The Words of the Schanker Family
We pray for God and True Parents' blessings and love to be with all American members as we prepare to celebrate True Father's 90th birthday and the International Blessing Ceremony. Please consider the following information, and watch for follow-up memos with additional details and clarifications.
1. True Parents' Matching: Congratulations to 87 North Americans who were matched on January 16, 2009 in Korea, and will be participating in the January 31st Blessing. A congratulatory meeting and prayer ceremony was held in each district on Sunday, Jan. 18th.
2. DATE OF THE BLESSING CEREMONY: Saturday, January 31, 2009
3. TIME: 7:00pm for the Blessing Ceremony. (It follows the 90th Birthday Celebration Event and Speech which is at 4:00pm. The starting time is still under consideration, and may be a bit later)
4. PLACE: 7th Floor, Grand Ballroom, Manhattan Center in New York City, NY.
5. WHO MAY PARTICIPATE: Second Generation Couples matched by True Parents, Second Generation couples matched by their parents, matched First Generation couples, previously married First Gen. couples and Ambassadors for Peace couples are welcome to attend.
For 2nd Generation Couples matched by True Parents only, if an international spouse is unable to enter the USA for the Ceremony, it is permissible to attend with an 8" x 10" photo of your fiancé.
6. BLESSING DONATION FEE: The Blessing Donation for each American participant is $2,000.00. Re-Blessing candidates who have paid their original donation in full should offer a Blessing donation of $500.00. Married couples being Blessed should donate $2,000 per couple.
For all Blessing Ceremony participants, your Blessing Fee donation is due IN FULL one week before the Blessing, January 26, 2009. No money will be collected the day of the event. Pre-registration and advance payment is required in order to reserve space at events, accommodations, meals, veils, photography, etc. To confirm numbers of participants, "walk-ins" will not be accepted. Pay Blessing fees to:
Second Generation: First Generation:
Rev. Inguk Seo, BC Blessing Department
4 West 43rd St., New York, NY 10036
Blessed Family Dept; ATTN: Sheila Song
3224 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20010
Download payment forms at: www.familyfed.org/bfd. Use the link in the upper left corner for forms. Keep a copy of your payment forms and also send a copy to your District Headquarters.
7. BLESSING RINGS: All participants will need a Blessing Ring for the ceremony. 14K Gold Blessing rings can be pre-purchased in America by calling. You must order by Tuesday, January 20, with your ring size and method of payment in order to guarantee delivery.
The current price for these Blessing rings is $280 (female) and $320 (male). A limited supply of metal Blessing Rings will be available in NY on a first come first serve basis for a cost of $10 to $15. Ask at the Registration Desk upon arrival if you need information.
8. REPORTING YOUR ATTENDANCE FOR the BLESSING CEREMONY: All participants should report to your USA District or your country's HQ immediately if you plan to attend. Each district, country or region will be submitting the list of their participants. Your name must be on the list to obtain admittance to the Blessing Ceremony.
Required Forms are available from the District or local church or on the following website: www.familyfed.org/bfd. Use the link in the upper left corner for forms. Applications require the signature of 2 church leaders. Submit (1) one copy to your District Office, (2) one copy to National Headquarters (see below), and (3) keep one copy. Forms for districts, nations or regions to pre-register your group will be distributed by Email tomorrow, January 20, 2009.
9. ATTIRE: The standard dress for US couples will be traditional Blessing attire:
Bridegroom: Dark Blue Suit, White Dress Shirt, Red Necktie, Black Shoes
Bride: White Wedding Dress, White Shoes
NOTE: However, participants are encouraged to join international couples in wearing traditional national costumes (your ancestors for USA). A memo regarding Blessing attire details will follow soon. Please contact Blessing2@familyfed.org immediately if you plan to wear national dress.
NOTE: The white gloves to be worn by the brides and bridegrooms during the ceremony, and the corsage, veil, and bouquet for the bride will be provided at the ceremony.
10. SCHEDULE: The tentative schedule for the weekend is as follows (details will follow later)-
Thursday, Jan. 29th- out-of-town arrivals, registration
Friday, Jan. 30th- Orientation, Education, matched couples meet, etc.
Saturday, Jan. 31st- VIP speakers, rehearsal, preparation, Abel UN event, Blessing ceremony
Sunday, Feb. 1st- Celebration, education for Blessed Family Life, optional sightseeing, departures
Monday, Feb. 2nd- departures
11. ARRIVALS: All participants in the Blessing are expected to arrive on Thursday evening, Jan. 29th or Friday morning, Jan. 30th, by 8:00am. The exact location for the Friday breakfast and program is still being decided. Friday is an important, required day of orientation and education.
All participants arriving on the 29th should come to the Hotel Pennsylvania located at 401 Seventh Ave., (at West 33rd Street, 2 blocks from the New Yorker Hotel), New York City, NY, 10001. Clear signs will direct you to the event hospitality, registration, and information area. Arrival location for the 30th orientation at 8:00am will be announced.
12. TRANSPORTATION: Ground transportation to the Hotel Pennsylvania will be provided for all pre-registered participants and guests arriving at Kennedy International Airport (JFK), La Guardia International Airport (LGA) and Newark International Airport (EWR) on Thursday, January 29, 2009, provided your itinerary has been submitted to the Blessing Transportation Office in advance by your USA district or HQ [national/regional HQ for international participants]. Detailed instructions and forms for pre-registration will be Emailed by January 20th. Be sure to report your travel arrangements to your District HQ or National HQ.
The Hotel Pennsylvania and Manhattan Center are 1 block from Amtrak and local trains at Penn Station, NY City, 6 blocks from the NY-NJ Port Authority Bus Terminal and less than 2 miles from Grand Central Train Station. Maps and details will follow soon, but those arriving by train, bus or car should research their own best path to the New Yorker Hotel.
13. ACCOMMODATIONS: Participants for the Blessing Ceremony will stay at the recently renovated Hotel Pennsylvania at 401 Seventh Ave. (at West 33rd Street), New York City, NY, 10001. The cost of lodging is included for Blessing participants for up to 4 nights (Jan. 29 - Feb. 1). Any additional nights must be paid for by the participant.
Participants will stay in rooms with two double-beds and 1 bathroom, with 4 young men or 4 young women to each room. Please plan accordingly as you prepare for your stay.
14. MEALS: All participants who have registered for the Blessing and paid their Blessing fee will be provided meals from Friday (29th) breakfast through Sunday (1st) lunch. Special dietary needs must be communicated on the pre-registration form that will be distributed on January 20, so that our meal planners will be able to accommodate your needs.
Please plan to be responsible for your own meals starting with dinner on Sunday, February 1st.
15. FAMILY and GUESTS:
Accommodations for family and guests are available at a reduced rate at the Hotel Pennsylvania (after 6 PM Jan. 20) at (800) 223-8585 or the New Yorker Hotel at (866) 800-3088. Call ASAP and ask for the Family Federation event rate. Further accommodation details will follow soon.
16. CONTACT INFORMATION:
Blessed Family Department
6106 Tamar Drive
Columbia, MD 21045
Rev. Inguk Seo
BC Blessing Departmen
4 West 43rd St.
New York, NY 10036
God bless you,
The Blessing Coordination Team
Rev. Phillip Schanker Vice Pres. for Education, FFWPU
Rev. Inguk Seo Director, BC Blessing Dept., FFWPU
Jim Stephens and Hiromi Stephens National Co-Director, BFD- FFWPU