The Words of the Sudo Family
Rev. Sudo leads the New York delegation in discussion.
The two dozen clergymen of Region 13 (New York City) who attended the San Francisco Convention consider themselves the trend-setters among the different regions. "New York thinks up the ideas first and the other regions follow," said Rev. Millie Rios of the Bronx. The following is part of the group's discussion of how they could bring ministers to forthcoming CAUSA conferences.
REV. DR. HERMES ROSA: As clergy, we have tremendous influence. Basically communism thrives on ignorance. I can speak for my church. When you mention Rev. Moon, when you mention the Unification Church, when you mention the Catholics, there is a lot of apathy. And that apathy does not come from Christianity. That apathy comes from ignorance. I suggest that we start educating our ministers. (Amen!)
We can conduct seminars. For example, I know five or six big Pentecostal churches in the Bronx. I'd like to invite Rev. Sudo and maybe two or three others to speak there. I am invited every day to preach and to conduct conferences at several councils. We can give a seminar on how to become a better minister. We can teach not only the Bible, but theology; we can teach about communism and about the problems that ministers and their parishioners are facing every day. Let us erase the ignorance we find. If I get those CAUSA groups together, can I count on your support? (Yes, sure!)
ANOTHER MINISTER: I will tell you what happened since our last conference. Before then, I could not have introduced CAUSA to my bishop. And now he is going to be a member.
BISHOP CURTIS BROWN: I first got involved in Westchester as part of the Religious Freedom Conference. I have been just recently introduced to CAUSA. I try not to go out and propagate phenomena that I am not very familiar with myself. I think it is very important for me to be well educated in the presentation of the program for my constituents.
DR. BILLY JOHNSON: Educating ourselves -- I think that is important.
REV. PALMEDA VASQUEZ: One of the biggest problems I have encountered in getting all of the ministers from the Lower East Side together is that they believe that if they come to a meeting concerning CAUSA or religious freedom, they will have to become members of the Unification Church. (General agreement.) You can ask this minister here. He is a witness to that fact. We had a meeting and we had that problem. None of them would accept anything because they thought they would have to become members of the Unification Church. I think this is one topic of ignorance that has to be wiped out. One of these ministers is different. He found out that this is not so. Now he is into it. So I won him for the cause.
DR. JOHNSON: This is a real problem. Let the secretary put it down. We will deal with developing a strategy on how to handle this.
MR. GARY JAMES: I would just like to make some observations on this particular situation which Rev. Vasquez mentioned, because I happened to be there when that happened, and it's a usual phenomenon.
First I think it's important that specific education be targeted to the clergy. However, I think the education process should also be targeted to other segments of the community, such as political leaders and business leaders. I say this having been a professional organizer in the National Welfare Rights Organization in the 1960s. I can attest to the pervasiveness of the communist operations on the local level. The question is, how do we effectively deal with this. The church has a unique responsibility, I think, in that it cuts across most of the segments of society. But there is a lot of community activism that students and community people take a great part in, and this is where, to a great extent, the communist threat lies -- dealing with racism and other issues. As Rev. Vasquez has mentioned, there is a definite reticence in approaching someone to get them involved in what you are doing, particularly when they have some problems, some issues that are pressing them. And in order for them to move forward with you on this greater mission, it is necessary to deal with them where they are in relation to their own problems.
I think we are basically concerned with a problem of organization. How do we begin to organize on various levels, to move people into this consciousness of a God-centered ideology?
DR. JOHNSON: Those people you reach out to -- they have needs. They already have problems. You have to, in some way, become aware of their problems and be productive in dealing with them in order to move toward your greater goal.
When you cut it down the middle, it is basically God or no God. We in this room know that alienation is derived from sin. We know that. We have many symptoms of that. We know where the problem is. So if I've got people who have a family problem or an alcohol problem or a housing problem, then as I deal with those people, I must communicate at their particular level. This is another agenda item we can deal with.
REV. MILLIE RIOS: I have several ideas which I have put into practice, and they have been useful.
All of us know young people. When they pick up on an idea, they really go all out for it, full steam ahead. In the last seminar I invited some of my students to come. These are leaders among young people -- from the colleges, universities, and churches: those whom we call "young-people ministers." And a lot of you know evangelists who work solely with young people. Let's get them to come to one of these seminars. Get them to participate, become interested, and then ask them to bring other young people. Before you know it we will have an army of young people. That's the first idea. I've tried it and it's working. We have some young people who are going to the conference in Chicago because they got interested in the one we had this Friday and Saturday in New York.
The next idea is this: A lot of you are parents and you go to PTA [Parent Teachers Association] meetings at schools. I give lectures at high schools and colleges. The first thing I did since I got involved with CAUSA was to tell the guidance counselors about it. Ask them to pass the word around. I leave them brochures on CAUSA. Give them to the teachers you know are interested. Don't just give them out to anybody -- especially if you suspect they might be harmful. Give them to people that you know you can trust and that you know will be interested in getting the word of God across. There are a lot of teachers who are really interested. We have teachers among us here. Many of you teach at seminaries, and you have outstanding students among you who want serve the Lord.
That's the third idea. Go after those students in the seminaries. You ministers, like myself, know that there are certain people who are going to take responsibility and who really want to let the world know that God is alive.