Unification News for May 2001
We Will Stand! 2001 Tour
Dr. Chang Shik Yang
This Welcome Address was given at the ACLC Ministersí Conference, April 17, 2001, Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, DC.
As I look back upon the past year, I can only marvel at the powerful move of God that has taken place. It was in May of last year that 120 members of the clergy from across this country journeyed together to Korea, at Father Moonís invitation, to forge a relationship and initiate a movement that will shake this nation from top to bottom. This morning, as we gather for fellowship, discussion, prayer and planning, we can be sure that the foundation for that movement is solidly in place.
Our clergy members have grown to thousands as we traveled across America. More than 100 newspaper articles, as well as dozens and dozens of TV news reports and radio interviews have portrayed our unity, our diversity, and our powerful spirit. In every city where opposition tried to slow us down or stop us completely- cities like Detroit, St. Louis, Milwaukee, or New Orleans- we only became stronger, more united, more determined. Eventually, we overcame every obstacle, no matter how powerful the enemy, because, as Pastor Edwards said many times, "you cannot stop this movement, because it is of God."
I want to express my deep gratitude to each and every one of you who stood up so strongly: Pastor Barrett, Dr. Taylor, Rev. Edwards, Archbishop Stallings, Dr. Olsen, Rev. Wachstetter, Bishop Baymon, Rev. Elliot, and so many more. Many of you faced hardships on the tour: cancelled flights, overnight at airports, abandoned at passenger pick-up, crazy schedules. More seriously, some of you were warned by your denominational leadership not to stand with this tour or youíd be kicked out. Some were criticized, others were accused, even threatened. But what could we do? God told us to stand, and stand we must!
But those who were concerned about their denomination or position, they could not stand. Those who were worried what their congregation or their church board would think, they could not stand. Those who were afraid that they might lose the financial support of their church, or be ridiculed as Rev. Moon has been, they could not stand!
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. often said that when God places a great truth at the door of your life, if you refuse to stand up because you are afraid of the consequences, you are dead from that moment. It doesnít matter how long you may live, if you deny what you know is right, it is over. That is exactly what Jesus meant when he said, " Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it. But whoever is willing to lose his life for my sake, will find it." Isnít that the truth? Every time you face such a test; whether to worry about position, money, honor, or the respect of men, or whether to "seek first the Kingdom of God, and its righteousness;" when you pass the test, God will bless you abundantly. Oh what a great and wise God we serve!
So you and I, all of us together, have been tested in many ways during these last 52 days. We are being prepared, Iím sure, for a much greater mission. We must make the motto, "Rebuild the Family, Restore the Community, Renew the Nation and World," a reality in America. Our work is just beginning.
Where Weíve Come From
Before we consider where we are headed, letís look at where weíve been. Last May in Korea, at the founding gathering of the American Clergy Leadership Conference, the origin of the 120, God truly worked in a powerful way. We gathered at the DMZ, the line between North and South Korea, the last divided nation on earth. We had come to confront this division with the power of our unity. We shouted out, proclaiming that Korea belonged to God. We released 120 doves, calling for that nation to "study war no more." The doves flew north, across the DMZ to the heart of the north, as if they carried the message right from our hearts.
But as we journeyed back to Seoul, we began to feel that God had another, even greater purpose for us. There we were: black, white, red and brown; from many denominations, trying to bring unity in the world. We realized that the real meaning of our being there was to become one with each other. If we are going to change the world, it must begin here in America. And if America is going to be moved, the community of faith must unite. God had called us to a distant land, to bring us together through our sojourn.
Pastor Barrett, Bishop Billings, and several pastors made it clear that they had not come to Korea for tours and sightseeing. As long as they were "guests," they felt, there would be no "movement" to this movement at all. God truly led us. We cancelled our tours and leisure time, and we began to dialogue and conference. On our last day we climbed the holy mountain at Chung Pyung Lake , where Father Moon had prayed overnight with tears countless times through the years. We prayed, we worshipped, we fellowshipped together. And as many of you remember, a rainbow appeared in a circle around the sun, something none of us had ever seen before. We knew that God was smiling down upon us. As we built bonds of unity and love, the vision of the American Clergy leadership Conference slowly emerged. We came down from that mountain with a deep sense of purpose and mission.
Throughout the summer ACLC members supported the "Lasting Love" Conferences in America, Russia, China and Korea. Some attended the U.N. declarations and conferences, others participated in the American Leadership Conferences. But our true target was the "Million Family March," which our clergy from across America supported with busloads of participants. But no one invested more to support Minister Farrakhanís call for family and unity than Father Moon did.
The spirit of that day was wonderful. The unity beyond race and religion was beautiful. But we all knew that it was just a beginning. The ACLC seriously began to build a movement. In early December last year, we stood in front of the Supreme Court, in the midst of angry voices and bitter divisions, and called for America to "Forgive, Love, Unite!" When hundreds of pastors gathered in Chicago for the first annual ACLC conference in December, the idea for this 50-state tour was born. At the closing banquet, which coincided with the fifth annual True Family Values Awards Program, 2,600 clergy and faithful embraced Father Moonís message. Before dawn the following morning he called and told us that we needed to carry that same spirit to all 50 states.
The last 52 days have changed the spirit of our ACLC movement. As weíve shared incredible experiences on the road, we have become truly one. As we have seen the spirit move in mighty ways, in city after city, we can testify that God is leading this movement. As we have faced trials, opposition and difficulty, we have only become stronger. Our commitment is not simply based upon logic. Even though we may have to let go of what we have understood and believed in the past, we cannot deny the power of the Holy Spirit that is in our midst. Then where do we go from here?
Rebuild the Family
When we say, "Rebuild the family," it is not a mere slogan or buzzword. How do we do it? Father Moon has laid it out for us every night on the tour. We must absolutely acknowledge the holiness of our sexuality, and consecrate it before God. As Saint Paul taught, and as Father Moon has shown us, our body belongs to our spouse. We do not have the authority or right to misuse them. If you and I cannot stand on the foundation of purity, then we cannot restore the families in our communities; we cannot properly guide our young people.
If you have your spouse, then, you have to say, "We Will Stand Together!" Absolute fidelity is the standard of the ACLC. Of course, we have all sinned, and come short of the glory of God. But when Jesus said, "Be ye therefore perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect," that is the kind of unity between our mind and body that he meant. James 3:2 explains that a perfect man can keep his body under control, and control his tongue also.
We cannot be wishy-washy about this point. Fidelity toward your spouse must be your personal foundation for your ministry and mission. If you donít have a spouse, please pray seriously, and ask God what he wants you to do. If you stand upon personal righteousness, then through the power of this movement, and the spiritual foundation of Father and Mother Moon as True Parents, you can establish a powerful ministry of reconciliation and family renewal in your church. That is exactly what is happening to Pastor Barrett, as his family and church are being rebuilt, restored, and renewed. Through this movement we will be able to minister to the single parents and broken families in our congregations and communities, not by judging them, but by healing them. This is the power of Godís true love.
Restore the Community
Similarly, when we say, "Restore the Community," we must first break down the barriers. Do not assume that simply because we fellowship together as we do, that we have accomplished this unity. What we have done so far is the easy part. Traveling together, meeting at conferences or when we are called together is only the beginning. We must show our fellow clergy and our congregations that we have torn down the walls between us. In the coming months we will preach in each otherís churches, support each otherís ministries, and work together on a totally new level.
The riots taking place in Cincinnati have shown us that racial hatred can flare up in a moment. Bishop J had his church burned by the KKK not so long ago. We must stand against this hatred, with the power of our love, and by putting that love into action. Each of us must ask ourselves, "How far am I willing to go? How much am I willing to invest of myself to truly love my brother or sister?" If we forge the deepest unity based upon service and sacrifice, we can stand as an example to our congregations and communities. Just as the ACLC leadership did at the Supreme Court last December, we must become the unified voice of love, forgiveness and reconciliation for those around us. If we truly become one with each other, which cannot come by lip service alone, then more and more people will be drawn spiritually to work with us. Many of you are here now only because you were moved by the spiritual power of our unity, isnít it true?
Renew the Nation and World
As we work to spread this spirit to those in the faith community who are prepared, you will see that this nation will be moved. Later this year, perhaps sometime in late summer, after we have strengthened this movement by regional crusades and cooperation, we will return to Washington, but this time with many more. As like-minded people recognize the righteousness of our cause, they will join us. And as we plan to do with our United Federation of Churches headquarters here in Washington, when different denominations cooperate for the sake of the community, it will be more than served, it will be transformed. This we must do in each city, town and area.
Historical Significance of ACLC
In closing, let me remind you of the significance of this ACLC movement. In 1945, when rev. Moon began his public ministry, he did not found a church; he did not seek to establish his own organization. He preached from the Bible, in church after church, simply seeking to unite the body of Christ through a deeper understanding of the truths of the scripture. But at that time Christianity in Korea was mainly influenced and led by missionaries from the west, especially America. Had these leaders opened their minds and listened, then what you are seeing happen here would have begun more than 50 years ago.
When these leaders had neither eyes to see nor ears to hear, the Christian community was never able to understand Rev. Moonís message and heart. They persecuted him in ignorance. In the face of this rejection, he had no choice but to build his own foundation. In 1954 he founded, not a church, but the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of Christianity. His goal was still the body of Christ. Quickly he built up a worldwide movement, now in 190 nations and established in a variety of fields: education, business, media, agriculture, and many, many more.
But this was accomplished only through sacrifice. Through personal imprisonment, public ridicule, and many other experiences, Rev. Moon paid a dear price to rebuild what was lost when Christianity failed to receive his message. But he did not retreat; he did not falter; he did not turn back. Now, having overcome all of the obstacles in his path and built a global foundation, once again he is reaching out to the body of Christ. But this time, the first will be last, and the last will be first. Those who are responding are those who have eyes to see or ears to hear; those whose hearts are open; those who worship the Father in spirit and in truth. By your courageous stand, we are restoring a serious historical mistake. I guarantee you, the movement we are building has profound consequences upon our society and our future.
What Drives Rev. Moon
In these next two days, we will fellowship, pray, worship and plan together. But also, we must study. If we recognize that none of us could do what Father Moon has done, and if we seek to understand what has driven and led him to initiate this movement, to invest so much time, energy and money to reconstruct the ideal of God in human society, we must understand his vision, and how he received it. We must find come to know and understand what it is that God told him.
Please, then, please invest yourself wholeheartedly during this conference. Open your mind and heart; let the Holy Spirit guide you into all truth, as John 16:12 promised. I wish you the best in your efforts here, and I look forward with excitement to building this movement by your side.
May God be with you in all you do.
Dr. Yang is North American Continental Director of the Family Federation for World Peace & Unification.
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