“Let us rise up and remember that we must not hide our light. We must keep our light on top so the world knows we are coming. We must be kind, considerate, compassionate and help each other. We are ambassadors for the one true God.” So Archbishop Sulanch Lewis-Rose helped begin the ACLC Women In Ministry retreat in Washington, D.C. area, June 10-12. Over 70 women and men gathered from as far as New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Chicago, Oklahoma, Arizona, Philadelphia, Indiana, as well as Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia.
We were deeply moved and honored that Archbishop George Augustus Stallings hosted the ACLC Women In Ministry Retreat in his own church, Imani Temple, which relocated last year to a new facility in Suitland, Maryland. The facility, a former convent, was fashioned into a beautiful house of worship. The atmosphere was serene and warm. It is adjacent to the high school that Archbishop Stalling attended while growing his congregation originally. He literally came back home and invited his church family to come with him.
The Retreat began on Friday night, June 10th, with welcome remarks by Rev. Wanda Outlaw (Senior Associate Pastor of Imani Temple), followed by a sumptuous feast prepared by Archbishop Stallings’ mother and other members of the congregation. Every bite of the food was filled with God’s love.
Brief remarks were given by Rev. Marilyn Kotulek (ACLC WIM Co-Chair) and Rev. Betty Tatalajski (Arizona ACLC Co-Chair.)
Dr. Michael Jenkins (ACLC Chairman of Emeritus) gave a greeting with the congratulatory message and introduced Father Peter Chavier – author of “Tears of Jesus,” who was in town. Archbishop Stallings (ACLC National Co-Chairman) welcomed everyone on behalf of National ACLC and Dr. Ki Hoon Kim (National ACLC Co-Chairman.) He also gave credit to Dr. Michael Jenkins (ACLC National Chairman Emeritus), for his commitment and dedication to the development of ACLC to its current level.
The Archbishop pointed out the importance and significance of woman to God’s work of creation, by citing the famous fresco in the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo Buonarroti, depicting the creation of man. “There is a woman enfolded in the right arm of God, showing that God already had a woman in mind for Adam. Throughout history women have always stood in a pre-eminent place in the life of every man…and bringing men to a place where they are not only able to worship God but see God in each other …Women are the ones that are always faithful…They are the heart of the family.”
Reminding participants that Jesus said, “Great works than I do you will do,” Archbishop Stallings said that Jesus associated himself with all, and his word is open to all. He challenged us to obey the word of God and have the mind of Christ. We are writing history. As a chosen generation, we need to be edified and strengthened.
Archbishop Sulanch Lewis-Rose, national co-chairwoman of Women In Ministry, gave the theme address, entitled “Rise Up and Take Courage.” The theme came from Ezra 10:4, in which Ezra was told to rise up and take courage and fix a problem that needed resolution. “In this age we need to fix a problem that exists now before it is too late…Today, we as women united in heart for the family and world are working hard to fix problems before it is too late… Ezra was to arise and do everything that the law of God required. This evening, the law of God has required that we live for others, love others share with others… How did Ezra go about doing what the law required? He gave good counsel and relied upon God’s mercy. We too should give good counsel and rely on God’s mercy to turn us around and plant our feet on solid ground.
“In True Father’s poem, Crown of Glory, it says to love those who betray us. Love those who hate us…. It is time for women to take root in the word of God and rise up. Let the people know we are standing for God. Rise up and take courage…God wants us to move forward.”
In 2011, when Archbishop Lewis-Rose was in Korea with 11 other pastors, Father Moon told her to go back to New York and gather 12 core people from her church. She believed he was telling her to raise them up in heart and spirit. Those people must become good fruit and then they will bring in more fruit…Rise up, take courage and do it!
“God took a group of women from different backgrounds and shaped us into a group; together we decided to rise up and take courage with one love in heart for the family. It was as if we were in a different world. We experienced a transformation!”
“This retreat gave us opportunity for self-evaluation.”
Saturday morning everyone participated in an icebreaker exercise led by Rev. Wanda Outlaw. Each person found another participant they didn’t already know and introduced themselves; then representative pairs stood and introduced their partners to the whole group. It was a meaningful way to learn about one another and come together as a group.
Two presentations of True Family Values were given – “God’s Original Ideal,” presented by Rev. Patra Kidwell (Pastor of God’s Ministry Int. Church) and “What Went Wrong?” presented by Rev. Tanya Edwards (pastor of Manhattan Family Church). Table discussions followed each presentation, in which each table chose one question from a list of five to discuss. The discussions became so lively and engaged it was difficult for the MC to call the participants’ attention back to the podium.
Then the focus shifted to the topic of Women and Healing. First Rev. Outlaw read from Acts 12:6, which speaks of Peter’s chains being broken. She then used links of heavy chain as visuals to symbolize issues that we carry around every day. As each person held a link of chain Rev. Outlaw posed the question: is your issue jealousy, hatred, worry or stress? Then she asked everyone to imagine toting around that issue every day, all day, like the chains we were holding in our hands. She pointed out that those issues (chains) are in our minds.
She shared a personal testimony of being diagnosed with cancer. After she was told the diagnosis, she confronted it by repeating the mantra, “I am healed. I am well” until the cancer was in remission. She has been cancer free since 2014. She went on to say that we must learn to vent emotions, not hold them in, so we can move on, otherwise we end up hauling around issues in our mind for the rest of our lives. In the years before her cancer diagnosis, she had been carrying around stress issues, and later came to feel that they contributed to her disease.
“If we believe that God is great, let Him take care of it. We go around trying to control situations and solve problems by ourselves, then things go wrong. We have to get to a place where we are really one with God, being in oneness with God, knowing that we have all authority. We have to make a declaration and decree that every sister in the retreat be set free from our chains. Love a sister like your sister. Stop judging them. People are scared of taking responsibility to be like God (with a small “g”.) We need to shift our minds and drop the chains. We cannot talk about loving God and then hate our neighbor, to shout and jump in church and then look down on one another. We need to minister to the homeless single mothers. We need to nurture our children. We have to get to a place where we can love them. Use the challenges you face to show somebody how to come out of their own issues.
“Notice the children and the elderly who rarely receive a hug. Love yourself enough to let it go or it may kill you. Let God deal with it. Our God is an awesome God. Let go of your chains for the sake of your mind. God is good. Dwell on what God has done for you. Stop taking God for granted. Love God from right where you are. If your knees are aching, thank you God that I have legs … If you worry, “Lord, my memory’s gone,” instead be thankful you at least are here and can learn differently….
Paul was in jail and the angel broke his chain. You can’t hold God’s people down. If we have authority, we can declare and decree… and break our own chains.”
The morning following the retreat Archbishop Lewis-Rose had a most powerful dream in which she saw Mother Moon’s mother leading the way before Mother Moon as they walked throughout the Imani building. Mother Moon was dressed in a beautiful radiant blue and her mother in deep blue and purple. Behind them came a multitude of women clergy who were deeply moved by God’s heart expressed through them. Behind the multitude of women, Archbishop Stallings and other clergy were walking in full support of the Women In Ministry.
Ms. Teresa Ferrete-Rischl, youth minister of Family Federation for World Peace (FFWP), gave a talk and led everyone in an exercise in which each person found a partner to share what complaints they had, as well as the reasons blocking them from getting past those complaints. The purpose was to consider how God is guiding us to overcome those “chains.” One sister gave a very moving testimony that she had a hard time with her husband and was complaining to God. She fasted for seven days, and a few days later God talked her, saying, “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” Then she realized that being right dosen’t bring happiness and she could change her heart. Now she feels she has the best possible husband.
Mrs. Angelika Selle (WFWP-USA President) gave a short presentation on healing women, which was very healing to all of us.
Dr. Elizabeth Pierce (Pastor, of International Revelation Ministry in Chicago) led a healing and deliverance service. Dr. Pierce is a prophetess who receives revelation regarding the future, as well insights into individual personal situations. The session ended with a traditional foot washing conducted by Minister Reiko Jenkins, Rev. Kotulek and Archbishop Lewis-Rose, who washed participants’ feet, following the example Jesus set at the Last Supper, by washing the feet of his disciples.
Sunday morning one participant from New York was awakened by birds singing and strongly felt reminded of God’s promise to Isaiah (in I Kings 17:4) that the ravens would be sent to feed him.
“The healing with Dr. Elizabeth Pierce was breathtaking… the energy that filled the sanctuary was captivating. She reminded us to identify our purpose.”
“The environment was so peaceful and calm, I was able to immerse myself in the sound of silence.”
“I see my fellow congregants in church all the time, but I did not really know the other side of them until being with them in community at the retreat. This was awesome.”
“I am experiencing a deficit of words to describe the experience, because it was more than awesome and spectacular. I learned that the remedy to overcome stress is to focus on God and have a relaxing demeanor.”
“I learned how to implement strategies to defeat the adversary, dropping the chains (leaving old habits behind), and don’t pick them up again.”
The spirit of the event was enhanced by the beautiful songs offered by Evangelist Rita Pritchett from Chicago, Evangelist Carrie Sanders from Los Angeles and the members of Little Rock Zion Deliverance Ministry of New York during.
Dinner was followed by a cake cutting, and a skit about prominent women in the Bible. The evening concluded with a prayer and reading of an excerpt from the final speech Father Moon made to women, entitled “The Inauguration of the Abel Women UN.”
Two services were held on Sunday morning, the 12th. Rev. Wanda Outlaw preached for the Women’s Service, followed by the powerful Imani Worship Service led by Archbishop Stallings. This concluded our retreat and we were all deeply moved by the power of love, the spirit, and all the learning from each presentation.
The success of the retreat can be measured not only by numbers of participants, but by the depth and breadth of the transformation that takes place. We were definitely challenged to take a good look at ourselves behind the masks we wear to cover the pain, worry or other issues that weigh us down like heavy chains. We received amazing grace through worship, prayer and the word of God. I am confident that everyone was touched in some by their experience. As in Romans 12:2, “let us not be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of our mind, that we may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
“The presenters were very animating, tone was good, voice was clear. During the group discussions after each session, content from the video presentation was referenced as reasons for answers to questions that were assigned for discussion within the groups.”
“The youth presenter had all the participants’ attention throughout the entire presentation.”
“All sessions were either very interactive or somewhat interactive.”
“Implementation of communication strategies was very evident and useful.”
“I loved the togetherness of the entire group, the whole atmosphere and the delivery of the expressed word.”
“I love the approach that was used to give insights on different parts of the scripture.”
“Many discoveries were made at the retreat that have positive implications – from the meaning of one’s name to the calling on individual lives and the individual gifts that each person brought to the retreat — though different, yet similar because of the bonding with God.”
“We thank God for his display of love on our behalf. We thank God for Mother Moon and Father Moon. We thank God for Archbishop Stallings, who had the vision and extended the invitation to us to come to Imani Temple for a women’s retreat. What a rewarding experience we had!”
“I give God all the honor for truly the spirit of the living God was poured out on all of His handmaidens. The Glory of the presence of God was electrifying and remains on us all. His Love and presence is amazing and continues to guide us to victory! We are so thankful to the Lord for the open heaven of confident expectation that we are united in heart and in spirit to let His light shine threw His people at this time to advance the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. His spirit is leading us to reflect the heart of God by ministering to rebuild the family, restore the community, and renew the nation and the world.”
Rev. Marilyn Kotulek, ACLC WIM National Co-Chair
Archbishop Stallings and the Imani Church Family poured out all their love and Christian hospitality to make everyone feel at home. The ACLC WIM National Staff (Minister Jenkins, Rev. Kotulek, Archbishop Lewis-Rose and Margaret Herbers) invested an immense amount of prayer and detailed preparation to make the sessions flow seamlessly. All the speakers and presentations enhanced and enriched the retreat experience. It was a real “treat” and a blessing bestowed on all participants and their ministries.
“It was a very special and deep experience for me to be invited to the ACLC WIM retreat and connect with my “home base” after almost 12 years. As one of the founding members in March 2004, I cannot forget how the Holy Spirit descended at that very first, spontaneous gathering, and women stood up and said, ‘Here am I, Lord, send me!’
“At the retreat, I saw how much the WIM has grown since then, in leadership and content, for such a time as this. As America finds itself at the crossroads of destruction or of revival and healing, I felt that God is in great need and is calling on the women of faith and women in the ministry at this time to speak to the conscience of the nation and “rebirth” America based God’s principles, the Divine Principles.
“Great testimonies were shared to confirm and affirm that God is the Healer of us all and that He/She is able to step in at this time, IF we let go of our chains (old habits) and walk in His/Her ways.
“Although my husband, Bob, and I attended for only a few hours, I was moved and inspired. I felt reconnected to our great clergy women to collaborate together in the near future as women united in heart to heal ourselves and heal America and the world.
“Deepest thanks to Archbishop Sulanch Lewis, Co-chair of ACLC WIM, who invited me, and Co-chairs, Minister Reiko Jenkins and Co-chair Rev. Marilyn Kotulek, who together with the leadership team have kept the fire burning for the last 12 years through the weekly national prayer conference calls.”
Angelika Selle, President, WFWP USA
Contributed by: Rev. Kathaleen Sato/ NJ ACLC WIM