Unification News for April 1997
Chicago Congregation Receives the Blessing
by Bruce Sutchar-Chicago, IL
The members of the congregation watched as Drs. Michael & Ophelia Dunlap were receiving the Holy Wine as part of the blessing ceremony in their father's African Methodist Episcopal Church. Many of us could not help but smile as we reflected on the more than twelve years of interaction that we have had with Rev. A. I. Dunlap and his Mt. Olive A.M.E. Church congregation.
In March of 1985, Rev. Dunlap had invited the members of our church to join him for his annual pew rally on the first Sunday in March. Inspired by the civil rights efforts of Rev. and Mrs. Moon to bring people of all races together, Rev. Dunlap had decided to issue a special award to Rev. Moon at this special service. He had announced the issuing of the award publicly and on the religion page of the newspaper. Now, please think back to 1985 for a moment and as you might imagine, all kinds of persecution began to come Rev. Dunlap's way. Attacks, accusations and threats began to stream in as to what was about to happen to him, should he not have the wherewithal to rescind the award.
Just a little bit of background about the Reverend Alexander Isaiah Dunlap. A native of North Carolina and a veteran of the Civil Rights movement in Danville, Virginia, where he was pastoring at the time that Dr. King was most active, Rev. Dunlap has stared prejudice, hatred and bigotry squarely in the face on many, many occasions. In fact he has been jailed 39 times fighting for the rights of all people to be treated as equal under the laws of the United States as well as in the eyes of God. The 39th time was for defending the good name and reputation of Reverend Sun Myung Moon. This took place on the very day that the United States was celebrating the 200th anniversary of the ratification of its constitution (September 17, 1987). Today many people claim to have known Dr. King, but in fact, Rev. Dunlap as a young Pastor (he likes the word Shepherd) in Danville, Virginia-(which he reminds us was the last capital of the Confederacy) headed the local Civil Rights efforts in that city. In this capacity he hosted Dr. King in his own home as he had previously hosted Rev. Vernon Johns who was Dr. King's predecessor at the Dexter Street Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.
Given this little bit of historical background, the fact that Rev. Dunlap did not back down one iota should come as no surprise to anyone who really knows him. In fact, the plaque that he presented to Rev. Moon on that Sunday is now hanging up in Father's house in Chung Pa Dong.
Over the span of the past 12 years, we have fellowshipped with Rev. Dunlap, his family and the members of Mt. Olive A.M.E. Church more and more frequently. During this time, many leaders of our Church as well as Kook Jin Nim, and our Korean leaders have been invited to preach in his church. Rev. Dunlap, a graduate of Gammon Theological Seminary attended the final ICC Conference in Korea (for Seminary Graduates only) and was blessed in Chicago in August of 1995. In between times, he has somehow found the time to participate in almost every one of our major activities from speaking at CARP rallies to visiting significant religious and political dignitaries. Through his efforts we were able to secure the chapel at the University of Chicago by demanding that the President of the University honor our right to allow In Jin Nim and Jin Sung Nim to speak during the True Family's University Tour. In 1992 Rev. Dunalp hosted over 2500 guests for our inaugural United
to Serve America Conference. He was then selected to come to New York to represent all of Christian America in presenting True Parents with a plaque honoring them for their efforts to resurrect Christianity in America. He also met the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune and the Midwestern Director of NBC National News to explain to them the position of Rev. Moon and the Unification Church in modern day religious America.
In this era of True Family Values, Rev. Dunlap was one of the first Chicago ministers to attend the conferences in Washington, D.C. He and Mrs. Margaret Dunlap have been married for nearly 35 years and are the proud parents of 4 beautiful children, His oldest son Alex has an M.B.A. from the University of Iowa, Michelle is working on her M.B.A., Barbara is a recent graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where she served as President of her class, his son Michael, who just received the Blessing, is a Professor of Dentistry at the University of Illinois where he met his wife
Dr. Ophelia Dunlap.
When asked why he is so supportive of the Unification Movement and Rev. and Mrs. Moon, Rev. Dunlap will share his heart, that he truly believes that God is continuing the work that he began through Dr. King through Rev. Moon. That is the work of bringing all races together under God.
So on Sunday, March 3rd, Rev. Dunlap had invited our Regional Director Rev. Ki Hun Kim to give the sermon to our combined church congregations. He had also arranged for a blessing to take place just before the formal communion. So after Rev. Kim's excellent sermon, before a packed out church, Rev. Dunlap invited married couples to come forward and participate in a new form of communion-that of husband and wife taking communion (holy wine) together. Led by his son and daughter-in-law, 6 couples received the blessing as Rev. and Mrs. Kim officiated assisted by Rev. and Mrs. Jenkins. Likewise many other churches are preparing to hold blessing ceremonies in their churches.
Our dear brother, Rev. T. L. Barrett held an exciting blessing in his church on Saturday, March 15th where 25 couples received the blessing from Rev. and Mrs. Joong Hyun Pak as all the Korean Regional Directors in America joined us in Chicago. This group included a COGIC Superintendent and a Lutheran Seminary Professor. The week before, a wonderful Christian couple who had met us through the USA Programs in 1992 received the blessing in their home (they were moving 8 hours away the day before the March 15th blessing) and last weekend several newly blessed couples gathered in one of our homes and supported the parents of one of our blessed children's school mates as they received the blessing.
We in Chicago are excited as we march forward toward November 29th. We are confident that America can fulfill its goal of bringing 360,000 couples to the blessing and we are working and praying that our efforts will result in each blessed couple bringing 160 couples to the blessing.
The day after I finished this article Rev. Dunlap's picture appeared on the top of the front page of the Chicago Tribune in full color. The following day a major story about a current civil rights struggle taking place in Chicago featured him as one of the major leaders of this effort. At this point, I realized how blessed we are to have this historic figure as a true champion who is entrenched in the corner of our True Parents.
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