Unification News for February 1997

Chicago Blessing, Dec. 27, 1996

by Marie Hudson-Chicago, IL

On Dec. 27, 1996, True Family Values Ministry of Chicago, Illinois hosted its first Annual Banquet, Marriage Rededication and Awards Ceremony at Life Center Church of God in Christ (COGIC), under Pastor Rev. T.L. Barrett, Jr. The festivities began with a flag-raising ceremony in the afternoon at the Life Center Church. Rev. and Mrs. Joong Hyun Pak came from New York as True Parents' representatives to present the first Family Federation for World Peace flag to Rev. Barrett and his church. Together with members from the Life Center Church and the Unification Church, Rev. Barrett, Rev. Pak and Rev. Ki Hun Kim raised the flag up the beautiful new flagpole which True Parents donated to Life Center Church.

Rev. Pak offered a beautiful prayer for the dedication of the Family Federation flag. Under the Family Federation flag flies the Life Center flag. No matter from which direction you looked, you could see these flags flying together proudly over the city of Chicago. Rev. Barrett insisted that the Family Federation flag fly over his own church's flag, since-as he stated-the family is the most important unit in God's sight, not any one church.

At 6pm the evening festivities began. The Unification Church family throughout the region came together to make this an unforgettable event for all involved. All members worked hard under the guidance of our regional director, Rev. Ki Hun Kim, and event coordinator Rev. Purnell Spicer, to make this event a success. Rev. Spicer was also the emcee for the night.

Through True Parents' inspiration and guidance, the True Family Values Ministry has been very successful in the Chicago region. The Japanese missionaries treated our 400 guests to a beautiful rendition of "Amazing Grace." Rev. Ki Hun Kim gave the welcoming address. Then a special guest was introduced and received a special award on behalf of his work in Chicago and throughout the world. He gave a moving speech of how we must see beyond our differences and our race.

Continental Director Rev. Joong Hyun Pak gave the keynote address. Everyone was visibly moved by Rev. Pak's speech-especially our special guest, who kept nodding his head in agreement with many points in Rev. Pak's speech. Rev. Pak emphasized that government and politics cannot guide or be responsible finally for family values. Churches and families must carry this responsibility. After Rev. Pak spoke we held a rededication of marriage service with fifteen couples participating in this holy event; many of them were couples who have worked with Unification Church for many years and were moved to receive the Blessing. Our special guest watched this ceremony closely and expressed his belief that this is what can change the hearts of people in America.

After the marriage rededication service, awards were given to some very special people working in Chicago to make our city a place of love and hope. Rev. Kennie and Mrs. Delt of Higher Love Ministries received an award for their work not only with the youth in the neighborhood but also with the families; their goal is to teach families God-centered morals to strengthen the bonds between parents and children. Next, Mr. Yesseh Yehudah from South Shore Community Church received an award for his work in the community. Then, Elder Michael Gougis received an award for her work in training ministers, and for her work with True Family Values, here in Chicago.

This was the first Blessing we held here in Chicago for the rededication of marriage. It was a beautiful start for the new year. This banquet not only gave the ministers and guests hope, it also filled members with renewed energy for fulfilling our goal of 210,000 couples.

Everyone took home with them a sense of hope not only for Chicago but for our nation. And as we all drove off to our different homes, we could see the first Family Federation flag proudly flying over the city of Chicago, blessing each family with the love of God and True Parents.

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