Unification News for October 2002
12 City North American Speaking Tour - Atlanta
by Rev. Tom Cutts
On September 19, 2002, the powers in heaven were shaken in the South. Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon brought her Crusade for World Peace to Atlanta. As part of the twelve-city American tour a gala banquet was held at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel from 6:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Every one of the 600 banquet seats was filled, and over two hundred people stood along the back of the ballroom. (One newspaper reported 1,500 guests.)
Dr. Moon brought a brilliant message of incredible hope and love, declaring that the True Parents are on the earth today. "The time of peace has come! Heaven's long wait has ended. We are living in the final moment of the Last Days of human history. The True Parents, whom Heaven and Earth have hoped would come and have longed to see, are now on this earth."
The audience included elected officials, ministers, over forty top Korean leaders from Atlanta, university professors, media representatives and business leaders. The religious representation was very diverse, including representatives from Southern and Missionary Baptist Churches, United Methodist, AME, AME Zion, Church of God in Christ, Pentecostal, Catholics, American Muslim Society, Nation of Islam, Yehudah, Sikh, and other denominations and faiths.
The outpouring of support was massive and impressive. Bishop Jonathan Greer, pastor of The Cathedral of Divine Love in DeKalb County said, "I am affiliated with this movement, because it's the right thing to do. It's all based on building strong families. That's a principle I have been teaching my whole career, and it needs to be spread around the world. True world peace isn't going to come through the systems of the political world, and not even through religions. But only through applying God's principles, the Kingdom principles."
There was an awesome feeling of unity in the room. One Pentecostal Bishop was moved by the presence of God's spirit, and said, "I am not familiar with the concept of True Parents, and please don't talk to me about the Messiah. I just know that the love in this room was almost too much for me. I prayed to God, asking Him if I should be here and He clearly told me to come, saying that this movement has something I need, and that I have something to offer."
Minister Beverly Muhammad of the Nation of Islam was deeply moved by Mrs. Moon's speech. "I felt as though Mrs. Moon was truly my mother. She touched my heart with love and spoke directly to me. Thank God. Thank God. Thank God, for Mother Moon."
Among the elected officials were a State Senator, a State Representative, and a City Councilwoman, and a representative of the Atlanta Mayor. Rev. Randell Osborne, the President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) Foundation and special assistant to Martin Luther King, III was also in attendance. "Sometimes we do things that will get noted in history, and we don't even realize it. One young man came up to me and I expected him to ask me something about my work with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Instead he said, 'My mother told me you visited Rev. Moon while he was imprisoned in Danbury.' He thanked me for showing my support for Rev. Moon at that time."
State Senator Donzella James said she was honored to award Dr. Moon with a trophy and a proclamation from the Secretary of State citing Dr. Moon's efforts to strengthen families and promote world peace. "I am proud to work with Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, because she and I have similar goals. That is to love and be directed by God, and to prepare our children for the future, and strengthen families. I believe that Rev. Moon and his wife are genuinely trying to achieve world peace."
Freelance writer and political columnist Maynard Eaton of the Atlanta Voice attended the program. "As a reporter, I am by nature skeptical. And having read a lot the negative things about Rev. Moon, I walked into that door with a lot of skepticism. But I must say I was overwhelmed. I hadn't expected to have a religious and spiritual experience myself. I was personally enriched and rewarded. I also learned that Rev. Moon is deeply involved with the saving the family, and establishing a world of peace. I didn't know that before the meeting."
Apostle Willie R. Malcom is the Presiding Apostle of the Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ and presides over 36 churches in Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. "I have been with the movement for 30-odd years and at no time have they attempted to get me to join their church. What's happening here is universal. Once you understand the principles of it, you can join in. You don't have to leave your own church or your own faith."
"There has been a lot of misinformation that has surfaced about the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, and about many of us who want to talk about the movement," remarked Archbiship Stallings. He is the priest who 13 years ago broke away from the Catholic Church and started his own Afrocentric Catholic congregations. Two years ago he was matched by True Parents, and earlier this year, he and his wife Sayumi had their first baby son. "We get called a cult. But that is not the case at all. Rev. Moon is a unifying force to bring churches together. His desire is to create one family under God and to totally eradicate any division or distinction that separates us from each other."
When we first heard that True Mother was bringing her Crusade for World Peace to Atlanta, our Regional Director, Rev. Man Ho Kim, was in Korea and was not due to return until the end of the year. Before he left, we had pledged to him that he did not need to worry about Atlanta. Centering on Rev. Jean B. Kasongo, Vice-Regional Director of the FFWPU, and Rev. Tom Cutts, Regional Director of the American Family Coalition our leadership team immediately began mobilization for the banquet. We were indeed very relieved when Rev. Moon gave permission for Rev. Kim to return to Atlanta to help prepare for Mrs. Moons' visit. He instructed the thirty FFWPU families to go out and meet pastors of other churches, to make their special $800 offering, and to make other good conditions for the banquet.
We are especially grateful for the financial support from the FFWPU families in South Carolina, the Alabama Region and the Texas Region. We are also grateful for the generous gifts from Master Marine, International Oceanic Enterprises (IOE), Eden Floral Farms, and Sunshine Flower Company. Guests came to the banquet from North Carolina South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi. Members from Alabama played a vital role in taking are of True Mother, and a sister from South Carolina and sister from Alabama prepared flowers for the banquet, and True Mother's suite.
For the past four or five years we have hosted numerous national events in Atlanta. And for the bigger productions, our expenses for renting audio-visual equipment have exceeded $8,000. This time, instead of renting, Rev. Carlyle Rollins and his team purchased the equipment. We are indebted to them for the sacrifices they made to learn to use the equipment, and to set it up for the event. We had excellent sound, video, and lighting for the banquet, and their purchase will save us tens of thousands of dollars in future events. We will also put the equipment to valuable use in our church sanctuary and fellowship hall throughout the year.
Our Japanese missionaries from Antigua were absolutely indispensable. Without these precious sisters and their dedication and devotion, the program could not succeeded. They left their children, and their husbands for a season to bring God's Love to America. They visit pastors everyday, and frequently sing for their churches during Sunday service and midweek Bible Study. The Christian hymns and Japanese songs they sing have moved the hearts of congregations, and the ministers are deeply touched by their sacrifices, and expression of Divine Love.
The most visible foundation for this banquet actually began a year ago with the September 22, 2001 Day of Prayer in New York City. Thirty ministers from Atlanta attended that memorial to terrorist attack. From that time on, based on the example of the activities in Chicago, we held a monthly meeting (and frequently more often) with these ministers. Over five ministers have come for meetings at the Atlanta Family Church, and this became the foundation for the ACLC of Georgia.
We now have a core of twelve ministers who are absolutely committed to ACLC. And even though we come from different races and denominational backgrounds we are connected to each other in a relationship of brother- and sisterhood. We frequently joke that we cannot leave each other, because "one can't chose his brothers and sisters." We truly are family.
Because of the ACLC activities of the past year, we could hold very successful Marriage Blessings on April 27th, July 3rd, and September 14th of this year. Our Atlanta Family Church hosted the July 3rd Blessing on a stormy, Wednesday night, when most churches hold their own Bible Study. Yet the Atlanta Family Church was filled to over flowing. This was due to the support of the ACLC ministers who brought their congregations and their own families to the Blessing.
In preparation for the September 19th banquet, many ministers bought whole tables for their associate ministers and colleagues. Tickets were $50 for gold seating, $25 for silver seating, and $10 for general seating.
The Crusade for World Peace Atlanta banquet began promptly at 6:00 p.m. with a blue grass gospel band called the Dapple Gray. The audience especially enjoyed their rendition of "This Little Light of Mine". Rev. Michael Jones, the special assistant to Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin was introduced, and he read a "Welcome to Atlanta" letter from the mayor. Mayor Franklin commended Dr. Moon for her work for world peace and the Ambassadors for Peace initiative. Later in the program, Rev. Jones himself received an appointment as Ambassador for Peace.
Letters of welcome and congratulations were received from the Lieutenant Governor, the Atlanta Mayor, and the County Executive of DeKalb County. Secretary of State Cathy Cox sent an Honorary Georgian Award to Dr. Moon.
Forty-five members of the Morris Brown College Gospel Choir presented a rousing gospel song. Morris Brown was founded by the A.M.E. Church. Later during the banquet, the Morris Brown College Chaplain and Pastor of the Greater Mt. Carmel AME Church of Doraville, Rev. James Alexander, received an appointment as Ambassador for Peace from Mrs. Moon. The head of the Morris Brown College mathematics department, Professor Abi Lawual, was also in attendance. He was very enthusiastic about the marriage and family emphasis of the event, and expressed interest in finding a bride himself.
Rev. Tom Cutts, the Regional Director for the American Family Coalition, was the Master of Ceremonies for the first part of the program and at exactly 6:30 p.m. he introduced Rev. Michael Jenkins, President of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification in the USA. Rev. Jenkins served as Master of Ceremonies for the remainder of the program. Bishop Shirley Cotton, of the Pentecostal Church of God Fairburn Mission offered a spirit-filled invocation, asking God's blessing upon all the assembled, and particular grace, guidance and protection upon Mrs. Moon.
Rev. Jenkins prepared the audience to receive True Mother by sharing an enthusiastic testimony about the September 14th Muslim/Christian Blessing in New York City. He also presented Biblical references to earthly encounters with the Spiritual Realm.
A video documenting the life work of Dr. Moon was presented, and then Archbishop George Augustus Stallings preached a powerful homily on the Spiritual Realm, utilizing many Biblical references. Then True Mother was introduced, she came to podium with a standing ovation and loud applause from the audience.
True Mother delivered her speech entitled "The Origin of Peace is God" and the audience followed along in their speech books. The listeners were held in rapt attention, and not a sound was heard as True Mother spoke, except for the simultaneous turning of pages, and spontaneous applause and shouts of "Amen" during the reading.
After her speech, Mother appointed five Ambassadors of Peace and presented them with their certificates. The five representatives included; Mrs. Karla Brandau of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; Chaplain James Alexander; Mr. Jae Kwon Won, President of the Advisory Council on the Democratic and Peaceful Reunification of Korea; Pastor Rose Duperval, Family Outreach Ministries; Ms. Fran Downing, Deacon at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit at Chapel Hill; Georgia State Representative Pamela Stanley; and Rev. John Winfrey, Pastor of the Cornerstone Southern Baptist, King, North Carolina.
Then Mother received a huge Faith and Family Award trophy. This award was "presented to Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon in recognition of her tireless efforts to bring peace into this troubled world by bringing the Family of God together to Stand for Family, to Save the Nation and the World."
Presenting the trophy were Senator Donzella James; Elder Donald Watts of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; Mr. Chun Sik Yu, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the American-Korean Chamber of Commerce; and Apostle Willie Malcom, the Presiding District Apostle of Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ Church.
The Rev. Dr. Gloria Wright and her husband, Deacon Daniel Wright then presented a beautiful bouquet of flowers to True Mother. Dr. Wright is the pastor of Simmons Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church of Lawrenceville, Georgia.
After True Mother left the stage, Rev. Elay Kasongo, the Regional Chairwoman of the Women's Federation for World Peace, read selected testimonies of the saints from the Spiritual Realm. While she read meditative music was played and dinner was served. We had chicken with a dried cherry glaze and wild rice. For dessert we had pumpkin cheese cake.
After the testimonies from the Spiritual Realm, the Atlanta Family Church International Choir sang. This twenty-five voice choir was directed by Rev. Elay Kasongo. Each choir member was dressed in the costume of a different country. These beautiful costumes even attracted the attention of other guests in the hotel. Representing different countries they visually expressed True Parents dream of a multi-racial, multi-cultural family of God. Their songs were also very meaningful. One was appropriately called, "Christ is Here."
Rev. Jenkins invited the guests to a prayer breakfast the next morning. Rev. Jenkins and Archbishop Stallings would be preaching along with Bishop Jonathan Greer, and Bishop Shirley Cotton.
[note - Over fifty ministers attended the breakfast, including Baptist ministers, Pentecostal Bishops, S.C.L.C. Vice President Rev. Randell Osborne, leaders from the Nation of Islam, an imam from the American Muslim Society, a Mormon Elder, and AME Zion pastor, and others. Both Rev. Jenkins and Bishop Stallings preached powerfully. Rev. Jenkins testified that Rev. and Mrs. Moon were the Second Coming of Christ. One Pentecostal Bishop started praising God, and danced when he heard this revelation. Rev. Jenkins also challenged the pastors to preach "no more divorce" to their congregations, and that they had to practice that lifestyle themselves to be able to properly plant that seed. Archbishop Stallings preached that Jesus didn't come to die, and that John the Baptist failed his mission because he did not know who he was.]
A troop of ten dancers from Latin America presented a number of exciting dances. They dancers were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Dressed in brightly colored Mexican costumes they made a striking impression upon the audience. A special hard-wood dance floor had been prepared so the audience could hear the rhythm of their feet. In one exciting part of the program, one dancer brandished two machetes, and swung them about blind-folded in time with the music.
Rev. Jenkins, Rev. Jean B. Kasongo, and Rev. Tom Cutts appointed 100 additional distinguished guests as Ambassadors of Peace, and presented them with their certificates.
The evening concluded with two more songs from the Morris Brown College Gospel Choir. Closing prayers were offered by Bishop George Craig from Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Presiding Apostle Willie Malcom. Bishop Craig prayed that Heaven would continue to guide and protect Father Moon and Mother Moon, and that all people on earth would welcome this "revelation of the latter testament."
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