Unification News for May 2002

144,000 Clergy Couples Blessing in Los Angeles

by BillieAnn Sabo

How incredible the Blessing Ceremony was in Los Angeles on April 27. Over 126 clergy couples came dressed in their finest wedding clothes. Women married for thirty, even forty, years wearing traditional wedding dresses. Others wearing long white dresses. All had on beautiful veils. Rev. Dr. E.V. Hill, who was our guest "congratulatory" speaker, came with his wife and they participated in the ceremony dressed in their beautiful wedding clothes. Rev. Joseph "Hallelujah" Papa Lee and Mrs. Sandy Lee were co-officiators of the ceremony along with our Regional Director couple, Rev. & Mrs. Baek Joong Ku. The Lees also participated in all areas of the ceremony.

Our blessing day was divided into three parts. Our event was at the LAX Marriott Hotel. We used the same big banquet hall as for True Motherís Speaking Tour last November 30th. The ballroom was set for 500 theater style seating for the blessing event and 50 tables for the luncheon banquet. Each table had a beautiful flower centerpiece and the front of the stage was covered in fresh flowers. Our stage was the same size as TMT. The audio-visual set up was even better than TMT time and we had no problem hooking up to the satellite link. The entire ballroom was fully decorated in pink, white and yellow balloons and wedding bells. Each aisle chair had a beautiful decoration. The brides and grooms entered through a beautifully decorated wedding arch into the main ceremony. The entire entrance aisle was lined with our 12 community leadership couples dressed in fresh white holy robes. Each bride was given a large fresh flower bridal bouquet and each groom was given a red carnation corsage. All clergy couples wore white gloves and the ladies wore a white veil.

Registration opened at 8am. Our clergy couples started arriving between 8:30am and 9:00am. Upon arrival, they were escorted to the bride and groom attendants who helped them with their bouquets, veils, whatever they needed. The "line-up" of the couples to enter through the arch was at 9:30am. Participating were 126 clergy couples, 8 heaven and earth clergy, 26 clergy observers (spouses were unable to attend), 12 of our leadership couples (district leader position and above), 6 full time blessing couples and 1 pastor couple that were engaged and to be legally married last night (the name of their church was "The Blessing MBC!!!"). We had a wonderful 25 adult and 5 band member gospel choir "The Sadoc Christian Singers" from Rev. Walter Millsapís Sadoc Christian Church. The choir was the most powerful and inspiring choir we have ever had.

Our M.C. for Part One was Dr. Kene Holliday, National ACLC Executive Committee Member, Evangelist with the Iíve Been Chosen Ministries, and TV/Film Star. Welcoming remarks were given by our Vice Regional Director, and co-convenor ACLC of Los Angeles, Rev. Timothy Henning. After that, Ms. Magdalene Millsap, daughter of Rev. Millsap, gave a wonderful rendition of the National Anthem.

The opening invocation was by Bishop William Turner, of the New Revelation Baptist Church in Pasadena. His congregation numbers over 500. Just last Sunday, we gave a TFV lecture and Holy Wine Ceremony for his church couples followed by a wonderful catered luncheon in their fellowship hall. The Sadoc Christian Singers were then invited back up to keep the spirit high and "rocking". It was!! We then showed the very inspiring "Stand for Family Ė Save the Nation" 14 minute video. As soon as that was finished, Rev. Joe Waller, co-convenor ACLC of Los Angeles and Western States ACLC Executive Board Member gave the opening speech leading into the holy wine ceremony for all the couples.

During this past week, upon careful checking, we decided that most of the pastors had already received the HW, but most of the wives had not. Therefore, we did not eliminate the HW Ceremony from our schedule. Rev. Waller did a fantastic job as the "spiritual cheerleader" and all clergy couples participated including Dr. E.V. Hillís couple and Rev. Joseph Leeís couple. Following the benediction, we prepared to start the satellite transmission. Pastor couples were deeply moved by the Holy Wine Ceremony and many were crying.

Part 2 was the Main Blessing Ceremony from Washington DC. Our M.C. for Part 2 was Rev. Timothy Henning, Vice Regional Director and co-convenor ACLC of Los Angeles. We followed the Washington DC schedule completely. We had two officiator couples. Rev. & Mrs. Baek Joong Ku, our Los Angeles Regional Director and West Block Director and also Rev. & Mrs. Joseph Lee, Pastor of the Heavenly Vision MBC and the first church to hold a blessing ceremony on Dec. 26th, 1996. We did the presentation of officiator flowers live and also the ring exchange. Pastor couples found this deeply moving. During the Main Blessing Ceremony, we had one cable television reporter attend and take video shots for their local news. At the end of the Washington DC Blessing Ceremony, we switched back to "live" action in Los Angeles. Dr. E.V. Hill, pastor of the Mt. Zion MBC and named as 1 of 7 top preachers in America by Time Magazine, concluded part 2 with his congratulatory speech "How To Remain Married & Happy". His speech was powerful!!! He is one of the most powerful and well known ministers in Los Angeles and received heavy persecution in this month. But he overcame and gave a magnificent strong & powerful speech. He received several standing ovations. Immediately following his speech was a love offering, featuring our 40 member Japanese Missionary and home member choir, then prayer and group pictures.

Part 3 was the blessing celebration luncheon and Dr. Kene Holliday was once again the MC. The other half of our big ballroom was already set for 500. During part 1 and 2, we used this table area for all our family members to be able to attend. Now it was cleared and our newly rededicated bride and groom clergy couples were escorted to their wedding banquet. Members could rejoin as soon as the couples were seated. We had a wonderful three-course lunch with a special wedding cheesecake covered in white chocolate that the hotel chef had made. The Sadoc Christian Singers sang during the luncheon and so many "new brides and grooms" felt the spirit and were dancing, partying and having a great time. Also, our 40-strong Japanese Choir sang. Some pastors wanted to sing and share testimony, so we allow free time for this.

The conclusion was the drawing for the three grand door prizes. Our event was finished by 2pm Ė a five-hour blessing day for them. We closed with everyone singing Amazing Grace and Rev. Baek Joong Ku led three strong, determined cheers of Mansei.

During the entire month of April, many of our churches received negative literature trying to dissuade them from attending our event. They attacked Dr. Hill heavily and also focused on hundreds of surrounding churches. All of April, we could see very clearly that this was a fight between Godís side and Satanís side. It made our Los Angeles outreach members even more determined than ever to Win for God. During our event yesterday morning, one of the churches sent 8 or 9 of their "scouts" to the hotel to canvass the parking lot and hand out "enlightening" negative flyers to our arriving pastors. They were on hotel property approaching all incoming cars, cars that had already parked and pastors walking towards the entrance. Maybe some of our pastors were influenced by this and couldnít attend. But the strong minded ones did and we kicked out these "evil-doers". We really felt right up through the ceremony time that this was a real war situation. Through that, we were able to make victory.

Two real "John the Baptists" were born during this providence. Rev. Joe Waller, of the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church became full-time ACLC co-convenor for us on March 25th. He quit his full time night job and started doing daily activity with us. He and his wife have been married 23 years and have 11 grandchildren. Rev. Waller attended each and every one of our minister programs (sometimes 5 in one week) and conducted the HW blessing ceremonies at each one. He has an office at Pasadena House and every day from early morning until evening, he dedicated himself to this blessing. He will continue with us on the same schedule for the next step. He is totally committed to the providence and to bring victory for True Parents. He is a strong fighter for True Parents and the ACLC. Also Rev. Walter Millsap became our real John the Baptist. Rev. Millsap brought his couple yesterday, along with his 3 sonís couples, 1 daughter couple, 25 adult choir and 5 band members. Rev. Millsap has a real "family" church.

Our mobilization for this providence started two monthís ago with our February 24th Interfaith Revival Service. Since then, 85% of all of Southern California families joined in activity. Some could not because of very difficult situations, but almost all families joined. We had 60 missionaries in Los Angeles and all were assigned to home stay families. For each family who housed a missionary and made their family donation, we gave them a VCR TV to use for their outreach. Members wanted to really guide ministers as to the true meaning of the holy wine blessing, so having a VCR TV was very important. Without that, we could not be successful in bringing victory for holy wine ceremonies. Clearly each pastor knew the meaning. Holy Wine was not lightly given out and it only was given out to pastor couples and clergy leadership couples -- no congregation.

We had a "Trinity Weapon" method in Los Angeles: Stand for Family Video Tape; Minister Pocket Guidance Folder; and a bag of 12 holy wines. Our minister guide pocket folder was very detailed. We had many, many, many materials developed very quickly for our members.

We made over 200,000 copies of materials (many in color) and over 3000 video tapes. We also developed everything in both English and Spanish and shared all our information with the West Block as well as other states who requested it.

At our Sunday Service on April 28th, the spirit of our members was very high. This was a real offering service to God and True Parents. Almost all of our members joined and were crying as we made this offering. We pledged our continued determination to keep this a real victory for Heavenly Father. We very much still have the "I Can Do Ė Never Give Up" spirit and very strong determination for step 2. Our Los Angeles church raised up our spirit during the last 2 months. In April, all our outreach families only visited other churches from early morning until late at night, not even being able to attend our own church service.

Our Nation Wide goal for holy wine blessings was 10,596, but we were able to finish 12,200 by midnight April 26th. We not only completed our National portion of the goal, but also our Regional goal. We did not stop when 144,000 was completed two weeks ago, because Los Angeles was determined to fulfill 12,000.

We had strong help from the Spiritual World and we prepared a big offering table on True Parents Day. We also offered up all our member donations for stronger spiritual power. Every day for the past 40 days, we have had very deep prayer at 6:00am and also 10:00pm for spiritual world help. All our families made determination every day. For 2 months, there was total investment for this providence. All of our families made one!

Our Region also includes Hawaii. Because of the time difference, they held a breakfast banquet at the Renaissance Ilikai Waikiki Hotel starting at 7:30am. They had 100 guest confirmations, including pastor couples and some single pastors. 33 participants actually attended the ceremony. Their Japanese missionary choir performed then they went directly to the Main Ceremony in Washington DC through the web cast. Afterwards they had breakfast, fellowship and watched the DC entertainment. Hawaii couples were very happy and were also given the Rededication Certificates. One Hawaii couple attended the Washington DC event.

Region 21 is very fortunate and blessed to have such a tremendous top leader, Rev. Baek Joong Ku and Mrs. Sun Hee Ku. Through their total determination, guidance and love, we were able to strongly unite as a region to bring a wonderful victory for the 144,000 Clergy Couples Blessing. They are truly our True Parents in Los Angeles.

The victory from Los Angeles, Region 21, we offer gratefully to God and True Parents with strong determination to keep going with an "I can do Ė never give up" spirit. Thank you Heavenly Father!

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