The Words of the Jenkins Family after 2008
Forty pastors gathered for a monthly prayer breakfast in Atlanta on Saturday, September 18, 2010. Hearts were lifted by Ms. Pamela Flannigan during the associates' update in which key leaders of ACLC shared how they are working in their community.
The MC for the day was Rev. Jacqueline Harris of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church of Georgia. Sister Mary Salam and Sister Baiza Muhammad, a natural health specialist, shared about natural healing. Ms. Pamela Flannigan shared about how to be true to the Word. We prayed for ACLC, SCLC and for the work of clergy.
Noted gospel artist, Ms. Angelika Tucker, touched our hearts with a song she wrote for the people in Haiti, "One Family at a Time." As she sang we could feel that the lyrics were not only speaking to the suffering in Haiti but to every family, about how they must come out of the suffering in the community and be touched by the Lord. It also conveyed that when we have this spirit of God we can rebuild our family, our character, and our nation. People were standing and cheering. Then, Ms. Rena Merikin, president of Children of Abraham, who had been with ACLC in the Holy Land, gave a beautiful invocation.
Sen. Steen Miles, former Georgia senator and news reporter, began by saying, "First of all, I want everybody to know that my first vocation now is no longer as a senator but as a minister of the Gospel. I would prefer to be called Minister or Rev. Steen Miles." Everyone said, "Amen." She gave an incredible welcome to the ACLC vision, which she presented with heart and profound understanding, as she has helped to build ACLC throughout this nation.
Rev. Harris invited Rev. Jenkins, chairman of ACLC, to come forward. He shared the news clip that ABC News broadcast from the ACLC "Day of Reverence and Respect for all Faiths" press conference held at the Imani Temple on September 10, 2010. Then he shared the importance of our love and respect for the Muslim faith and the Holy Books. Four ministers in the room were regular Muslim participants of ACLC who were so moved by the spirit of the broadcast, calling all Christians to invite Imams and Muslims to their Sunday service and to embrace them.
Then Rev. Jenkins shared about the upcoming Women In Ministry (WIM) conference to be held in Philadelphia, testifying about the 2008 WIM conference in Atlanta, Georgia that had been centered on Dr. King's spirit. When he asked, "Remember ACLC WIM in Atlanta?" people shouted out, "Hallelujah!" There was a special spirit of WIM, and everybody was so happy to receive the invitation.
A video presentation titled: "Rebuild the Family, Restore the Community, Renew the Nation and World," was then given to the audience. The video is a powerful summary of the work of ACLC, from pastors' forums to revivals, prayer breakfasts, to the bringing of the body of Christ together in the movement calling for a Generation Peace. It concludes with Rev. In Jin Moon sharing that it's not in our power that change will come, but it's in our spirit and conviction to move the hearts of other people to do what's right for God.
Rev. Julia Horton, pastor of the Triumph Church and Kingdom of God in Christ in Marietta, Georgia, gave a beautiful reading from the Scripture. Prophetess E. Lawson got up and shared how much she loved Rev. Moon and this movement. She said, "I don't want to be only with people like me. I want to be with people of God who are from different families and communities. That's what really inspires us. If we're only with those like us, we get bored. We can't really stimulate one another. It's our complementary differences that make a colorful garden of beauty and love." Then she sang in a way that captivated everyone's soul.
Dr. Gloria Wright, founder and pastor of Dayspring International Ministries, introduced the speaker of the hour, Rev. Dr. A.J. Milner, a renowned author, pastor of Chapel of Christ Love, and founder and CEO of Community Concerns. His sermon was entitled, "Committed to Making a Difference: How I followed in Jesus' footsteps."
Pastor Milner shared that he was close personal friends with Dr. Joseph Lowery and so happy to see that Dr. Lowery was working with this movement. He testified that he had known of Rev. Moon years before when people from different countries were going into neighborhoods of Atlanta to do food distribution with churches. He never could forget Brother Genaro from Italy, who shared with him the love of Jesus and never gave up, even though he was initially rejected by the community. The two of them became lifelong friends, even after Genaro moved back to Italy.
Rev. Milner shared how he was so impressed with Dr. Lowery when they met the chairman of one of the major airlines, who supports Dr. Lowery's foundation. Dr. Lowery said he could not accept a large contribution for a certain project to help the community unless he was sure it would help the community. That kind of integrity and character, and being willing to pass up even financial advancement in order to make sure what we're doing is right, is most beautiful.
Dr. Milner's message was very deeply stirring. As a young boy he had a traumatic experience in life. He wasn't a Christian for all his young adult life, even after he was married. He did believe in God, but he said to this day he's a little skeptical of religious folk because they seem to say one thing and do another.
His father had passed away when Rev. Milner was a young boy and his mother struggled to keep a roof over their heads. Finally one day she couldn't come up with the rent and the family was kicked out on the street with all their belongings. He was walking home from school and kids were making fun of him. "You've been put out. You don't even have a house." He saw his mother weeping on the street and felt so much compassion and sorrow for her, but he also felt a troubling question deep inside: "God, why would you do this to us? We believe in you. Why would you humiliate me and my family like this, to be put out on the sidewalk with my mother crying?"
It wasn't until years later -- after he came to know the Lord -- that he heard the Lord say to him, "I did that because I was shaping you so you could be truly great, to do something great for others. Many times our suffering is not simply because we did something wrong. Many times our tribulations are allowed so God can raise us to be greater people of faith with integrity, people of courage and character."
It was from those suffering moments that he felt called to organize a small church. He didn't go after the affluent, but felt called to go door-to-door in the most difficult neighborhoods, where he found saints prepared by the Lord. As he said, "We formed a congregation and it grew and grew, until finally the Lord blessed us, and we saw what we had to do for the community: educating young people, sending them to college. Through prayer, and with other churches, we raised scholarship funds, putting many through college. Now they write back that they're good Christians, running businesses. Some are pastors, some are leaders of the community, some elected, but they always say how the church helped them get through.
"This is what Jesus is all about. Jesus can definitely show us the way to overcome tribulation. When we are blessed, we've got to turn around and help somebody else. I can feel ACLC is helping pastors and others to come together."
Dr. Milner has built 42 houses for the needy with the help of Mayor Franklin of Atlanta and other concerned black clergy. He could see that if we pool our resources, determined to help people, God will make a way. He found we could keep expanding and building for others, making a difference.
"I'm just a country boy," he said, "and can never forget what my grandmother taught me, a beautiful hymn, 'Jesus Loves the Little Children, all the children of the world. Red, yellow, black and white, they are beautiful in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.' I'm here to tell you that God does not see color. God is looking for people who know the Lord with commitment to better other people's lives. Then we can save them. Without that commitment we can't save people." The ACLC in Atlanta is stronger than ever, thanks to the Atlanta pastors and Senators as well as Rev. Tom Cutts and Rev. Kimura and all volunteers.
Rev. Michael Jenkins, Chairman of the American Clergy Leadership Conference.