Vision was the order of the day at an extraordinary gathering of clergy in New York City on May 8, 2009. At the behest of Rev. Michael Jenkins, the new chairman of the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC), more than 100 ACLC members and friends joined in the Grand Ballroom of the Manhattan Center, a venue filled with amazing energy, to hear first-hand what Rev. In Jin Moon, president of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), could offer as a road map for the ACLC. It was truly an invitation to take part in the next phase of the ACLC’s journey, which one speaker compared to the 10,000-mile leap a rocket takes as soon as it leaves the earth’s atmosphere.
Launched in 2000, the ACLC is an interdenominational organization stemming from the ecumenical vision of Rev. Sun Myung Moon that has attracted nearly 20,000 ministers to its conferences and prayer breakfasts.
A video of Rev. In Jin Moon’s worship service at the Manhattan Center on Sunday, April 26, informed the gathering of the new tone and content of her Lovin’ Life Ministries that she has been bringing to her own church, including top-notch music performances, a combination of readings from Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and an excerpt of one of Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s speeches in 1975, given in Chicago, in which he emphasized that “both black and white will have to look out for each other” and predicted, “An interracial person descended from a black parent and a white parent will become the president of the United States.”
Participants watching her sermon, which at this particular service was a showing by video of her memorable speech given to ACLC ministers on January 30th, 2009, clapped enthusiastically as she invoked the words and spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “It was elders like Martin Luther King, who, when he gave the speech ‘I Have a Dream,’ taught me to dream,” Rev. Moon told the gathering on the video. “I began to dream about a world where my children would not have to be afraid to go to school because of school shootings, where my children as Americans would not be afraid to walk to the streets of Palestine or Israel because of suicide bombings, and where my children, as proud Asian Americans, would be able to say, ‘I belong to this great nation of America.” Although she was in Japan at the time of the April 26th service being shown on video, hosting the annual Youth Concert for World Peace and Ideal Families, her message to ACLC was well conveyed through the video, which as Rev. Jenkins reflected to the audience, exhibited “a new vision emerging to shape the destiny of the world”.
Following the video, Reverend Moon’s husband shared about his wife’s ministry and what she hopes can come from ACLC. He explained that one can come to know what Reverend Moon was about by seeing the high quality of her work. After their marriage in 1984, she attended Columbia University and then Harvard Divinity School while at the same time nurturing five children. Choosing to concentrate on raising her family, she homeschooled all of her children, whose accomplishments range from gaining admission to Harvard University and other top universities to winning Grand Prizes at demanding international musical competitions at the ages of 9 and 10. Seeing this success, her father, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, asked her, “What you have done for your children, please do for the American Family Federation for World Peace.” This demonstrates, her husband explained, that Reverend Moon knows what she is doing.
In order to truly show the caring and motherly side of Rev. In Jin Moon, a video was presented of her work in Japan during the previous nine years establishing the Youth Concert for World Peace and Ideal Families. Through her initiative, elementary school students give through service to others in their communities and practice each year to compete in choirs, in which prize winners receive scholarship funds from money raised annually. The impact that she has made on thousands of young people in Japan foreshadows her future contribution to ACLC.
After her older brother, who labored for years to modernize the Manhattan Center, passed away in March 2008, Rev. In Jin Moon was asked to take responsibility for managing the Manhattan Center. As the Manhattan Center’s first woman CEO, she was not given full credit immediately by some clients. However, they soon realized through working with her that “this woman is serious”, and demand to use the Manhattan Center’s facilities has since grown tremendously. After showing a video about the Manhattan Center, New York’s “Best-Kept Secret,” her husband explained that Reverend Moon wants to bring the same professional quality to ACLC as part of her plan to re-energize it; he then extended her invitation to all ministers present to join her.
Lunch was then provided by Reverend Moon for all the participants, since as her husband shared, “She not only wanted to feed them spiritually, but also physically.” During the luncheon, responses to Rev. In Jin Moon’s invitation and reflections of the gathering were heard from ACLC ministers.
Reflections from Ministers in Attendance:
Bishop Erell Skyers from Shiloh Apostolic Ministries of Jesus Christ- Bridgeport, Connecticut
“Today I believe it’s a new day for all of us. We have gathered together to listen to the 747 jet’s roaring engine, and we can see that as a skillful pilot with a crew, she is ready to take off. We as passengers are sitting at ease, ready to do what we have to do. So we call today a great day, and at last we can say things are about to reach a place where God wants them to be.”
Rev. William Robertson from the African Methodist Episcopal Church – New York
“In the atmosphere of this great day, I have learned so much, and I ask you to pray that what we saw today can become a reality and will be seen as we go forth in the future.”
Rev. Dennis Dillon from the Brooklyn Christian Center – New York
“I am excited about the power of us moving together, working together, and flowing together. I like the words of Dr. King that say, “We live together, or we perish like fools”, and I am determined not to perish like a fool. The fact of the matter is that Dr. King did not invent those words. Jesus himself said to his disciples, “I wish above all things that you become one as I and the Father are one…” I truly believe as we reflect upon the new direction that America is moving in that this is a new season, God is doing some new things, and I am determined to be a part of it.”
Rev. Marleen Thomas– graduate of Union Theological Seminary, New York City
“I salute our sister Rev. In Jin Moon, who is coming on board to really take charge. Let us celebrate with her and really help to bolster the sisters’ movement! Amen!”
Rev. Kennard Davis from Truth Center for Higher Consciousness – Brooklyn, New York
“I have been inspired by what I saw here today. I know that ACLC is really moving places. The significance that I see in Rev. In Jin Moon is that the man has planted a seed, but the woman has to nurture the baby and give birth to the peace that must be established in this world.”
Bishop Eugene Brown from the Christian Home Pentecostal Holiness – Washington, D.C.
“The thing that needs to be expressed more and more is to tell each other that we love one another. Love draws us together. If we can have patience, and love one another, we can reach the stars and nothing is impossible. This is my key. The opportunity today to be here together in fellowship helps. Whatever organization that you are in, if you can only show love and reach out to each other, it will all be a success.”
Archbishop Moses De La Rosa from Christ Family Church
“A scripture came to me while Rev. In Jin Moon was speaking (on the video). ‘Lean not on your own understanding, but in all ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your path.’ What she did was not only lean on her own understanding, but on her Father’s understanding. And one thing that I admire about her is that she listened to her Father [Rev. Sun Myung Moon]. Not too many children today do this. If we can teach other children what it means to respect our parents, then this world will have taken a turn for the better.”
“It is time that we [men and women] become one. Many times we say the man is the head, but don’t forget that the woman is the neck. And the man will never turn without the woman. We are one. God bless you.”
Bishop Michael Sykes from United Missionary Baptist Church – East Orange, New Jersey
“I cannot express to you how excited I am about ACLC and its new phase that we are moving toward. Whoever came up with this phrase Lovin’ Life was really inspired by God. The reason being that every year thousands of people commit suicide because they don’t love life. That’s why the work of ACLC is so important. And that’s why I love Rev. In Jin Moon, for the vision that she has. I say publicly on behalf of New Jersey that we give her our 100% support for what she is doing. Don’t miss your opportunity to be involved, because I feel we have everything in place to turn this world upside down through the power of love.”
Bishop Jesse Edwards from Gates of Praise – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
“Rev. In Jin Moon is giving us direction on where to take the fire…Ain’t nothing stopping us now!”
Rev. Levy Daugherty, Vice President, FFWPU
“I learned today that I shouldn’t represent myself, I should represent my wife. I often think about when Jesus resurrected from the dead, he gave his first message to women. And when I think about the civil rights movement, it was a woman called Rosa Parks that set the stage for the civil rights movement to take off. What ACLC has needed is love. We were at a loss, and now God sent us a great woman to guide us bring us into the next era of loving life. We have received a woman who has raised a family. Don’t look at her age, nationality, just look at the spirit of God shining through her eyes.”
Written by Celine Tardy, Associate Editor for familyfed.org