Southeast Regional Holy Day Celebrations
The Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) Southeast Region joyfully commenced their celebrations for the 100th birthday of FFWPU co-founders Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, affectionately known as True Parents, in the Arbor Ballroom of the Washington Times building, with a concurrent celebration of the 53rd True Heavenly Parent’s Day, taking place in all 11 states comprising the Southeastern Region.
Unificationists, clergy and friends participated in the heartfelt celebration led by the Southeast Region Directors Rev. Ernest and Keiko Patton. Festivities began at midnight, where a small group gathered with the Pattons to offer prayers to sincerely dedicate the first moments of this important new year to Heavenly Parent. This midnight prayer was held on the foundation of a group of dedicated, grateful and sacrificial brothers and sisters who kept working far into the early morning hours to prepare an elegant stage for the festivities.
At 7:00 a.m., over 120 people joined the Pledge and Dedication service led by the Pattons. With a stage set for True Parents that included a bountiful offering table of fruit, the ceremony comprised of prayers, singing, reciting the Family Pledge (core pledge of Unificationists), bowing to True Parents in gratitude for their exemplary lives, and the offering of a holy meal.
At 9:00 a.m., over 300 people participated in a powerful program of testimonies and exhortations to love God, honor True Parents and give the best from themselves, their families and their communities to help restore America. After energetic opening remarks by Rev. Patton, President of Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) Angelika Selle offered a heartfelt opening prayer. The cutting of the cake was followed by a wonderful breakfast feast of traditional Korean foods. At the conclusion of the meal, Rev. Dan Fefferman offered a very moving and beautiful song for that he wrote a few years ago for True Mother, and then led everyone in singing a congregational song, “The Song of the Banquet,” which created a very holy environment.
A very powerful video about True Parents titled “Chosen” brought tears to many eyes as everyone realized the extent of the sacrifice and investment that True Parents have made to create a heavenly world. Bishop Keith Allen of the Rehoboth Church of God in Baltimore and Rev. Dr. Glovinia Williams of Glovinia Williams Ministries gave beautiful testimonies of their deeper understanding of God and their purpose to working with True Parents.
Chairman of Universal Peace Federation (UPF) Dr. Michael Jenkins gave a great testimony sharing True Parents’ purpose. Keynote speaker Archbishop Georges Augustus Stallings, Jr. of the African American Catholic Congregation Imani Temple and Chairman of the International Association for Peace and Development (IAPD) delivered a dynamic, spellbinding testimony to True Parents as the incarnation of Heavenly Parent and as the model for everyone.
The Washington, D.C. Family Church Children’s Choir offered a wonderful performance, singing and dancing to a Korean song, which received a standing ovation. Rev. Patton concluded this glorious event with a benediction and Rev. Steven Gabb led the three cheers of Eog Mansei (10,000 years)!
The Jacksonville Family Church community gathered for their monthly Sunday service and to celebrate the two holy days early on January 19. With the commemorative banner and offering table in place, a festive atmosphere was created. The message from the pulpit was centered on committing attendance to True Parents’ directions for our lives. The congregation enjoyed a wonderful Korean meal.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The New Orleans Family Church community celebrated the 53rd True Heavenly Parent’s Day and True Parents’ 100th Birthday, including a celebration for January birthdays in the community, at the home of John and Helenita Thomas in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A beautiful offering table, décor and cake was assembled by Helenita over the course of the week.
After a sermon was given, as well as a few testimonies, all which expressed the meaning and joy of these holy days, guests enjoyed many wonderful dishes for lunch including ribs, stew, Japanese pumpkin, Japchae, sushi, tamales, green bean casserole, potato salad, banana bread, and the treats from the offering table.
Imani Temple, Maryland
Archbishop Stallings celebrated the holy days with his congregation at the African American Catholic Congregation Imani Temple in Suitland, Maryland on Sunday, January 26. The dynamic service at Imani Temple is a beautiful blend of Catholic, African and Pentacostal worship elements and this special program was facilitated by the enthusiastic Father Bayo Adrien, pastor of the Richmond Family Church in Virginia. The service was broadcasted to member churches across the U.S. and to their congregations in several African countries as well. In addition to the gracious Imani congregation, Rev. Ernest and Keiko Patton and other FFWPU members also attended.
In his sermon, Archbishop Stallings clearly testified to True Parents and called upon everyone to empty themselves in order to be filled by God, and to get rid of their selfish and egoistical desires. He proclaimed that only True Parents are working to bring all 7.7 billion people of the world together for creating the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
The Mississippi community held a combined holy day celebration and prayer breakfast at 8:30 a.m. on January 25 at New Vision Church in Brookhaven, Mississippi. Pastor of New Vision Church Bruch Smith welcomed the 17 guests, some who were clergy, and blessed the food before they ate. Afterwards, Rev. Steven Wilson gave an appropriate presentation titled “To Love God,” and Rev. A. C. Herring gave words of encouragement and sang the Gospel song, “I’m Yours, Lord” before he and his wife closed out in prayer.
Charlotte, North Carolina
About 20 guests attended the Charlotte Family Church holy day celebrations in North Carolina. After a jubilant celebration, the community devised a plan to hold a prayer breakfast each month, as well as a special event on April 14 on the occasion of Jesus appearing to young True Father. This April 14 event will present True Father’s legacy to friends and guests of the FFWPU Charlotte community.
The Orlando Family Church held a beautiful holy day celebration with 21 Unificationists in attendance. They began with pledge service with an offering table, followed by Sunday service and testimonies. Afterwards, everyone enjoyed games, karaoke, and a Korean lunch and barbecue.