About Unification Church Tradition
Report About Logistics of Blessing '99
In response to your request I'll mention just a few things about the blessing. I think the main things we were worried about as the hosting country which was decided quite late were the weather since it is an outdoor stadium and the mobilization of people. The goal was to have the field (not the playing field as we were not to go on it- the adjacent areas) filled with unmarried people getting blessed, including second generation, first floor filled with couples reaffirming their marriages, and the third floor filled with spectators. To accomplish this, each hotel where the single people were staying according to the areas the man was from (the woman would go to the hotel where her husband was to be) had staff who guided them through the entire process providing meals, rooms, transportation and counseling. For the previously married couples and spectators, each church district was provided with a certain number of buses to fill depending on the number of established members in each area. Then in the case of the church I attend, our church leader assigned at least two blessed couples to each bus to mobilize people to fill the bus, and to act as guides for the guests and participants. One blessed couple guided the couples to their seats on the first floor and made sure the woman put on the veil and white gown which was provided, and the other couple guided spectators to the upper floors. Since the stadium is so large the entrances for each level are completely different so at least two guides were required. This part was extremely well organized.
It was fully planned which route each bus should take at what time and where each bus should stop and let people out. A meeting was held in advance on Feb. for the responsible couples to come and look at the stadium and to locate the areas where they were to sit and which entrance they were to come in. Coming in the right entrance was important for the souvenir items and the lottery tickets. Good planning for transportation was important because so many buses would be arriving. Only buses from outside Seoul were able to park, so the Seoul people were provided with subway tickets to go home. In each bus packed lunches were ready for everyone. On arriving at the stadium everyone received a boxed congratulatory cake, a drink, a white scarf, a program, and a Styrofoam cushion to sit on to help one keep warm. All the people were asked to drape their scarves over their shoulders and let them hang down in front to create a pure, holy atmosphere. (The goal was not so much ghostly as spiritual! - in spite of the many spiritual blessings) Everyone was to be in the stadium by 1:00, and entertainment was provided from about 12:30. There were so many people who came, that people were sitting on the steps and standing in the aisle ways, and in fact many people were not able to come in because there was no place to put them. I hope they were not too disappointed.
We had very cold weather just before the blessing dates and rain or snow were predicted for the evening before the blessing. Father bravely and laughingly said it should be very cold and snow - then we would be accomplishing this great event in the most difficult of circumstances which would be a greater witness to it. But of course everyone was praying for good weather. I also heard through someone that Father had actually put Daemonim in charge of the weather. At any rate it was very dark and cloudy in the early morning but steadily lightened and brightened and actually got warmer as the time for the ceremony approached.
It was very inspiring. It was also very inspiring watching the stadium fill little by little. I went early to help translate early announcements to organize the crowd and perhaps to translate for the entertainment. When I first got there the new couples were just beginning to arrive. Merchants were near all the entrances selling flowers, etc. And it was a bit overcast and at first seemed to get colder and then brighter and brighter and warmer and warmer. I wouldn't be surprised if the light was focused on the stadium. At the last large blessing apparently the Christians had prayed for rain to block our ceremony. The nation had terrible floods with great loss of property and even life, but while the rest of the nation and city was in the midst of a flood, the sun broke through over the stadium until TF had finished his prayer when it began to sprinkle again and then as the couples recessed it began to rain. Nothing that dramatic this time, but just a gradual warming and brightening as the crowds poured in. It was lovely to see the multicolored background transform into white as the people settled in and put on their scarves. I felt such relief and joy at the massiveness of the response and the enthusiasm.
The crowds were very responsive to the initial entertainment and respectful throughout the ceremony. I personally felt the immensity of God strongly and also had several small but striking experiences which showed me again how clearly involved he is with each of us personally. It was a heartwarming contrast between the immensity and the deep precise personal concern for each and every individual.
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