By FFWPU USA: About 50 American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) clergy attended the Women in Ministry’s “Women United in Heart for the Family” seminar in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
The all-day event, which took place on September 5, 2015, in the Wyndham Garden Hotel, was the last of four seminars held this year in different regions of the United States. The previous seminars took place in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.
The participants, consisting of men and women alike, came from various states including Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas.
Even in a formal conference room setting it’s difficult to ignore the warm Oklahoma welcomes and kind hospitality. In fact, prior to the event, Rev. Marilyn Kotulek, ACLC-Oklahoma and co-chair of Women in Ministry, right at the conference room entrance prayed together with a small group of clergy. She uplifted her fellow clergy members and welcomed God into her prayers.
To lead the program it was befitting to invite Rev. Kotulek as the emcee and to start with praise and worship. Following this a moving opening prayer by Bishop Sulanch Grant-Lewis, ACLC national co-president, prepared the guests. Rev. George Akeen, ACLC-Oklahoma co-chair and a Native American, gave the welcoming remarks. Mrs. Cleopatra Barrett from Life Center Church of God in Christ conducted the statement of purpose, the reading of Women in Ministry’s mission and goal.
After the many encouraging words, a video called “Stand for the Family, Save the Nation” was shown. Clergy watching the video intently felt the spirit during the early days of ACLC activities and the urgency to exemplify themselves as faithful families within their communities. With this message, Paul Beartrack, a Native American minister, offered personal testimonies and anecdotes to his fellow clergy. He confidently stated, “Gospel is forgiveness.” When speaking about his recent diagnosis of cancer he inspiringly proclaimed, “We don’t have problems, we have challenges,” and invited his fellow clergy to look beyond their hardships. Rev. Kotulek then led a prayer for Rev. Beartrack that his cancer may be removed and that he may continue to do his work for God. Everyone joined in this precious powerful moment and reached out their hands in offering their sincere prayers for his health.
The keynote speaker, Rev. Dr. Michael Jenkins, national chairman emeritus, ACLC, informed the participants that unfortunately ACLC National Co-Chair Archbishop George A. Stallings Jr. would not be attending the seminar, as his flight had been canceled. Rev. Jenkins then gave a PowerPoint presentation about ACLC activities from 2004 to 2014. This presentation provided a wonderful look back in history and a learning opportunity on the reconciliation efforts between Native Americans and colonial settlers.
A brief ceremony for the appointment of Ambassadors for Peace was officiated by Rev. Bruce Biggins, Universal Peace Federation (UPF) director of Arkansas. The awardees each received a certificate of Generation Peace Ambassador. Rev. Biggins read the following statement on the certificate:
“The Universal Peace Federation acknowledges as Generation Peace Ambassadors those individuals whose lives exemplify the ideal of living for the sake of others, and who dedicate themselves to practices which promote universal moral values, strong family life, interreligious cooperation, international harmony, renewal of the United Nations, a responsible public media, and the establishment of a culture of peace. Transcending racial, national and religious barriers, the Generation Peace Ambassador contributes to the fulfillment of the hope of all ages, a unified world of peace wherein the spiritual and material dimensions of life are harmonized. The Universal Peace Federation is proud to hereby recognize the awardee as a Generation Peace Ambassador.”
The occasion was followed by greetings from Rev. Jun Orikasa and his wife, representing FFWPU Oklahoma. The couple received beautiful Native American shawls as gifts. The program continued with two True Family Values Ministry presentations. Bishop Dr. Patra Kidwell, the overseer of God’s Ministry International Churches, presented “God’s Original Ideal,” while Bishop Georgia Scott from the Evangelical Outreach Ministry Network presented “What Went Wrong.” Both women engaged the audience throughout their presentations.
The seminar closed with recognition of the ACLC Women in Ministry co-chairs, Rev. Reiko Jenkins and Rev. Marilyn Kotulek, along with remarks from Rev. Tom Cutts, ACLC national executive director, and Rev. John Ngoran, ACLC-Oklahoma executive director.
All the clergy signed a banner called Proclamation of the Family and celebrated with a bright pink cake. To officially end the program all joined hands in circle for prayer. Immediately everyone began preparations to attend the next event: the Cheyenne-Arapaho National Powwow hosted by Rev. George Akeen. Oklahoma is home to over 60 Native American tribes who proudly display their heritage through the powwow, a dynamic event with drumming, dancing, and sacred voices of chants and songs.
Overall, the seminar and tour concluded successfully. The ACLC Women in Ministry brought together many powerhouse clergy women from the Midwest. The ACLC clergy left with renewed determination and spirit to continue spread teachings in rebuilding families in America.