He challenged all the clergy present to do the same. He said, "It doesn't take much time, it's no trouble at all, and you will be surprised what a great blessing it will bring to your church. Just try it!"
Rev. Griffin called all the couples to the front and it seemed that every single couple hopped out of their seats and went forward and drank the Holy wine together.
After the Holy Wine, Rev. Kenyatta and Mrs. Hsu were introduced. They were introduced by Rev. Juanita Pierre-Louis. She really did a good job of introducing them and shared that they had recently been '"matched". When they came to the stage everyone was charmed to find such a cute and yet dignified couple of newlyweds. Around the room there was nothing but smiles on everyone's faces. It was a wonderful testimony to True Parents' love.
Everyone present was encouraged to bless their own churches. We told them that we would provide the Holy Juice cups for all pastors intending to do the Blessing this Sunday in their churches. They were instructed to pick up the Holy Juice cups at the registration desk. Twenty-three pastors requested and received 580 cups on their way out of the program!
Testimonies and Reflections
The participants at the Stand for Family banquet represented an amazing cross-section of faith leaders: Baptist, COGIC, Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopal, Apostolic, plus Muslims and Messianic Jews. The participants also included African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians and whites.
Rev. Frank Davis is the pastor of Zion Baptist Church, the oldest and one of the largest African American churches in Colorado. He came with wife and 4 other ministers from his church and their spouses. He said "this was a wonderful and exciting program. This really makes clear to me that I need focus more on family and bring this to the couples in my church."
Rev. Hugh Harris is pastor of the Epworth United Methodist Church in Denver. He will soon leave Colorado to pastor a large church in Vancouver, BC. He said, "This is a very meaningful ministry. I will bring this to my congregation; in fact, I can see that a beautiful final gift I can give to my Denver congregation is to give them the blessing before I leave."
Rev. Jessie Griffin is the ACLC national evangelist from Minneapolis. He did a wonderful job of sharing about the blessing and inspiring all couples present to participate. At the conclusion of the program he said, "This was really an amazing turnout. It is really inspiring to see the many different pastors and church leaders who came. There is a great work going on here in Denver."
Rev. William Ephriam, co-convenor of ACLC in Colorado, said that the testimony of Rev. Kenyatta and Mrs. Hsu was such a highlight; everyone was thrilled. He said "Father really knows what he is doing in matching; you could just feel that Rev. Kenyatta and his bride to be are just so right for each other. I wish Father could match the young people in my church; then I could be sure their marriages would be on solid ground."
Among the participants were two leaders from the Colorado organization of Messianic Jews. Dr. Ferguson, who has a Ph.D. from Oxford, leads the group. After the program they stayed for nearly an hour, fellowshipping with our members and other participants.
Edwin Cornier mentioned that his guests were skeptical and cool when they first arrived at the program. By the end of the evening they were so inspired and warm that they did not want to leave.
Rev. Patrick Tessmer, pastor of the New Apostolic Church, said, " I am inspired by the idea of bringing the experience of first love back into marriage through the holy juice blessing."
Mrs. America Peacock (minister's wife) said: "It is so valuable to remember that marriage is so important. I was very touched by Rev. Kenyatta. And there was so much spirituality in this program!"
Rev. Steven Williams is pastor of the Aurora First United Methodist Church. He said: "I like the idea of rededicating our families. I will do this at our church on Sunday, April 28th."
Mrs. Morgan, wife of Pastor Oscar Morgan of Mt. Sinai Baptist Church, said: "The speakers at this program were all wonderful, but especially the pastor from New York (Rev. Kenyatta) and his wife. I could feel the unity; it was wonderful."
Linda Cornier also made a special breakthrough today. She went with Japanese missionaries to the offices of Denver mayor Wellington Webb. They did not have an appointment, yet Linda persisted through the objections of the Mayor's staff to see Mayor Webb for even one minute. Her perseverance paid off: the met the mayor and shared the holy wine with him. (Wellington Webb is well respected nationwide as an African American elected official who has done excellent work as Denver's mayor for the last 8 years.)
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