(left) Hal with wife Linda in 1975 after their matching. (center) Hal, Linda and their five children. From oldest to youngest, they are Haley, Mckelin "Mickey", Lynzie, Meghan, and Alesia. (right) Hal receives award from former News World Publisher Dr. Bo Hi Pak in 1986.
I have only known Hal McKenzie for a few years, but during that time, I saw a man dedicated to God and True Parents, who did his utmost to serve even when he was in extremely poor health. Hal never complained about his situation. He was a "rock", offering a sense of calm in times of difficulty. He was always cheerful and offered encouragement to brothers and sisters. He will be sorely missed by his family and by many brothers and sisters.
Hal was born on March 19, 1948, and joined the Unification Church at the age of 20 on October 19, 1968. On October 18, 2010 he passed on to the spiritual world. He was only 62 years old, and we are saddened by his departure. But we are grateful for his many contributions to God's providence and his desire to comfort God and True Parents.
He was a warrior during the Cold War days, teaching a lecture program titled “Victory Over Communism,” and sharing the revelatory new theology, the Divine Principle. He submitted his testimony below to headquarters which will be recognizing those who served on the front line for 40-years or more at a banquet in New York City on Dec. 10, 2010. After reading his testimony, I asked his wife, Lynda, what he meant by, "True Father can see into the essence of things and is in communication with the Spirit World." Here is her reply.
“I think it is his way of saying what Hal's father had said ‘Hal, I know God matched you two; Lynda is such a wonderful complement to your nature.’ Also, my ancestry and his came from Williamsburg, Virginia at the same time and emigrated to Georgia at the same time. Hal's went to Montezuma, mine went further south to Tifton. The alliances are so close, that Hal felt only Father could have seen that -- ancestral lines paralleling back hundreds of years in history. Hal had wanted to go to Williamsburg next summer to visit the McKenzie pharmacy there. That was founded by Hal's ancestor. My dad felt his ancestors might have been poorer and more infamous than famous. We laughed about it a lot, but I think both his and my parents were amazed at the ’multiple coincidences.’ Right before Father matched me to Hal [in 1975], he had prayed that God would find him the person just right for him. He always commented on how Father had to be in close communication with God to have made such a perfect complementary match. Hal's entrance in the church was deep and so ‘right’--he knew he would never leave True Father.”
For several years, Hal suffered from ill health. He never complained about his situation, and was eager to help with God's providence regardless how he felt. Last year, every Wednesday evening, he drove an hour from his home in Macon, Georgia to the Atlanta Family Church to lecture the Divine Principle. Before Lovin Life ministry, he frequently delivered Sunday sermons at the church.
For years, Hal suffered from diabetes and very high blood pressure. On Monday, October 18th, his heart just gave out. But his spiritual heart keeps on beating – and always will.
Here is his testimony.
Contributed by Rev. Tom Cutts, Unification Church District Director in Atlanta.
By Hal Corbett McKenzie
I joined the Unification Church on October 19, 1968, in Philadelphia while a student at the Philadelphia College of Art, dropping out of college to become a full-time missionary. From the very first lecture of Divine Principle, I knew this was a ground-breaking truth that would transform the world and create a world of peace, so I wanted to teach it immediately. Over the years, everything I have experienced has reinforced that first impression.
Dr. Young Oon Kim assigned me to do missionary work in New Haven, Conn., where I worked with the International Conference for the Unity of the Sciences and the Freedom Leadership Foundation. I moved to Washington, D.C., in 1970, where I served as associate editor of the Freedom Leadership Foundation newspaper, The Rising Tide. I participated in American Youth for a Just Peace, which toured Vietnam with other anti-communist young people to support peace with freedom for Vietnam.
While in Washington D.C., True Father chose me to edit the church’s magazine, The Way of the World, in Seoul, Korea, where I lived from 1970 until 1972 when the magazine moved to Washington D.C. While in Korea I learned Victory-Over-Communism (VOC) lectures from Dr. Sang Hun Lee. I was especially moved by my time in Korea where I had the privilege to see Father with his family and the early members. He was always a completely natural man, never posing or posturing, and treated me and the other Western members in Seoul as if we were his close companions.
In February, 1975, I experienced True Father's blessing me to Lynda Champion in the 1800-couples Marriage Blessing in Seoul. It demonstrated to me that Father really can see into the essence of things and is in communication with the Spirit World.
I spent a year at Unification Theological Seminary in Barrytown, New York, lecturing on international affairs and VOC ideology. I also helped edit Toward Our Third Century, a commemorative publication to mark America’s bicentennial. I participated in the founding of The News World newspaper in 1976, which changed its name to The New York City Tribune in 1982. I served as international editor, news editor, science editor, commentary editor and senior editor. I wrote news, editorials, op-ed columns and reviews.
In 1991 I worked as copy editor on the book World Scripture: An Anthology of Sacred Texts published by the International Cultural Foundation, and then moved to Washington D.C. to serve as Current Affairs Editor for The World and I, a magazine published by the Washington Times.
In September 1993 I moved to my late father’s hometown of Montezuma, Georgia, after my mother fell ill. Meanwhile, I worked as reporter and editor for the Americus Times-Recorder, winning the 1996 Georgia Associated Press Public Service Award, Class A. I was also staff writer for the Robins Rev-Up, the weekly Air Force newspaper at Warner Robins Air Force Base.
In March, 2003 I became webmaster of CosmicTribune.com, a website dealing with space, environmental and religious news. I then worked as webmaster for Insight on the News, a website sponsored by The Washington Times, and lastly, I edited religion briefs for United Press International. My wife, who teaches kindergarten, and I now live in Macon, Ga., and have five children and four grandchildren.