ACLC Youth Rally in Queens, NY
On March 23, an American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) Youth Rally was held at the New Jerusalem Worship Center in Queens, NY on the theme of “Our Voice, Our Time.” Bishop Jesse Edwards, ACLC Chairman and Co-Pastor of the Family Church of NYC, initiated this gathering of youth to help guide the Christian community in the direction of world peace, and prepared the atmosphere to welcome the Holy Spirit.
Many youth pastors and ministers shared their powerful messages centered around the day’s theme, and testified to Jesus and the love we receive from God on a daily basis. Diane Kelalu and Stephanie Diaz, local Unificationists, also gave testimonies on speaking up and using their voices to promote drastic change in the world as young Unificationist leaders. One participant commented, “The young people who are living in today’s era are truly the generation of now, the generation of youth leaders, not the generation of the future. [We need to be] determined to use our voices to help guide other people toward Heavenly Parent and True Parents, whether it’s done through song, prayer, testimony or conversation.”
Following the testimonies, the New York outreach team performed “Every Praise” with the Jasper Dance Company from Queens, who had also performed at the Nassau Coliseum rally on November 12.
The event concluded with a powerful group prayer about the essence of family.
“The “Our Voice Our Time Event” was really inspiring and energizing. I felt the Christian passionate spirit through all the dance performances and speeches. I was inspired by the talk given by Marquis Holder as well as Stephanie Diaz. The point made throughout this ACLC Youth Rally was truly to inspire the youth and let us know that we are heard and need to speak out for what it is we believe in. I did feel a little bit sad at some parts because the members of the congregation focused a lot on the New Testament and praised Jesus a lot and the focus was that he died for us in some of the songs. Also, we had the opportunity to dance to “Every Praise.” Overall, I think it was a successful and victorious event that I was grateful to attend.” –Shawna Lewis
“What inspired me the most at the ACLC Youth Rally was one Christian youth leader who spoke at the end of the rally. He said, “A lot of times when we have struggles, we go to people first instead of going to God first. In our society today we have taken God away from our lives and forgotten that He is our one and only Father, but now, it is time to teach the youth how to bring God back into their daily lives.” After hearing this passage, I thought that it was very similar to our True Parents’ teachings. The Divine Principle goes hand in hand with the Bible. We need the Divine Principle to understand the Bible and vice versa.
Overall, I think I was finally able to understand why True Parents wants us to unite with Christianity. I am now more motivated to read the Bible more and deeply understand Jesus’ life course. I realized that in order to unite with Christianity, I need to unite with the Bible first because without doing so, I cannot understand what it truly means to be “Christians.” If I cannot understand what Christians practice, I cannot directly relate to them because I grew up with different principles. My only hope is that next time I can see more of our youths and young adults here.” –Diane Mang Dae Kelalu