Unification News for January, 1997

TFV Ministry holds True Family Festivals Nationwide

by William Hilbert-NYC

This December 1996 and January 1997, 17 True Family Festivals were held in 13 cities throughout North America. There were 80 couples Blessed. Of these there were 30 ministers. Of these 2 were Muslim Imams and 3 Native American Chiefs. The rest were Christian ministers. In some cases these leaders Blessed some members of their congregations (this is one of the primary goals of the True Family Festival).

Because there were limited opportunities nationwide some participants came from quite a distance to attend the Festivals.

December was just the beginning of our effort to spread the Festivals to as many cities as possible. We want to increase their frequency and size throughout the new year.

The True Family Values Ministry of the United States and Canada, along with the entire Unification Movement worldwide, will focus on the accomplishment of the 3.6 million couples Blessing in 1997.

The North American goal is 360,000 couples. To reach this goal there must be a winning formula for education and preparation to encourage couples to receive the marriage blessing from True Parents on November 29th. The success of the Empowering Christianity Through True Family Values seminars for clergy gives us a foundation to work with churches and mosques to conduct educational seminars and True Family Festivals.

One of the specific goals of TFVM for 1997 is to complete the education of 20,000 Christian ministers, Muslim clergy and other religious leaders through 3 day regional seminars and a monthly newsletter; 4500 have already been educated by TFVM.

Local TFVM will also conduct introductory educational seminars for congregations and co-sponsor True Family Festivals marriage blessings with local churches to prepare families and individuals to receive the Blessing.

At the True Family Festivals couples participate in the Chastening Ceremony, the Ring Dedication Ceremony, the Holy Wine Ceremony and the Holy Blessing Ceremony. We may invite our relatives, friends and everyone we meet to receive the marriage blessing at True Family Festivals throughout 1997.

Everyone will reconvene on November 29th for the International Blessing ceremony officiated by True Parents at RFK stadium and by satellite at locations throughout the nation and world.

After this couples should complete the Separation Period of abstinence, the Three Day Ceremony and create a True Family Tradition of absolute faith, absolute love, absolute obedience and absolute sex.

Each state Blessing committee made up of all supporting organizations will reach out to their communities in cooperation with the TFVM, and work to educate and prepare hundreds of thousands of couples.

We will educate and prepare churches, mosques and other groups to receive the Blessing by teaching True Family Values. True Family Values explains about how each family may receive God's Blessing. It is a contemporary message that addresses the issues faced by families and individuals in today's society. There are already many ministers who are interested in studying more

about True Family Values and about the Blessing. These ministers went to the Empowering Christianity Through True Family Values seminar in Washington DC last year.

TFVM headquarters is preparing the following materials to support the development of True Family Values Ministry nationwide.

The Holy Communion of Marriage-a one hour presentation for congregations to invite them to the True Family Festival (will be available to be purchased by participants) $24.95 additional workbooks $2.00 each plus $3 shipping [Is in stock]

The Blessing of Love-a one hour presentation for congregations to invite them to the True Family Festival (will be available to be purchased by participants) $24.95 additional workbooks $2.00 each plus $3 shipping [will be ready to be shipped by 1/20/97]

Empowering Christianity Through True Family Values-10 presentations (will be taught at the conference and available to be purchased by participants) $70 plus $5 shipping, additional workbooks $5 each. [will be ready to be shipped by 1/28/97]

Each of these seminars includes: lecture manual, transparencies, transparency masters and a workbook.

Seminar materials for regional TFVM seminars and local outreach available by mail order. Call 212 997-0050 239.

TFVM HQ is encouraging Tribal Messiah couples to serve, educate and bring bless couples to True Family Festivals in local churches and community meeting halls. The theme of the Festivals is, Empowering the Family and the Church Through True Family Values. Regional Festivals

The True Family Values Ministry is holding True Family Festivals, a marriage rededication ceremony for betrothed and previously married couples, throughout the country. It is an inspiring revival for Christians (or Muslims) and is preparing couples for the 3.6 million couples Blessing in November 1997.

The first True Family Festivals in North America took place in Philadelphia with five couples and Los Angeles on Saturday December 22, 1997 with one couple.

Region 1

Boston: There were two True Family Festivals in Boston in December. On 26, 1996 one minister's couple received the Blessing and on December 30, 1996 another couple received the Blessing.

Region 2

Newark: see the article on the Festival by Santelli and Libon.
Philadelphia: Five couples received the pre-Blessing.
Brooklyn: Six couples received the pre-Blessing.

Region 3

Washington, DC (notes by Nicholas Kernan): The inaugural True Family Festival in the Washington DC region was held on December 28th, 1996 at the Washington DC Unification Church. Seven couples were Blessed. Among these seven couples were one minister's couple, one minister's son's couple, and three Muslim couples including an Iman and a Muslim community leader.

The officiators were Rev. & Mrs. Joong Hyun Pak. Rev. Chang Shik Yang gave the opening remarks. Rev. Phillip Schanker gave the True Family Values presentation. Rev. Cleveland Sparrow gave the pastoral address. Rev. Levi Daugherty was the emcee, and Mr. Neil Salonen gave the congratulatory address.

Some of the ministers and community leaders who attended the ceremony said they were inspired to attend the next ceremony.

The next True Family Festival will be held on January 25th.

Region 4

Charlotte, NC: The first True Family Festival in Charlotte on January 8th at the church of Rev. Roger West, the Genesis Church of God. Four couples attended. There are other positive ministers who are interested in holding the Festivals in their churches.

Region 5

Miami, FL (notes from Carol Miyazaki): On Saturday, December 28, 1996 the Florida Unification Church hosted a True Family Festival Marriage Blessing in Miami. The five couples Blessed included two Christian ministers. There were also three races represented, white, Hispanic and black, among the five couples.

Rev. and Mrs. Young Sik An, regional director of the True Family Values Ministry, officiated a truly moving ceremony that was orchestrated by Florida state director, Pastor Georg Beutl.

Afterwards, one newly Blessed wife expressed her heartfelt gratitude and shared that although she has known of the Unification Church for some time, she never thought she would qualify to receive the Blessing. She echoed the sentiment of others when she expressed how welcomed she felt and how much love was being bestowed upon her.

A wonderful dinner was served by the Miami church members and in the evening we were entertained by the newly Blessed couples and the local church members. The "Miami Blessed Choir" serenaded us with some beautiful songs of love and later showed us their many talents with a charming play. Our program officially closed after the entertainment but guests lingered afterwards not wanting to leave this heavenly environment.

Region 6

Chicago, December 27, fifteen couples and nine ministers participated.
Detroit, MI, December 29, eight couples and two ministers

Region 7

Minneapolis, MN: Eight couples received the Blessing. Of these two were Christian ministers and two were Native American Chiefs.

Region 8

St. Louis, MO (notes by Rev. William F. Stoner): Rev. Samuel Bradford, pastor of Shiloh A.M.E. Church in East St. Louis, Illinois, was Blessed in Chicago at a True Family Festival officiated by Rev. Ki Hun Kim on Dec. 27, 1996 at Rev. Barrett's Church. On February 15th, 1997 Shiloh A.M.E. Church will be the host church for a True Family Festival. Rev. Bradford has become so very committed to True Family Values because it's not merely a ceremony but a method of promoting

peace and reconciliation within the inner city. He has created the motto, "Stop the violence, Save the children, Heal the family", and has thus gained the attention of Mayor Bush of East St. Louis.

Region 9

Houston, TX: There was a True Family Festival in Houston on December 29th for one couple.

New Orleans, LA (notes by John Monestere): The First True Family Festival for the State of Louisiana was held on Sunday, December 29, 1996 at the Unification Church in New Orleans.

The church center was beautifully set with floral arrangements and Christmas decor as the backdrop for this holy occasion. The atmosphere was highly spiritually charged with the presence of God, Jesus, and True Parents embracing the participants and attendees.

Mr. James and Pastor Flora Washington of Miracle Faith Temple received the Holy Wine Ceremony and recited the Blessing Vows. The officiators were Rev. & Mrs. Gregory Rameriz of the Unification Church of New Orleans. The emcee, John Monestere, the President of the Family Federation for World Peace for Louisiana, guided gave a step-by- step explanation for the ceremony. Mrs. Mihoko Monestere played piano for accompaniment and offered the congratulatory song. The Festival continued with the cutting of the wedding cake and a toast with non- alcoholic champagne as well as a delicious buffet dinner.

Region 10

Denver, CO (notes by Roger Fuehrer): On God's Day, 1997 the Rocky Mountain Region held its first True Family Festival at the Denver Unification Church. This was put together rather quickly, but the spirit world helped immensely. There were four couples who received the Blessing. They included, amazingly enough, an Afro-American, a white American couple, an Asian couple, and a Hispanic couple. hereby representing the four human races.

The service lasted one hour and fifteen minutes. Counting all who attended the service and the wonderful dinner thereafter about 125 people attended, excluding very young children.

On Sunday, January 5th two events took place at the Denver Unification Church. One was the culmination of a three day internal Guidance workshop. Such a workshop was long overdue, since it had been years that such was held. Attendance was very good, about 55 members and included members from Wyoming, New Mexico and Nebraska. The purpose was to gain "absolute unity" as directed by Reverend Shin. A great step was made in that direction to help us unite for the ominous 1997!

The culmination of the weekend was a "Blessing Robe Ceremony" that Rev. Shin was inspired to have since he and Mrs. Shin would be gone for two months to Korea. Rev. Ephriam and his wife received the robes from Rev. & Mrs. Shin. Tremendous spiritual energy was received during this 30 minute ceremony.

Being spiritually open at times, I saw the light of the Holy Spirit come through the roof and envelope the participants at the True Family Festival on God's day. Again this beautiful light came through the ceiling and engulfed the participants during the "Holy Robe Ceremony".

Immediately, Rev. Ephriam and Rev. Shin felt a tremendous flow of spiritual energy, Mrs. Shin and Mrs. Ephriam burst out in uncontrollable tears. Soon Rev. Ephriam was crying in a like manner. After the exchange of robes and Rev. and Mrs. Ephriam stepped down to deliver a short speech. I clearly saw a door open above them and

walking through the door was Jesus and his disciples, adorned in the most beautiful white-golden robes I have ever seen. They slowly walked down these spiritual steps and followed Rev. and Mrs. Ephriam. Such a sight. I wish all could have seen and I will never forget! But all felt this amazing spiritual event.

Region 11

Seattle, WA, January 4, two couples.

Region 12

Los Angeles, December 22 & 28, eight couples, three ministers and a Native American Chief.

Region 14

Toronto, ONT Canada: There was a True Family Festival in Toronto on December 28th for one couple. 

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