Unusually spring-like temperatures complete with bright blue skies and brilliant sunshine greeted Mrs. Katarina Connery, Vice President of WFWP USA, and her husband Michael upon their arrival in Chicago the weekend of February 18, 2017, to officiate and attend multiple activities. A Chicago Family Church youth remarked, “It’s like the weather wants to embrace them too!” Fifteen young members and five adults received Mr. and Mrs. Connery upon their arrival. Together they shared a delicious Thai dinner, as a kick-off for the couple’s weekend with WFWP and the Chicago Family Church.
During their visit, the church community anticipated a WFWP leadership transition ceremony, a special Sunday sermon prepared by Mrs. Connery, a community reception for the couple, and a presentation of the scope of WFWP’s vision and goals for 2017. Chicago area WFWP associate members also looked forward to meet and greet opportunities with the Vice President.
Chicago Family Church touted their Sunday Worship Service and Reception as “WFWP Sunday” and the day didn’t disappoint. Mrs. Katarina Connery delivered a beautiful, often impassioned, sermon. She spoke about Mother Moon’s caring heart towards those who are working to alleviate the suffering of those around them in this world. She concluded, “There is no way she gives as she does without being completely one with God’s Heart of True Love, this Heart that gives and gives, and gives again forgetting that it has given.”
Mrs. Connery’s message also highlighted the importance, for men and women alike, of Mother Moon’s revelatory statements which have changed the conversation in the women’s equality movement. Women have been seeking equality with men by desiring to obtain those roles held by men, rather than realizing that they were created equal to men and have divine value through fulfilling their feminine role. “They have exactly what is needed to make the world whole.”
The impact of Mrs. Connery’s Sunday message was palpable. Bishop Charles Lewis, stated, “I’ve been involved with the Women’s Federation for some time and I am impressed with their work.” Ms. Soonja Konno also remarked, “I have been supporting those working on the programs this weekend because I have hope and am inspired by the WFWP leadership in my generation.”
Following the sermon, FFWPU Continental Director Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, District Pastor Jeff Schmidt and local pastor Rev. David Rendel gave their blessing as Mrs. Connery presided over the inauguration of Ms. Kathryn Davis as the new Chicago Chairwoman, and thanked Mrs. Patricia Fliginger for her six years of service as Chairwoman. Mrs. Connery presented a stunning plaque from the Chicago community to Mrs. Fliginger, and thanked her “for steadfast service” on behalf of WFWP USA. Mrs. Connery then welcomed Ms. Davis in her new role working together, as Chicago Chairwoman, with WFWP USA. The ceremony concluded with Ms. Davis presenting Mrs. Fliginger with a gift and statements of gratitude given by both ladies.
A relaxed and joyful reception followed the service. Mrs. Connery gave an enlightening presentation on WFWP USA which included a brief history and the NGO’s areas of impact: Marriage & Family, Human Rights and Women’s Dignity, Leadership Training and Retreats, Domestic and International Service Projects, the Schools of Africa Project, and the signature Bridge of Peace Ceremonies. Participants were also delighted by a beautifully executed dance performance by high schooler, Ms. Iris Wojtowicz. A delicious buffet luncheon followed.
WFWP Detroit coordinator Ms. Cordette Newsome and her friend Christina Cusic-Morris attended both events, stating they were thrilled to participate. “We are glad we made the journey here today from Michigan and have enjoyed meeting with Mrs. and Mr. Connery,” Ms. Newsome reflected. She has been a long-time, enthusiastic supporter of WFWP activities in Michigan.
WFWP USA Board member and Coordinator for the Schools of Africa, Ms. Fannie Smith thanked WFWP members for all their support and thanked Mrs. Fliginger for her loyal service. “She has been such a hard worker. Now, we are bringing our own sister Kathryn Davis as our new Chicago Chair Lady, who has also been working with us here a long time. What we are doing here today is allowing the members in Chicagoland to meet and greet our own Vice President Katarina Connery,” she stated.
Evangelist Greta Myers, director of Love Train Ministry and the Coordinator of the local Women in Ministry with Min. Reiko Jenkins, also attended the service. “It was a beautiful service and I would not have missed it for anything. It is nice to see more than pictures of a leader of something that you’re involved in. And I thank God for it.” Mrs. Carrie Tonkumoh, a local florist, Love Train minister, and member of the WFWP Chicago Chapter provided the flowers for the event.
Rev. Jeff Schmidt, District Director, remarked, “I want to state how smart Father and Mother Moon were in creating the Women’s Federation for World Peace 25 years ago ...it is so important that we have women leaders around the world, with a woman’s and a mother’s heart to really embrace and love; reduce the tension from all the political strife around the world...We are also grateful that in Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan, we have great WFWP leadership, really committed, happy to serve and so capable. I am so grateful for Patricia’s six years of effort here in Chicago and I am really looking forward to working with Kathryn in the next, at least, three years, as we lead up to Vision 2020 and see WFWP really come together nationwide and worldwide,” he added.
Although the Connery couple was unable to attend some planned events because of a cancelled flight, women of faith from various organizations were prepared to meet the young vice president and learn about the vision of WFWP and its mission. One south-side Chicago venue was an Annual All-You-Can-Eat Breakfast Fundraiser at Greater Harvest MB Church.
Two young and curious young ladies, Soonja Konno and Soojin Ogden, traveled to the breakfast fundraiser with the group of WFWP women. Upon their arrival, First Lady Tasha Thomas, wife of Pastor Eric Thomas, greeted and directed them to several stations serving a variety of breakfast fare.
“Of course, I was looking forward to meeting WFWP Vice President Mrs. Connery. The work WFWP has done in eight countries in Africa, founding nine schools is truly amazing. I am impressed,” First Lady Thomas remarked.
Our facilitator at Greater Harvest, Barbara Holmes, added, “We’re sorry Mrs. Connery could not join us today, but another opportunity will come. I am impressed with the work WFWP women are doing across the US, and I am looking forward to working with the Chicago chapter.” During the event, WFWP was invited to participate in the church’s business expo later this month.
In response to Chicago’s warm embrace, both in weather, members, and guests, Mrs. Katarina Connery shared these sentiments regarding the couple’s visit, “It was really wonderful. I’m so glad to meet some of the Chicago members and the people who have been holding down the fort for so many years, and contributing so much. I can really feel everyone’s heart; that they really want to give a lot, and I’m really grateful for that. And I think there is a lot of hope and energy in Chicago. I can feel it.”
Mr. Michael Connery added, “I know Chicago’s a great center for leadership and work in many areas including WFWP. We were very warmly welcomed and we can feel we are greatly appreciated. We are just grateful for this opportunity to come out, speak, connect and rally the great energy you’ve already built up here.”