172 United Forever: Special Clergy Reunion Underway
September 16, 2011
Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, affectionately known as True Parents, held a grand ceremony at the Cheongshim Peace World Center in South Korea to give Korean surnames to 172 ministers (43 each representing the northern, southern, eastern, and western parts of the United States). They came to represent America, Christianity, and the entire world, while also registering in God’s Kingdom and testifying that God had anointed Rev. Moon (Father Moon). The clergy, who understood and supported True Parents’ historic mission from the viewpoint of 77 religious denominations, were united through a singular cause. They gave a powerful testimony to the Korean people, regarding the fruits of True Parents’ work to remove all barriers between races and denominations, by joining into and becoming part of a Korean family and exchanging names. Through proclaiming that South Korea is God’s homeland and hometown, they affirmed that God had chosen this nation to be the base for the Kingdom of God and the family culture that honors elders and has fidelity and faithfulness in every aspect of the family—from marriage to the filial piety of children to their parents.
Eight years later, a powerful reunion is underway in Las Vegas among a group of American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) members. This group of religious leaders, known as ‘the 172,’ were distinguished guests invited to visit Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, co-founder of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), during a special trip to South Korea in September 2011. With great fervor, Regional Chairman for Family Federation North America Dr. Ki Hoon Kim organized the three-day reunion at the Las Vegas Conference Center from September 23 to 25, and called it “172 United Forever.”
“Inspiration came to me about the 172,” said Dr. Kim. “We need commitment moving forward. If we lose our life of faith and commitment, God cannot come down and save us.” Calling for new determination to bring people closer to God, the group has shared personal testimonies about the late Rev. Moon and their own spiritual paths.
“I’ve been listening to the voice of Jesus since I was 12 years old,” said Bishop Jesse Edwards of NYC. He was part of the 172 clergy and the group of 12 people who joined Rev. Moon on a special week-long boat trip in 2011. “Rev. Moon always said things that stirred my heart and spirit, but then he said something that changed my life,” said Bishop Edwards. He shared how Rev. Moon told the group that they must become like Jesus, referencing the Bible verse John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … and the Word was made flesh.”
“That is the essence of the 172; we have to become the Word,” said Rev. Levy Daugherty, interim senior pastor of the family church in Atlanta, who was also among the 2011 clergy group in Korea. “We have to bring this nation to God and multiply Godliness.” Clergy members have shared their vision to network and expand their reach while rekindling the energy of their special gathering in Korea.
As the reunion continues to unfold, the reconnection of clergy members has already left an indelible mark on participants, who are enthusiastically preparing for the upcoming World Clergy Leadership Conference (WCLC) rally in Newark, NJ. They aim to support keynote speaker Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, co-founder of FFWPU, who endeavors to unite religious leaders and bring together 30,000 clergy for the WCLC rally on Saturday, December 28.
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