Articles From the April 1995 Unification News
Holy Wedding of the True Children
by Dr. Tyler O. Hendricks
With dignity and solemnity, the Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon entered the wedding hall to officiate the Holy Wedding of their first two American-born children, Kwon Jin Nim and Sun Jin Nim.
It was April 16, 10 a.m. on a bright and beautiful Easter Sunday morning. Behind the True Parents followed two attendants with bowls of Holy Water. Together they processed between ranks of 42 bridesmaids and groomsmen, all children of marriages blessed by the True Parents. Already the Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Bo Hi Pak, had announced the beginning of this Holy Wedding, and Dr. James A. Baughman had offered a heartfelt invocation.
Reverend and Mrs. Moon ascended a high altar, flanked by massive columns and tiers of fine linen drapery, lit with blue and gold. Mr. Hyo Jin Moon, their eldest son, brought a gold extended lighter to his mother, who turned and gave it to her husband. He lit seven candles on each side of the altar, and all was ready for the entrance of the brides and bridegrooms.
Four of the family's grandchildren marched with calm demeanor of children in the public eye, in front of the couples, spreading flowers upon the rainbow-patterned path to the altar. The brides and grooms, heads erect, processed into the wedding hall. The bridegrooms, Kwon Jin Moon, 20, and In Sup Pak, 22, both strongly built men, were handsome and inspiring in their white tuxedos with tails. At their sides were their beautiful brides, Hwa Yun Chun, 17, and Sun Jin Moon, 18.
Every seven steps they paused and bowed before the ideal of true manhood and womanhood which they recognize as substantiated in the True Parents. Three times they took seven steps and bowed, representing their own growing period to reach the point of receiving the blessing of marriage. As they ascended the stairs and stood in front of the Officiators, they gave their final bow, representing their entering the direct dominion of God through the establishment of true matrimony under God's blessing.
The audience of over 1,000 guests, including numerous dignitaries from New York and nationwide, observed in attentive silence as the Officiators sprinkled the Holy Water upon the couples and read the Holy Wedding Vows. Extending their hands, they touched their children's heads, and Reverend Moon gave a powerful prayer of blessing. After an exchange of rings and proclamation of marriage, three congratulatory messages were offered, the combination of which holds special significance in the providence of God.
One was delivered by Dr. Richard Rubenstein, President of the University of Bridgeport. Dr. Rubenstein happens also to be a rabbi, and he assumed an historic, eternal rabbinic role by summoning the presence of God in His Holy Temple, with its root on Mt. Sinai, to the wedding hall, and he invited all the ancestors of Israel to join the wedding celebration.
A second was read in absentia from Dr. Jerry Falwell, also a university president who happens to be a Christian pastor. He noted the significance of the marriage taking place on Easter, and blessed the couples in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The third was delivered by Reverend Chung Hwan Kwak, President of the Unification Church of Korea, and an early disciple of Reverend Moon, who glorified the blessing of the True Parents upon the couple and upon America, the nation of the birth of Kwon Jin Nim and Sun Jin Nim.
Thus, the Old Testament Age, New Testament Age and Completed Testament Age combined into one moment of time surrounding the holy altar of marriage, centering upon the True Parents and True Children. It brought a spiritual atmosphere which touched the hearts of all present. This atmosphere was climaxed by a powerful rendition of "The Lord's Prayer" by soprano ___.
The gathered audience cheered together with the Officiators, and the newlywed couples bowed to them and processed out under showers of streamers, flower petals and the blowing of noisemakers.
Precarious Photo Op
No sooner had the couples and Officiators departed the hall than they returned for what can only be termed a major photo opportunity. The True Family, which now numbers almost forty covering three generations, the new in-laws and their families, the bridesmaids and groomsmen, in every possible combination and permutation, was assembled, touched up, and photographed in front of an audience of 1,000.
A touch of hilarity was added by photographer Ken Owens, perched upon an aluminum scaffolding straight out of a Charlie Chaplin flick, about to be cast at any moment upon the audience to the right and left, juggling lenses, film cartridges, cameras and batteries. A flock of groomsmen lent a hand to stabilize the scaffolding and all went well. In the process, the photographer became the central figure of the entire occasion, and the solemn wedding became a family fest. The audience ate it up.
The Peh Baek Ceremony
In the meantime, in the North Dining Room of the New Yorker Hotel, another ceremony was in final stages of preparation. Mildew had developed on some of the offering which had been kept under wraps too long. Each piece: cleaned. Toothpicks should not be in the dates-- hundreds of them--each toothpick: removed. This was to be the site of the Peh Baek Ceremony, a Korean tradition by which the newlyweds are welcomed into their new families. Music was playing, as the friends and relatives of the families, some 250 strong, entered the room. The floor was covered with white sheets, save for the multi-colored path of the new couples.
To the center was the great offering table, covered with 40 kinds of fruits, cookies, cakes, fish and fowl, and much more. Most of it was imported from Korea especially for the occasion; the rest was foraged in Chinatown, Korea town, and the Hunts Point market. Beside the table stood two giant wedding cakes, atop small tables, from the floor the multi-layered fruit-filled queens boasted candles reaching over seven feet.
The Officiating Parents, Reverend and Mrs. Moon, were summoned by the Master of Ceremonies, Reverend Chung Hwan Kwak. They entered the room and lit a candelabra of seven candles, and said a prayer. On one side the True Family sat; on the other the Chun and Pak in-laws. The room was filled with guests, men on one side, women on the other.
Clothed in royal Korean attire, the bride and bridegroom entered the room (the ceremony was conducted for each couple separately). They bowed three times to their parents, and this was quite a process, because the bride was dressed so elaborately as to require two elder wives to assist her in bowing. Then there was the sharing of Holy Wine with the parents and between bride and bridegroom, and the exchange of gifts. The bride and bridegroom fed each other rice and noodles, for long life and prosperity.
The parents then took bunches of grapes and dried persimmons from the offering table and tossed them into the outstretched apron of the bride. This was a portent of fertility for the newlywed couple. With dignity and solemnity the couple rose and bowed to their new families. The smallest children of the new families did not receive bows, but instead they themselves bowed to the new bride and bridegroom.
Then came the cutting of the cakes, and a more intimate photography session. All of the relatives and clan members of the families later shared the cake, with all the participants of the wedding. The new families were thus bonded together in a tradition hundreds of generations old. And yet, centering on Reverend and Mrs. Moon and their family, this tradition represents the expansion not of the ancient lineage, a lineage marred by disunity and strife, but of the new lineage, the true original lineage distinguished by unity and harmony, freedom and happiness.
The Banquet And Celebration
All afternoon, as the Peh Baek Ceremony was proceeding, brothers and sisters with febrile intensity, oblivious to the days of 'round the clock work which they had invested during the previous week, disassembled the wedding hall and transformed it into a royal court fit for a monarch's festivity. The altar was broken down and reconstructed as the platform for a Table of Honor holding a setting of twenty-one. Garlands and sprays of flowers were moved hither and thither, lights were moved, the Roman pillars of the morning's altar gave way to the globe floating in a starlit cosmos, surrounded by four doves flying heavenward.
An army of organizers from the number one catering company in the New York area descended upon the room, setting up some fifty-two tables, filling every nook and cranny of the hall with white and gold tablecloth, sparkling china and crystal, lovely peach-brocaded table napkins and gleaming silver. As the banner rose behind the Table of Honor, the stage was set for an evening of joy and celebration.
Guests poured into the hall from around the world: Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, Germans, English, French, Italian, Brazilian, Nigerian, Malaysian, Arabic, Morrocan, and from throughout the United States. Closest to the Table of Honor sat the earliest disciples of Reverend Moon, together with his younger children, grandchildren and relatives. Closest to the stage sat the front-line leaders of the Unification Church: the national leaders from around the world and state leaders from across America.
At 6:00 p.m. the Table of Honor entered the hall and Master of Ceremonies Mr. Peter Kim took the stage. He invited the newlyweds to the stage for the ceremonial cutting of the cakes and receiving of gifts. (Yes--more cakes! Our beloved Angelina Moore made enough to feed 2,000!) Mr. Farley Jones, Esq., President of the Family Federation for Unification and World Peace in the United States, offered a prayer for the evening, and Mr. Kim led the gathered banquet-goers in a sparkling cider toast to the newlyweds and their families.
At that point, with the strings of a harp as accompaniment, one and all set upon what can only be described as an utterly magnificent feast: Mediterranean shellfish stew, wild baby greens salad, tournedos of beef, lemon glazed asparagus spears, candied almond nougatine, exquisite coffee and juices . . . and much more. I heard church leaders comment that it was the best banquet they had ever indulged themselves in. But it was only the physical component of an equally superlative cultural and spiritual culmination of the day.
To the strains of a Strauss waltz six couples glided onto the stage, with their flowing dance leading off the entertainment with a moment of elegance and old world charm. Master of Ceremonies Larry Moffitt cheered them on, and introduced in their wake a surprisingly powerful choir of forty Unification Church youths, which presented two Korean songs and a rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus completely worthy of the day of resurrection. In fact, I felt a multitude of spirits resurrecting on the spot!
The choir's offering completed, Mr. J. C. Sheets, understudy to the role of Jean Valjean in Broadway's Les Miserables, took the stage. He performed a beautiful song from that musical, "Bring Him Home," with brought the audience to the brink of tears. In particular, Kwon Jin Nim was held in rapt attention, as this musical is one of his great loves, and his own sharing of that same song has brightened many a birthday celebration at East Garden.
The famous Russian cellist Misha Quint took the spirit of the occasion a step higher, performing Tchaikovsky and Paganini with such flair and esprit as to bring him the evening's only encore (besides the singing grandsons!). One of Mr. Quint's up-and-coming students happens also to be no one other than bride Sun Jin Moon, who watched him from the head table with appreciative and moist eyes.
One of the family's favorites, Sheila Vaughn, brought out her Manhattan Country Cousins for what Mr. Moffitt termed, in his own inestimable way, some "boot-scootin' music". After all, he said, he himself is from Texas, where the folks like both kinds of music: country and western. Not to be outdone, Ms. Vaughn (a native of Minnesota) definitely got everyone's heels pumpin' under the tables with her own tune, "This Lovin' Dance".
Sheila was followed by Norwegian recording star, Torhild Niger. Ms. Niger, a friend of Manhattan Center for many years, shared with the banquet guests a song written by Mr. In Sup Pak, bridegroom of Ms. Sun Jin Moon. It was a lovely ballad entitled, "The Greatest of These is Love," and dramatized with deep feeling by Ms. Niger.
The next group, Mr. Moffitt informed the audience, could be the next great chartbusters . . . but probably would not be. It was an assembly of college friends of Mr. In Sup Pak's, who drove down from Cornell University for the event. True to Mr. Moffitt's prediction, they do not appear ready for the great white way, but they did delight the audience with terpsichorean flair which can only be described as collegiate, fraternal and perfectly appropriate. Of further note is only the international composition of the harmonious group, which featured congratulations to the new couples in English, Korean, Japanese, Hindi and Chinese.
The Family Festival
Now Mr. Peter Kim again took the podium, and he called up the new in- law couples, who offered their humble bows, words of gratitude and songs to our True Parents.
Mr. and Mrs. In Seung Chun are members of the 1800 couples blessing of 1975, and as such they are the youngest couple to be engrafted with the True Parents' lineage. They both work with the Sae Gae Times, a Korean-language daily newspaper in New York City, and they are noted for their quiet and humble life of faith and service.
Reverend and Mrs. Joong Hyun Pak, on the other hand, are well-known to the readers of the Unification News, and to our membership throughout America. Reverend Pak has served as a church leader for twenty years in America, including service in Seattle, Atlanta, Denver, Boston and, most of all, in New York City.
In particular Rev. Pak has devoted tremendous effort to the development of the fusion of east and west in the cultural world of performing arts. Thus it was no surprise that Reverend and Mrs. Moon personally persuaded Rev. Pak to chair the wedding committee itself, despite the fact that he was the parent of one of those to be wed. And truly the greatest portion of responsibility for the beauty and creativity of the entire occasion belongs to Rev. Pak.
The evening continued the trend from external to internal, as the age of the performers dropped to an average of five years. The first True Family performers were three of True Parents' grandsons: Shin Myung Nim and Shin Kwon Nim (sons of In Jin Nim and Jin Sung Nim) and Shin Won Nim (son of Hyun Jin Nim and Jun Sook Nim). They sang songs in Korean, Japanese and English, and the audience (led by emcee Peter Kim who confessed later that they had demanded it of him) called for an encore.
Collective sighs and aaah's greeted the next performers, a set of four little granddaughters: Shin Ok Nim (daughter of Hyo Jin Nim and Nan Sook Nim), Shin Sun Nim (daughter of In Jin Nim and Jin Sung Nim), Shin Yeon Nim (daughter of Un Jin Nim and Jin Hun Nim) and Shin Eh Nim (daughter of Hyun Jin Nim and Jun Sook Nim). Their singing was a pretty as their white party dresses, and as united as their clasped little hands.
The youngest daughter of Reverend and Mrs. Moon, Jeung Jin Nim, then offered a violin solo, "Meditation from `Thais'", by French composer Jules Massenet, which she performed with feeling and skill far beyond her 12 years. Her older brothers and sisters then took the stage, a phalanx of six couples, who sang altogether the Elvis Presley song, "Love Me Tender," followed by an equally moving Korean ballad. It was a moving moment of eternal value to see these wonderful historical couples on the stage together, singing simple songs with so much heart for their younger siblings. This is beyond religion; this is the future of the world as one family.
Then the couples took the stage, first Sun Jin Nim and In Sup Nim. In Sup Nim spoke in humble, intimate tones to Reverend and Mrs. Moon as to his own parents in a personal setting. He expressed his deep appreciation to True Father, and set his determination to follow the heavenly tradition and be a loyal son, responsible husband, and good example for others. The new couple harmonized beautifully as they sang "The Rose" and one Korean song.
Kwon Jin Nim and Hwa Yun Nim then came to the microphone. Kwon Jin Nim gave a tearful and determined statement of repentance and absolute faith, absolute love, and absolute obedience to his parents. He expressed his sense of concern for his parents' suffering. He then sang a song together with Hwa Yun Nim, a sweet Korean song well-loved by his parents. Then he offered by himself a medieval Christian chant. He brought back the Easter spirit of resurrection and happiness; his offering of heart and his smile lifted everyone.
As the culminating moment, Reverend and Mrs. Moon were welcomed to the focal point of the audience's attention. As they appeared on stage, a veritable cloud of confetti descended upon them. Leai's were placed upon them, together with the newlyweds, and they sang songs and shared in the communal joy.
As they departed the hall, the singing of the wedding party grew stronger and stronger. Through weeks of investment, through prayer and fasting, through many days and nights of sweat and tears and thinking, discussing, phoning and faxing, through the sacrifice of many individuals, families and institutions, the Holy Wedding became a reality, a glowing reality. And another page in the new history has been written: the first Holy Wedding of True Children born and raised in America; the first Holy Wedding of the Completed Testament Age.
Our eternal best wishes to the brides and bridegrooms: Kwon Jin Nim and Hwa Yun Nim; Sun Jin Nim and In Sup Nim!
The March Unification News reported the engagement of Mr. Kwon Jin Moon with Ms. Jin Bong Seo. However, in the two months following the engagement, as a result of discussions and consensus between the two families, that engagement was dissolved.
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