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RETURN to Religion Section / Saturday, March 24, 2001

Rev. Moon brings unity tour to Arkansas

The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Korean evangelist and leader of the Unification Church, made Little Rock the 20th stop of his 51-day, 47-city "We Will Stand" tour of America on March 16.
    About 750 people gathered at Robinson Center Music Hall at 6 p.m. to hear Moon speak and see a performance by the Mississippi Mass Choir. Many in the crowd brought small children, saying they had come to hear the nationally known choir, but by the time the choir took the stage nearly four hours after the event had started, fewer than 500 people remained.
    Fliers and press releases promoted the event as an interdenominational, multiracial event with speeches by local and national church leaders. But the only local speaker at the Little Rock venue of "We Will Stand" was the Rev. Charles E. Williams of Greater Paradise Baptist Church, who gave a brief invocation.
    Black and white preachers from Dallas spoke before introducing Moon at about 8 p.m.
    "The body of Christ has been divided too long. The devil's been trying to separate God's people," said the Rev. John Jackson of Dallas. "We want to tear down the walls of denominationalism. The Son of God died for all men."
    When two local gospel acts did not show up, the Rev. Wendel Blair of Dallas led the gathering in an a cappella version of "This Little Light of Mine" accompanied by hand clapping, and then a gospel tune, accompanied by a Hammond organ and drums.
    "Rev. Moon is teaching and preaching for the true God, true parents and true love," Blair said. "This ministry is all about interrelationships and interdenominations."
    "This is a ministry of all Christian people coming together," said the Rev. Michael Jenkins, also of Dallas. Jenkins and Blair were speaking of the American Clergy Leadership Conference, which was founded by Moon in May and includes "12,000 pastors from across America," Jenkins said.
    After a video presentation about the life and ministry of the Korean evangelist, Moon preached in his native language; his message was translated into English. Moon compared the divisions between denominations, families and races with man's separation from God, a split that began in the Garden of Eden with the fall of Adam and Eve.
    "When we look at ourselves as the children of Adam and Eve, we know we're not perfect. ... While there [are] fights between blacks and whites, God will not come here. ... If we die and go to the spirit world, there [are] no denominations. There is no Baptist Church, there is no Methodist Church."
    Moon's commentary about Adam and Eve's relationship with God was unorthodox. "Because of the fall of man, God could not officiate at their wedding and have a relationship with his grandchildren. ... In the Garden of Eden while Adam and Eve were growing into perfection, they made an illicit love relationship because of Satan. ... Satan replaced God as the father of human kind. ... Because of the misuse of their love organs, no one has been able to enter the Kingdom of God."
    After preaching for about an hour, Moon and his interpreter read for another hour from a 22-page booklet distributed by Unification Church members before the program. Then local pastors -- many of whom were not present -- were recognized for their participation in the American Clergy Leadership Conference preceding an enthusiastic performance by the Mississippi Mass Choir.

This article was published on Saturday, March 24, 2001

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