On Saturday, March 23, 2013 the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC), together with the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS), co-hosted a prayer breakfast at 4 West 43rd Street in New York City. The keynote speaker, newly appointed ACLC President Archbishop George Augustus Stallings, gave a powerful message titled, A Diamond In The Rough; Embracing Your Brilliance from Within. As he preached, Archbishop Stallings gave an overview of the Divine Principle, illustrating that to meet the challenges of Christianity today we need a new understanding, “new wine,” to build God’s Kingdom on the earth. Archbishop Stallings kept everyone riveted to their seats as he walked around the room, calling for a personal response from many whom he knew by name.
Tables in the room were draped in white and red tablecloths, and one could immediately sense the love and care that was invested to welcome more than 100 clergy and guests. All the tables were filled with clergy, seminary students and Unificationists who had come to partake in fellowship, prayer, God’s word and food, each well-seasoned with the spices of family, friendship and camaraderie.
The program began with a short welcome by Dr. Luonne Rouse, Senior Pastor of United Methodist Church of Huntington-Cold Spring Harbor in New York. Dr. Rouse opened with a greeting and shared his support for the seminary.
The main part of the program began with Bishop Sulanch Lewis, Senior Pastor of the Little Rock of Zion Missionary Baptist Church, National ACLC Co-President and Co-Chairman of ACLC New York. Bishop Lewis gave the opening remarks from ACLC and then Rev. Paul Rajan gave opening remarks from UTS. Following the opening remarks was a Prayer for the Family, given by Dr Voni Joyhn, one of the 172 clergy members who received a Korean Clan name by True Parents. Dr. Joyhn, Senior Pastor of Isaiah's Temple of Mount Hope Spiritual Baptist Church, prayed for True Parents and the True Family. Her prayer was followed by a Prayer for the Nation, given by Bishop Carlton Walters of the Church Avenue Church of God of Prophecy, who recently returned from his Foundation Day trip to Korea. Bishop Walters gave a powerful prayer for the nation, beginning with President Obama.
Dr. Richard Panzer, President of UTS, gave a brief but humorous and meaningful message about marriage and family; although relationships between husband and wife might be challenging, with love and forgiveness things work themselves out. However, the institution of marriage in America is under attack and religious leaders are vital in helping regain a foothold on the first institution designed by God.
Chaplain Marcus Knight, a 9/11 survivor and first responder, together with Miss Mia Hunt sang “Missing You,” a song Chaplin Knight wrote and produced for the victims of the tragic shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. This song and the “Missing You” project are gaining much recognition, and the song will be sung at Yankee Stadium and at a memorial concert where 250 children from Catholic and public schools from all five boroughs around New York will sing in a mass choir.
After the musical offering, Rev. Dr. Michael Jenkins endorsed UTS and encouraged those who have not participated to consider attending. He then recognized ACLC’s role in completing one of True Fathers last requests: the education of 13,000 ministers and church members in the OSDP workshops. Rev. Jenkins stated that the ACLC is about the word of God, and then congratulated Archbishop George A. Stallings on becoming the new ACLC chairman. He then introduced Archbishop Ki Hoon Kim, and gave a short history of his recent assignments.
Archbishop Kim began by asking, “Where does Rev Jenkins get his preaching style from?” He answered by saying it was from the ACLC pastors. He said Father Moon educated us on how to build the Kingdom of God on earth. It can only be done through the unity of religious leaders. God prepared America to lead the world, so we must guide America. He went on to say that the Kingdom of heaven starts from within you, your family and your church. He ended by encouraging us to pray and accomplish great things together.
Afterwards, Chaplain Daryl Clarke gave a brief explanation on the Elijah Generation Partnership that helps to bring our clergy and those who want to support the vision and work of ACLC together.
Rev. Jenkins was called back to the podium to receive a special recognition for his sacrifice and service as Chairman of ACLC from 3/2009-12/2012. A beautiful plaque was presented with words describing his investment, which was read aloud by Rev. Bruce Grodner. Rev. Jenkins was applauded for his continuous efforts and dedication, from the genesis of the ACLC movement in May of 2001 until the present time.
The meeting closed in prayer followed by songs by the well-known Reggae artist Denroy Morgan, who is known as an Ambassador for Peace and a leader of the Rastafarian and Ethiopian Coptic communities. Morgan had everyone moving to Bob Marley’s “One Love,” followed by “I’ll Do Anything for You,” written by Bob Marley and Peter Tash.