On June 1, 1976, True Father addressed a crowd of 40,000 people at the God Bless America Yankee Stadium Rally. During the rally True Father said that he had come as a doctor and a firefighter to warn the nation that God was leaving America, and that only the power of God’s True Love could hold the nation together.
Forty years later, on Saturday, May 28, 2016, clergy from New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and as far away as Georgia gathered in the New York City borough of the Bronx for a prayer breakfast held to commemorate the anniversary of the Yankee Stadium Rally. Nearly 100 ministers associated with the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) heard a powerful message in the sanctuary of the Friendly Baptist Church before meeting at the new Yankee Stadium to hold a rally.
The celebration started with a breakfast prepared by Rev. Irma Pacheco, the pastor of the Baptist House of Prayer, and her church family. The ACLC clergy enjoyed the warm fellowship in the cool of the morning in the Taqwa Community Farm.
The group then moved to the sanctuary of the Friendly Baptist Church, where Senior Pastor Albert L.O. Sutton welcomed the ministers. Bishop Jesse Edwards served as the master of ceremonies. Accompanied by Rev. David Jenkins, pastor of the Bronx Community Baptist Church, Rev. Edwards led the assembly in joyful praise and worship. Rev. Deborah D. Jenkins, the pastor of Faith @ Works Church and adjunct professor of the New York Theological Seminary, led the congregation in a responsive reading taken from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke (Matthew 5:43-45 and Luke 6:32-36).
Rev. Tom Cutts, the national executive director of ACLC, offered condolences to Rev. Angelo Rosario and Nancy Rosario. Earlier that week Mrs. Rosario had lost her mother, Mrs. Maria Vega. Rev. Esteban Galvan, the pastor of the Bronx Family Church, and his wife, Lorna Galvan, read a proclamation from Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. commemorating the Yankee Stadium Rally. The proclamation commended True Father for his efforts to save America, and for True Mother in her continuing the legacy.
Sheikh Musa Drammeh, imam of the Islamic Cultural Center of North America, offered greetings, a powerful word about peace, understanding and active cooperation. He then introduced Keynote Speaker Rev. Angelo Rosario.
Rev. Rosario is the senior pastor of the Church of God’s Children. He is also the chairman of the Bronx Clergy Task Force, established by the Bronx borough president. Rev. Rosario is known throughout the five boroughs of New York as a man of God who puts his words into action. He gave a spirit-filled message about serving others. “Don’t simply pray for someone to find a job. Help create a job in the community,” he said. He also spoke about making right decisions and holiness. He gave up a well-paying business to answer the call of God to go into the Christian ministry. Today his 10 children are all serving the Lord in various ministries, and four of his 25 grandchildren are also in the ministry.
Rev. Deborah D. Jenkins commented, “We received a ministering word from Rev. Angelo Rosario this morning at the ACLC Interfaith Prayer Breakfast. He said that the holier we become, the less evil there is in us.”
Rev. Dr. Perry Wootten, a Presbyterian minister, and a pastor in the Bronx for 27 years, offered the benediction. Dr. Wootten celebrated our diversity and thanked God for being the parent of us all.
After the Prayer Breakfast, the clergy joined with about a hundred others at Gate Four of the Yankee Stadium. There Rev. Esteban Galvan spoke of the event that took place there 40 years ago, and Rev. Edner Pierre-Louis, the district pastor of the New York District, gave an impassioned prayer asking God to continue to stay in America, and to use the nation to bless other countries of the world. Rev. Tom Cutts led the crowd in four cheers to mark the end of the service.
The crowd then paraded up the street to the Taqwa Community Farm to join in a celebration and barbecue.
Special thanks go to Rev. Bruce Grodner, the ACLC national outreach director; Rev. Esteban Galvan; and Rev. Edner Pierre-Louis for conceiving of and orchestrating this commemorative prayer breakfast. The support of Rev. John Kung and the Family Church of Queens, Rev. Daryl Clarke and the Family Church of Brooklyn, and Rev. Jacob Manoj and Rev. Hitoshi Onishi of the Clifton (New Jersey) Family Church was also greatly appreciated. A good time was had by all.
Contributed by Rev. Tom Cutts, national executive director of ACLC