What Does God Require of Me?
Report submitted by Minister Susan Fefferman, ACLC Maryland.
The Maryland chapter of the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) held its largest prayer breakfast on Saturday, July 28. Sixty participants including pastors, staff and volunteers gathered at Imani Temple, an African-American Catholic congregation located in the town of Suitland just outside Washington, D.C. The event was hosted by Archbishop George Augustus Stallings, Jr., Co-Chairman of ACLC and the founder and patriarch of Imani Temple.
Local Unificationists put in great efforts to reach out to churches that had not attended ACLC events previously. Postcard invitations were mailed out with the heading “Peace Starts with Me!” with a photo of Archbishop Stallings and his quote: “Today more than ever, the Lord is calling His people to lead!” Some tried to reach pastors by phoning their church offices as well as sending them personal emails and texts. Archbishop Stallings even utilized his own personal list of Maryland clergy members.
Father Adrian Bayo of both Imani Temple and the International Family Center of Richmond, Virginia, gave a heartfelt “Welcome Home” to everyone who had come to Imani Temple, adding that the building was open for religious gatherings of all churches.
Apostle Floyd E. Nelson Sr., the presiding bishop of the International Bible Way Church of Jesus Christ, offered the opening prayer. He recalled that when he met the two national co-chairs of ACLC, Archbishop Stallings and Rev. Dr. Michael Jenkins, over 19 years ago, they could understand they had a common heart and a common purpose. “They are gifted spiritually,” he added.
Archbishop Stallings began his encouraging words by referring to the fourth chapter of Ephesians, in which Paul the Apostle refers to himself as “a prisoner of the Lord who lives in a manner of love, unity, one hope, one faith, one baptism.” He then sang the song Let There Be Peace on Earth and Let It Begin with Me before asking: “What is this ME? … What does God require of me? God is invisible. He needs us to be the face of God, the substantial love of God. … my responsibility is to make God visible.” Through the Marriage Blessing Ceremony, husbands and wives are called to come back to God together in the image of God together. We then can teach our children and all others to reflect God.
Dr. Michael Jenkins, the ACLC national Co-Chairman, spoke about the “two pledges God asks of us: Be faithful to God in our life and be faithful in marriage to each other, and the Body of Christ has both Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and only this united body can heal the community.”
The program concluded with prayers from Dr. Andre and Dr. Paulette Hunter from the Unity of Faith Apostolic Ministries and a unison intercessory prayer by all.