Unification News for August 2004

Blessing Ceremony in New York

by Rev. In Hoi Lee

On the evening of Sunday, July 25, at 10:00 pm, couples gathered at Belvedere to join in the Blessing 2004 ceremony. This event was linked by the internet to Korea where the main ceremony was taking place with True Parents, at the same time (but on the next day), Monday, July 26. Prior to the Blessing ceremony the blessed couples took the holy wine at the main house (True Parents old house) based on 3 hours of education by Rev. Lawrence Fong and Rev. Tom Corley.

In his congratulatory remarks to the 50 participants, Rev. In Hoi Lee, the director for the New York Region, commented on how privileged the couples were to receive the holy blessing in such an historic holy place, where True Parents had invested so much for God’s providence.

Those who were participating included 15 newly matched couples, 10 brides and bridegrooms who held pictures of spouses who were in other countries, and 5 previously married couples (including one couple that had just begun to learn about the blessing). The emcee for the event was Rev. Bruce Grodner, the vice regional director, and the coordinator for the event was Rev. Hirofumi Sakamoto. Dr. and Mrs. H.G. McGhee started us off locally with prayer. Rev. and Mrs. Andrew Compton represented the officiators and 10 elder couples participated as attendees.

The Blessing was held in the training center that was decorated with flowers on the walls, ribbons, and white and pink balloons. In addition to the brides and bridegrooms the room was overflowing with members and friends who had come to support and honor the newlyweds.

Even though the internet connection was sometimes delayed and at times there were prolonged moments of awkward silence, the opportunity to actually participate in the event that True Parents (dressed in white tuxedo and wedding dress) were officiating was priceless.

After the ceremony concluded, Rev. In Hoi Lee gave a brief message encouraging the couples and all members to reach out to others. He challenged everyone to bring 500 or even a 1000 participants for the next blessing. Archbishop de la Rosa and Jim Stephens (National Director, BFD) offered words of wisdom to the couples – letting them know that they were going to face serious challenges in today’s permissive society.

Finally everything was concluded with a closing prayer offered by the Bronx district leader, Rev. Esteban Galvan.

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