Unification News for March 1997
True Family Values Seminar and Festival at National Headquarters
by Misa Muratake - Tarrytown, NY
I would like to share with you some up-dates of what has been going on with the True Family Values Ministry in Region 2: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
We had the third Empowering Christianity Through True Family Values conference for clergy in the region a few days ago on February 27, which took place at HSA-UWC National headquarters. There will be two more seminars in March at the headquarters.
Dr. Andrew Wilson and Mr. Michael Inglis were the lecturers. Rev. Joong Hyun Pak gave the closing remarks and officiated at the True Family Festival. David Fastiggi was the convenor and emcee of the seminar and Ralph Oppenheimer was the emcee of the Festival.
There were 18 ministers and religious leaders present and a total of over 40 participants. Besides Christian ministers/leaders, we had one Muslim Imam leader with us this time.
After the seminar, two ministers' couples participated in the Pre- Blessing ceremony. From Westchester one Youth Ministry leader from Yonkers participated. He was very inspired by the whole experience of the conference. Having observed the Pre-Blessing ceremony, he was so moved and said that he would like to be Blessed!
As I have been privileged to work with the True Family Values Ministry in Westchester, I feel very urged to share with you my experiences with this ministry and the vision and inspiration that I have been experiencing since I began to work with TFVM. As you may know, the focus of the TFVM Conferences is not to convert Christian ministers or religious leaders to make them into Unificationists. Rather, the conference invites participants to share the vision for the model of a true family, which each of us is called to build in our own families, including religious leaders.
So it is a ministry, inspired by the Holy Spirit, in which we and Christian/religious leaders can work together to rebuild this nation once again.
Supported by scripture, the seminar explores the issue of `absolute sex,' and ultimately invites participants to the Blessing, which is a `sanctification of marriage' and a `rededication ceremony.'
Many participants feel inspired that this ministry can truly bring practical solutions to the problems of their Church and express their desire to participate in the Blessing.
One lady, a wife of a Christian Pastor, who participated in the pre- Blessing Ceremony at the 2nd TFVM Conference in the Poconos, was so happy to be Blessed. After the ceremony she said in such an excited, bubbly voice that she will share this Blessing with her children and all of her relatives, as well as the congregation of her husband's church. (She means that she will bring them all to the Blessing.)
For me, it has truly been an experience of witnessing Jesus' words that the first shall be last, and the last shall be first. I am witnessing that Jesus' foundation, which he has prepared for the last 2,000 years with his tears and prayers, is finally connecting to True Parents through the True Family Values Ministry at this time.
Rev. Joong Hyun Pak, our continental director, shared in one of the leaders' meetings how much True Parents love this nation of America, because it is a Bride nation, prepared by Heaven for her bridegroom,
True Father. Rev. Pak felt that this was one reason why Father supported the TFVM conferences to be all-expenses paid up until now.
True Father is loving and serving Christian leaders (his bride) in this way. Rev. Pak emphasized how much we need to appreciate the way America and American Christians leaders are responding. If we hosted this kind of conference in Japan or Korea, even if all expenses were paid, ministers would never come. But in America, many Christian and religious leaders are attending the conference. Rev. Pak emphasizes not to make ministers or their congregation into Unificationists, but to genuinely work for and serve them. If their churches become stronger, then they will naturally testify.
We are involved in grassroots efforts to visit our assigned Churches and to try to take care of the ministers. As I attended TFVM conferences more and more, I came to realize how much the Christian and religious foundation in America has been prepared by God and Jesus. Just like Jesus brought each of us to True Parents whether we knew it or not, Christian leaders, churches and religious leaders are being prepared by Jesus to be connected to the True parents. We have touched only a handful so far, but I know that there are many more out there who are waiting to be touched.
On Sunday, April 13th, there will be a pre-Blessing ceremony in the Manhattan Center after the monthly General Sunday Service. Each one of us is encouraged to bring one couple to this Pre-Blessing Ceremony. Nationwide, so far, over 200 couples have been Blessed at over 50 True Family Festivals, 85 minister/religious leader couples have been Blessed. I know that if we allow ourselves to work with the high spiritual world, we can reach out to many, many prepared people.
Misa Muratake is the Westchester Assistant District Leader
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