The Words of the Byer Family
Rev. Joong Hyun Pak greets Rev. Jeddie King and other ministers at an ICC Alumni Banquet.
The period of time from July to November 1988, when our True Parents were in Korea, was characterized by enormous growth for the ICC Alumni Association in the New York City area, Region 11.
On August 2, through the guidance of our new regional director, Rev. Joong Hyun Pak, the New York ICC staff and New York church members held a banquet for alumni for the purpose of celebrating the victory of sending 7,000 ministers to Korea and of charting the future course of ICC in the region. Under a beautiful banner with the words "Reviving the Soul of New York," the banquet was well attended by over 160 alumni, who heard testimonies, music, and keynote speeches by Rev. Pak and Rev. James Bevel.
At the end of the program, the ministers filled out response cards, which revealed that youth seminars were an area of concern for them. Consequently, Rev. Pak directed the New York ICC to begin a youth seminar program.
A rousing gospel number at the ICC Alumni Banquet on October 11, 1988.
The movie The Last Temptation of Christ was showing in local theaters at that time, amidst tremendous controversy.
After viewing this movie, Rev. Pak felt that our youth seminars could much better portray Jesus as a true role model for young people. Through lectures and slide presentations, these seminars emphasized that our true human value comes from being children of God. Jesus' words in the Beatitudes were explained, using excerpts from Rev. Pak's doctoral work on this subject, and clips from the movie The King of Kings were shown. Rev. Sudo, who had come to Region 11 as our national itinerary worker in the role of a truly loving parent, gave insightful presentations on who Jesus really is and how we can be more like him. Emphasizing the importance of maintaining purity, Rev. Sudo explained in contemporary terms the consequences of the fall to the young guests.
The young people responded enthusiastically. Albert Johnson of Harlem, NY, said, "The ICC Youth Seminar showed me how I can get closer to God and what steps I have to take." Celia Johnson added, "I learned a great deal about who Jesus is, and how I can be like him." Geraldine Savage of Long Island, NY, testified: "I realized how important it is to strengthen my relationship with Jesus daily... he is the best father I could have."
During a New York area leaders' meeting, Rev. Sudo suggested that the strongest testimony we can give to encourage young people to live a pure and God-centered lifestyle is to lead our own lives as representatives of True Parents. He said we should not be hesitant to openly testify to all the world about our lifestyle.
With the coming of Rev. Sudo to Region 11, our focus became the education of ICC alumni. Education involves a process of fine-tuning the ministers' understanding of the significance of the ICC and alumni work. This requires time and investment, but it is vital in order for them to assume more responsibility in sending other ministers to Korea and in ultimately saving this nation. With Rev. Pak's encouragement and Rev. Sudo's experience as a lecturer, our region was able to give a deeper understanding of the Principle and the reasons why American ministers have such an important responsibility in the salvation of the world.
To this end, eight Advanced ICC Seminars were held throughout the various districts of New York City with the theme and purpose of deepening the vision the ministers had caught in Korea and encouraging them to share their revitalizing ICC experience with others. Two of the seminars were a joint effort of Region 11 church members and the national ICC staff.
Each seminar began with Rev. Sudo going over the process of the fall of Adam and Eve, followed by an explanation of the current moral dilemma of fallen man. Next, he would give a testimony of Father's life, including many of his own personal experiences with Father. He would focus on Father's discovery of the fall during his journey through the spirit world in very explicit and dramatic way. It would go something like this:
Father began to question Lucifer very generally at first..."You must have been very lonely when Adam and Eve were created, weren't you?" "Yes." "Sometimes you and Eve would go for long walks together, isn't that true?" "Yes." "Eve must have appeared to be so beautiful to you, is that right?" "Yes." "Sometimes you would hold hands and touch, wouldn't you?" "Yes."
Then Father, in a manner like a knife that pierced through Lucifer's heart, said: "Then you must have committed fornication with Eve, DIDN'T YOU?"
Lucifer could say nothing. He was in complete shock!
This was a powerful prelude to Rev. Sudo's next words, in which he testified directly and personally to Father's messiahship. He would begin by asking the ministers, "Many of you have heard that most Unification Church members believe that Rev. Moon is the Second Coming, isn't that right?" No answer. "Isn't that true?" he would repeat. Collective murmurs and responses from the ministers would signify their tentative agreement. "Well, I am one of those who believe that. But I would like to explain to you why I believe this way." Whereupon Rev. Sudo would give an explanation of his understanding of Rev. Moon's providential role.
Rev. Sudo gives an eye-opening talk on "Rev. Moon and World Peace Centering on Korea."
In our movement, generally speaking, the greater one's understanding, the deeper one's commitment. One of the difficulties we have found through our association with alumni is the ministers' varying levels of commitment. In order to strengthen their commitment, we sought to deepen their understanding of the Principle, especially in connection with immediate providential concerns such as sending ministers to Korea. A lecture on "Rebirth and the Significance of Physical Salvation" enabled many ministers to understand why they still struggle with sin; consequently they could gain a much more solid understanding of the purpose of the Second Coming.
Through these and other presentations, using comparative theology, we found that we could help to solve many of the ministers' questions. The ministers who participated in these lectures increased their understanding, acceptance, and commitment to the Alumni Association.
During one seminar, Jim Stephens, the national ICC director, gave an inspiring presentation on the direction of the ICC and the development of the ICC trinity system [see next page]. Revealing their newly-found commitment, the ministers enthusiastically agreed to be a part of a trinity and support each other through prayer and service in each other's churches and ministries. An important function of the trinity system will be to invite other ministers to participate in a trinity and encourage them to go to Korea.
Through Rev. Pak's guidance, approximately 10 trinities have now been developed in Region 11. Each trinity consists of three to five ministers and is supported by a Unification Church district leader or local ICC representative. As the director of ICC for Region 11, I am also encouraging the formation of trinities on the regional level with representatives from each district. We are learning that this is not an automatic process; it requires a lot of investment and support!
In conclusion, while Rev. Sudo was in our region, approximately 120 ministers received very deep internal guidance centering on the Principle. This included more than 40 alumni who attended our Advanced ICC Seminars and about 70 alumni who received, in a very positive way, Rev. Sudo's talk entitled "Rev. Moon and World Peace Centering on Korea." Thus, we feel we now have a more substantial foundation upon which to once again start bringing ministers to Korea in 1989.