Unification News for April 2003
Take Down the Cross Service - Texas
by Rev. Mark Hernandez
A month ago, prior to attending the Chicago ACLC Convocation, I had read a report to Rev C. and Rev O. concerning True Father's comments about the Cross to Jewish and Christians leaders who had attended the Middle East Conference. Then upon attending the Chicago workshop, Rev. C.was met by a smiling sister who recognized him from the Ocean City 2002 workshop. According to Rev C., she said, "Rev C. it's so nice to see you. Did you take down your cross yet?" He didn't know what to say. Actually since he had heard TF's words, he had begun to feel the Holy Spirit telling him to take his church's cross down. What that sister blurted out struck him to his core. He declared publicly that he would obey the Spirit and take down the cross as soon as he returned to Dallas.
Unfortunately, he got wrapped up in his usual busy schedule and forgot to keep his promise. Then, while Rev C.was out of town and his pastor friend Rev Ricky C. (who had attended Chicago and heard C's promise) was presiding over Palm Sunday service for C., the church's 8' by 4' cross fell off the wall and struck one of the church's elders. By God's grace the elder was not terribly hurt. After service when Ricky C. called C. to report what had happened, he immediately began to repent of his failure to keep his word. Rev. C. returned from his trip on Wed. night 4/16 and met with me the next day, Maundy Thursday, to plan a noontime Good Friday Service to Take Down the Cross.
As invited ministers and C's own members arrived in the hour before service was to begin, we found him on the church grounds shoveling out the last of the 9' x 5' hole in which he was going to lay to rest his church's sanctuary cross. The service, having been hastily called into being was attended by 2 of his church leaders and 12 other members. Other attending and fully supportive clergy were Rev Tessie Willis, Co-Pastor, Lighthouse of Faith Family Church and Rev Ricky C., Pastor, Mercy Seat. There were also 10 or more Family Federation leaders and members in attendance.
Rev C. felt comfortable following the suggested liturgy and called upon me to assist him in its delivery. There was oneness of mind amongst all present which brought the strong presence of the Holy Spirit. Many wept during the '7 Last Words' but the mood changed to joy as Rev C. spoke about the Blessing which breaks the curse and truly allows resurrected life in spirit and flesh. We sang the 'Old Rugged Cross' as we went outside following Rev C. lead as he shouldered the cross to its final resting place. His member's enthusiastically supported Bishop Shin's closing prayer (in Korean) with outbursts of praise and gratitude. They all said they would wear their crowns with responsibility.
Houston, TX event
Rev Hayes had begun to plan out this Good Friday service about ten days ago. He asked his friend and DP spiritual parent, Rev Charles K. , Pastor of Will of God Family Church, to give the evening's sermon and then had asked Rev Nathan B., Pastor of 2nd Baptist Church to give comments on the Seven Last Words, asked me to give a 20 minute reading from The New Future of Christianity, and asked Rev Curtis Walker to receive the taken-down-Cross and lay it to rest symbolically. Several of Rev Hayes' own ministers participated in the reading and explanation of the 7 Last Words. Almost persons attended the nighttime service. The number of supporting clergy in attendance (including Rev Hayes' own ministers) I would put at 30. They represented 11 churches. Amongst the visiting pastors whose names I was able to confirm were: Rev Charles K. , his co-pastor Rev Essie K. Rev. Nathan B. and his first lady, Magnolia B., Rev. Eth. and his evangelist wife assistant, Rev Mary P. Asst Pastor, Holy Cross and co-founder of Bible Answers Institute, Rev Elijah P. and first lady, whose church name I was not able to clearly hear. I will call Mrs. H. to help me with ascertaining more names of guests.
Every ACLC speaker spoke with absolute authority to let the truth be known. All of Rev. H.'s' members had been to the 1 day workshop exactly a week before and mentioned that proudly. They were hungry to hear more truth from a host of different speakers.
Rev H. called the day, Bad Friday because it was the day a tragic injustice was carried out against the Messiah and Son of God who was to have become the King of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. The cross was taken down and draped in white shroud to be laid to rest and never to reappear in Rev. H's church. The members came forth with paper crosses as in an altar call, to surrender their cross and receive their crown (pins that had been made and sent out by Levy).
Hayes temporarily placed on his sanctuary wall, not one but two crowns -- a larger one for a King and a smaller one for a Queen. They will eventually fill the spot where the old cross had been hung.
It was clear to me that Rev. H. and his people and all the other ACLC clergy realized fully the historical significance of what they were undertaking and H. gave all the credit for this era of resurrection and new truth to Rev Sun Myung Moon.
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