ACLC Interfaith Blessing Held in L.A.
"Interfaith Blessing of Marriage and Family" on March 24, 2018
Report by Minister Susan Munsell
On Saturday, March 24th, the American Clergy Leadership Conference of Los Angeles held it’s first Interfaith Blessing of Marriage and Family. An array of participants from the interfaith community expressed prayers and remarks on the family as God’s essential foundation for growth, peace and security in our community and our world.
Elder Don Garrick and his wife, Janet shared information about free tools and resources available online to help strengthen families, provided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and shared insights they have gained from having a “family night” once a week with their family over the years. They have been married for 53 years, raised four successful children, and have twelve thriving grandchildren. Following their message, Mercy Mburu, originally from Kenya and a member of Lifeline Community Fellowship performed a traditional African dance entitled “Itchokwadi” which can be translated as “Truly, Surely God is Alive”.
Representing the Islamic Education Center of Orange Co., Dr. Omid Khodai shared from his heart that no matter how much you pray and express the word of God, if you don’t live it, your children will see the truth of your actions. Dr. Khodai was in attendance with his wife and their 10-year-old son. Following this, a visiting group of young people from Sun Moon University inspired everyone with a heartfelt Korean song about love for our True Parents.
The Venerable Tam Thanh Thich from Phat Quan Am Thien Tu, the Buddhist Temple of O.C. led us in meditation with the natural healing sound of Tibetan chimes as we began an Interfaith Blessing of Marriage and Family. ACLC Co-Chair and Senior Pastor of the First Summit Evangelical Church, Dr. Nicholas Benson and his wife, Dr. Eva Benson officiated the Blessing while ACLC Co-Chair, Min. Susan Munsell explained the significance and order of the holy juice which returns us all to our original parents and our original lineage as God’s children. God’s desire has always been for his children to be “One Family”.
13 yr. old, Yurope Soosemea, from the Westminster Samoan Assembly of God, sang “Holy Spirit” while strumming the ukulele. Her mother shared about the importance of family in the Samoan culture and her grandfather, Rev. Fatuiese Savusa offered a prayer for the healing of relationships in the family. Following this, 16 yr. old, Sabina Kwembe from South Africa shared her testimony. She lost both parents when she was 10 yrs. old and over the years became resentful towards God. When she eventually met Lifeline Community Fellowship, they embraced her completely as family and her faith in God and in life was renewed.
As we concluded our time together, Pastor Magdalene Millsap epitomized the day in song with “Peace, Shalom, Salaam Aleikem; breaking down the walls of hate and fear until God’s will is done” which is the power of the Blessing.
“This is what I think heaven looks like! We all come together to share and learn from each other” by Marlene Burian, Shepherd’s Grove
“This event was wonderful because it crystallizes the understanding of the importance of the unity of the family which is the foundation for the well-being of our whole society. If we have strong families then there will be no craziness in the world.” by Iman Abdelaal, Islamic Society of Orange County
It was such a joy to be able to come together in the one body of Christ and focus on something that affects all of us so deeply, which is marriage and family, no matter what is our race, ethnicity or religion. We were able to come together in peace and love: speak to each other. comfort and listen to each other. It provided me with a glimpse of what heaven is like. I truly believe that the only way to have God’s love is to be able to give God’s love out to all. I believe a seed was planted to grow and heal marriages and families. by Mercy Mburu, Lifeline Community Fellowship
“This was a terrific program. Because it was our first time to hold an interfaith program, we could fellowship with a lot of new people that we have not had a chance to meet before. Everyone felt at home”! by Dr. Nicholas Benson, First Summit Evangelical Church, ACLC Co-Chair