The 42nd day of the "We Will Stand" 50-state interfaith
and revival tour drew a capacity crowd of 600 to the Adam's Mark
Hotel in downtown Columbia. A fellowship of 120 ministers from 17
denominations formed the American Clergy Leadership Conference which
is the core sponsor of this unique crusade.
After the invocation by Reverend Tony Gordon, Ferguson Grant AME
Zion Church (Cayce, South Carolina), a mass choir composed of five
different choirs got the assembled into the spirit of joy and praise.
Included in the audience were 150 Christian ministers as well as
Minister Earl Mohammed of the Nation of Islam and Imam Idris Mohammed
of the Muslim American Society.
"We support any effort of unity and family," stated Minister
Muhammad earlier in the press.
"The aim is to break down the walls of racism, and South Carolina
is, in my opinion, one of the most racist states in the United States."
He also expressed his opinion that only a thin, doctrinal line divides
Christianity and Islam.
The Freedom, Faith and Family Awards were then presented to various
organizations and individuals from around the state. Dr. Alma Byrd,
a former state legislator and professor at Benedict College; Dr.
Carl Evans, Chairman of the Religious Department at the University
of South Carolina; Pastor Dr Julia M. Lakin, Unity Evangelistic
Church; the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Charleston;
Mrs. Henrietta Squirewell; and the Born Again Church of Jesus Christ
Apostolic were all recognized for their years of service to the
people of South Carolina.
Because it was Palm Sunday all of the ministers who were travelling
with Father Sun Myung Moon were unable to take care of their churches
and get to the program on time. Fortunately, The Honorable Donzella
James, Georgia State Senator, stepped in at the last minute.
She gave an inspired speech that set the tone for the evening.
Reverend Lloyd Norris, pastor emeritus and founder of the Martin
Luther King Jr. Memorial Baptist Church in Columbia, was also present.
"I have an ecumenical edge that enables me to relate with people
of other faiths and religions that many of my Baptist colleagues
don't share," Norris said. "But the world is moving in
a direction where interfaith religion is almost going to be required."
Senator James proudly introduced the featured preacher after a
brief biographical video.
Father Moon was very warmly greeted and his words were met with
many shouts of encouragement.
He spoke from his heart for about an hour and a half then read only
the last section of his prepared speech. His busy schedule required
that he catch a flight to New York that evening.
After his sermon, flowers were presented to both Father and Mother
Moon by Dr. Alma Byrd and her husband. Father Moon and his wife
then presented the flowers to David and Sanae Doose of the Family
Federation for World Peace and Unification in Charleston.
Special commemorative gold watches were presented to Reverend Willis
T. Goodwin, President of the Charleston Interdenominational Ministerial
Alliance, and Reverend Edward McClain, Calvary AME Church of North