USA: Broaden Your Vision, Heighten Your Dreams

 

by by Susan Munsell, FFWPU USA

The Los Angeles chapter of the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) organized a prayer breakfast on Saturday, January 27, 2018, at the Word of Encouragement Community Church.

Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray delivered the keynote address, entitled “Broaden Your Vision, Heighten Your Dreams.” For 27 years, Dr. Murray pastored the First African Methodist Episcopal Church (FAME) of Los Angeles. During his tenure, he transformed a small congregation of 250 into an 18,000-person church. Its multimillion-dollar community and economic development programs brought jobs, housing, and corporate investment into many South Los Angeles neighborhoods.

After retiring from his post as pastor, Dr. Murray was appointed to be the John R. Tansey chair of Christian ethics at the University of Southern California’s School of Religion. In addition, Dr. Murray was named a senior fellow of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture. He also chairs the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement, which runs programs that train pastors to take on civic engagement work.

In introducing Dr. Murray, Joshua Holmes, the president of the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP) in the city of Cypress, confessed that when he visited Dr. Murray in his office, he felt, “This is someone I cannot lie to.”

One young Ambassador for Peace, Tené Kishan, said, “Dr. Murray encourages people to broaden their thinking, find ways to make their dream a reality, and to never give up.”

After Dr. Murray’s message, Christina Marshall, the daughter of an ACLC pastor, poured her whole heart into singing His Eye Is on the Sparrow.

Rev. Najuma Smith-Pollard, the pastor of the Word of Encouragement Community Church, which hosted the prayer breakfast, showed some slides from her visit to Seoul, Korea, in November 2017. During her visit, she participated in the Interreligious Leadership Conference, which was organized by the ACLC and Universal Peace Federation, an affiliated organization, at the Lotte Hotel World. She also attended the Global Rally for Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula, which was held at the Seoul World Cup Stadium. Rev. Smith-Pollard reminded us that peace begins within oneself when one can bring joy to others. Rev. Smith-Pollard also serves as program manager for the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement.

Jermaine Bishop, the president of CARP Los Angeles, presented a short video of the recent “Revival Starts with Me” rally for the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula, which was held in conjunction with Bishop Noel Jones and the City of Refuge Church. Jermaine testified that true Kingdom-building requires us to overcome our egos.

Rev. Larry Krishnek, the Western Subregional Director, reported on True Mother’s recent Africa Summit in Dakar, Senegal and the move of the Holy Spirit as she met with more than 1,000 African leaders, parliamentarians, heads of state and tribal leaders at the summit to discuss a new vision of peace and blessings for all of Africa.

In conclusion, Bishop J.L. Briggs from the Christian Light Missionary Baptist Church called us together in prayer and gratitude for God’s many blessings.

Reflections

Dr. Nicholas Benson/ACLC Los Angeles co-chair: Our spirit and morale are high here in Los Angeles, and I believe we are moving in the right direction. We were grateful that Rev. Levi Daugherty, the ACLC national senior executive advisor, could join us for this event and share with everyone present the objectives and purpose of ACLC.

Rev. Grover Durham / Los Angeles Police Department Clergy Council: I am very pleased to say that our ACLC Prayer Breakfast was truly a blessing and a success. Dr. “Chip” Murray is a dynamite keynote speaker and had the congregation in awe. I was especially excited to see so many new faces at the prayer breakfast and how attentive the attendees were. God and the vision of True Parents are with us. Everything was wonderful, and the food was delicious. The event was attended by the young and the old and all in between. It was truly a blessing. I only look forward to the next event.

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