American Clergy Leadership Conference

For Immediate Release

March 22, 2001

Rev. Phillip Schanker (202) 365-0219


Urban Clergy Stand United With
Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Family Initiative

The American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC), an interdenominational, interracial group of ministers is talking and walking the walk: preaching their family values message in urban communities throughout the country. Setting aside their doctrinal and ideological differences, the ministers have left their home pulpits to join forces with the Reverend Sun Myung Moon on a 50-state, 51-day tour called "We Will Stand". The tour is designed to encourage all people of faiths to tear down the divisive walls of race and denomination.

"None of us will ever agree completely on doctrinal issues," said Rev. Billy McCormack, founding board member of Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition. "So we must rise above our doctrines and unite upon this one fundamental issue: the rebuilding of the family in the United States of America."

A group of 120 ministers from 17 denominations founded ACLC in May 2000. Currently, there are 5,000 members - many of them, nationally renowned. In addition to confronting what they term "the weakening of America's moral fiber", the group also is challenging media criticism of their alliance with the controversial Korean-born evangelist.
"This is not about the man, it's about the mission. We're not getting caught up in a personality, we're caught up in a common cause," said Rev. George Stallings, Archbishop of the Imani Temple African American Catholic Congregation in Washington, DC.

"The reason I like Rev. Moon is that he brings black, white, yellow and brown together," noted Rev. A.I. Dunlap, pastor of Mt. Olive A.M.E. Church in Chicago, Illinois.

Every stop of the tour has attracted thousands of ministers and church members to hear the energetic, 81-year old Moon and other notable clergy urge faith-based organizations to take a lead in strengthening the family and uniting the nation.

On Sunday, February 25, more than 3,500 clergy and faithful helped launch the tour at the Garden of Prayer Church of God in Christ in the Bronx borough of New York. Stops in New Jersey and Connecticut attracted crowds estimated in excess of 2,500. On the tour's fourth night, more than 3,000 packed the Life Center Church of God in Christ on Chicago's South Side.

Following Rev. Moon's arrival in the United States nearly 30 years ago, mainstream religious leaders grew suspicious of the large number of American youth who eagerly responded to his message. Some feel that it was opposition and persecution that eventually garnered support for Rev. Moon from various corners of the religious community.

Civil rights veteran Rev. Charles Kenyatta, pastor of Harlem's White Rock Baptist Church, said, "I can identify with Rev. Sun Myung Moon. We both have had the misfortune of being persecuted and tortured." Kenyatta, a former bodyguard for Malcolm X, added, "I know how he got here, and I want him to know that his time has come."
Tour supporters include a number of civil rights pioneers who were mentored and trained by Dr. Martin Luther King: Rev. Walter Fauntroy of Washington, DC; Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker of Harlem, New York; Dr. Milton Reid of Norfolk, Va. and Rev. James Bevel of Chicago.

Noting the strong response of the minority community to Rev. Moon's message, Dr. Hycel B. Taylor of Evanston Illinois' Second Baptist Church added, "These issues are significant and extremely important to the African-American community."

Ministers outside of the minority community feel the issues are universal. "Drugs, crime, and family breakdown know no race or denomination," said Rev. Jesse Edwards, president of the United Pentecostals of Philadelphia, explained. "AIDS does not discriminate by race or religion. We must come together beyond our differences, if we are to confront these evils effectively."

The Nation of Islam has endorsed and is participating in the "We Will Stand" tour. The tour was an outgrowth of the historic Million Family March in Washington D. C. on October 16th, 2000, convened by Nation of Islam leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan, and co-sponsored by the Rev. Moon's Family Federation for World Peace. At that time, Minister Farrakhan called for a "Million Family Movement" in America.
The tour culminates on April 16, in a dramatic ceremony in Washington, DC.