While disaffected congregants stood outside Archbishop George A.Stallings Jr.'s Imani Temple Wednesday night holding signs protesting the sudden influence of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, The Post's Hamil R. Harris was on the inside talking with Stallings's 24-year-old handpicked Japanese bride-to-be.
Okinawa native Soyami Kamimoto is a woman of few words and a spotty command of English, Harris reports. As her future husband listened, Harris asked how she felt about the mass wedding ceremony in New York this Sunday when she and her 53-year-old fiance tie the knot. "I am getting married, yes of course it is my marriage," she replied. What does her intended mean to her? "He means everything. He is God. God sent him to me, I believe." And how will she handle being first lady of Stallings's church on Capitol Hill? "I would like to be part of congregation rather than first lady," she said.
She was more expressive when it came to public displays of affection.
In the church coat room where the interview took place, she hugged Stallings. She kissed him. She made him blush. She took him by the hands and gazed into his eyes. Stallings, meanwhile, told Harris: "Jesus was an Asiatic Jew with black blood flowing through his veins.
Look at me, a man of African descent about to marry a woman of Asian descent. We are about to have some new Jesuses."
With members of his Imani Temple still seething over his implied criticism of black wives last week as he prepared to marry a young Japanese woman handpicked by Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon, Archbishop George A. Stallings Jr. defended his plans yesterday by comparing his fiancee's ethnicity with that of Washington PR executive Linda Greene, the longtime companion he abruptly dumped to wed 24-year-old Sayomi Kamimoto.
The Post's Hamil R. Harris reports that the 53-year-old defrocked Catholic priest who was excommunicated after forming a breakaway religious movement, the African American Catholic Congregation, in 1989 issued a statement that said in part: "I want to make it clear for the record that marriage to a woman of color who is not African American is a personal decision and not a public statement. If I had married Miss Linda Greene, some in the black community would not be up in arms, yet she, too, is a non-African American of Asian and Indian descent."
The 49-year-old Greene who was among several female Imani Temple members who walked out of Stallings's Mass on Sunday to protest what they called his "close affiliation with and adoption of doctrine of the Unification Church" disputed Stallings's characterization. "Good Lord!" she told us yesterday. "I don't think I should comment except to say that I am African American. I have not a clue why he's saying this. I knew George Stallings well, but this new person I truly don't know."
Stallings's troubles started last week after Greene preemptively announced her ex's nuptials; he compounded his problems by telling us, "I've been plagued by women scorned," and then made things even worse by explaining to the Afro-American newspaper: "I chose a Japanese wife because . . . they are dedicated to their husbands, they are gentle and they work with them." He added that he didn't want a wife "who desired to party all the time."
Yesterday, as Stallings dodged grenades hurled by his own flock, the Unification Church sent in reinforcements. The Rev. Michael Jenkins, Moon's top church official in North America, told Harris that Stallings's engagement to Kamimoto is the result of genuine love, not an arbitrary union orchestrated by the Korean. "We are confident of Bishop Stallings's integrity and purity as a man of God," said Jenkins. "The allegations against Bishop Stallings have been proven false." Jenkins said that starting tonight Stallings will hold a three-day revival at Imani Temple sponsored by the Unification Church, and that on Sunday he will say his marriage vows along with 40 other couples at the New York Hilton. "This is a definitely a beautiful love story," Jenkins said. "I don't think it can get better than this."
A controversial local religious leader is finding himself at the center of a new controversy.
Archbishop George Stallings Jr. first made national news when he broke away from the Catholic Church to lead his own Afrocentric church. Now, Stallings is creating a stir among his church members over whom he has decided to marry.
Stallings, who leads the Imani Temple, is preparing to wed a young Japanese woman handpicked by Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon.
The 53-year-old excommunicated Catholic priest, who was stripped of priestly privileges and functions after forming a breakaway religious movement called the African American Catholic Congregation in 1989, has denied that the marriage has been arranged by Moon. He also says denies claims that the Imani Temple is being indoctrinated by the Unification Church. Stallings says that the Imani Temple is not getting money in return for his union with 24-year-old Sayomi Kamimoto, whom he is scheduled to wed on Sunday at the New York Hilton hotel. He will be married along with 40 other couples.
Kamimoto is an employee and member of the Unification Church.
Members of the Afrocentric Imani Temple were so upset by the sudden announcement that some left in protest after Mass services on Sunday. They describe Stallings' relationship with Moon as his "close affiliation with and adoption of doctrine of the Unification Church."
In addition, followers of the Imani faith have expressed offense over Stallings' recent comments on black women. In a published article, Stallings said that he wants to marry "a Japanese wife because . . . they are dedicated to their husbands, they are gentle and they work with them." He added that he didn't want a wife "who desired to party all the time."
But in a statement issued Tuesday, Stallings said, "I want to make it clear for the record that marriage to a woman of color who is not African American is a personal decision and not a public statement. If I had married Miss Linda Greene, some in the black community would not be up in arms, yet she, too, is a non-African American of Asian and Indian descent."
Greene, 49, is Stallings' ex-girlfriend, for whom he abruptly dumped to marry Kamimoto.
Greene was among the several female Imani Temple members who walked out of Stallings' Sunday Mass service.
But Stallings insists that his marriage to Kamimoto is for love, and that he is attracted to her "beauty, brains and spirituality." He says he wants to have up to 13 kids with her.
Starting Wednesday night, Stallings will hold a three-day revival at Imani Temple sponsored by the Unification Church. Protests are expected.
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