Unification News for May 1997

Happy Couples Receive Recognition

by Mitch Dixon-Toronto, Canada

The Toronto Chapter of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification held a Celebration of True Love Marriage Festival for 66 couples on Sunday, May 4 at the Novotel Hotel Gibson Ballroom. The celebration honored "happily married couples." They were recognized for their successful marriages. One couple had been married 64 years, and two others over 50 years. Many were over 25 or 10 years.

The event opened with O' Canada and 2 Gospel songs by a local singer. The master of ceremonies Lilly Tadin gave the welcoming remarks. Mr. Mitch Dixon, director of FFWPU in Canada, spoke on the value of marriage. The event continued by publicly announcing couples names and the years they have been married. The older couples, 25 years or more, received small gifts. This created a very warm atmosphere and the couples were happy with their hearts open.

The Celebration of True Love Ceremony began with a toast of "ceremonial drink" to the everlasting union of man and woman and the cleansing of all bad things of the past. Then the couples walked through the "arch of true love" by first bowing to each other, embracing, turning and walking through the arch. At that time they were sprinkled with the "water of blessing" as they paused for their picture to be taken. This represented the renewal of their love and the blessing of goodness on their marriage. Upon returning to their seats, they received the "peace baton," a paint stir stick wrapped in decorative paper. Three taps on the seat of each spouse represented the end of violence and resentment in marital relationships.

The program continued with the recitation of the "Affirmation of True Love" and each couple received a certificate in recognition of their participation. These were computer generated prior to the event. Entertainment followed by a gospel recording artist and Japanese sisters songs and dance. The event concluded with a buffet meal furnished by the hotel.

After much trial and error to come up with a working strategy to support the pre-blessing work of 3.6 million couples, in Canada we discovered a couple of key points. First the target audience should not be single, divorced, or even married couples. The target audience should be "happily married couples." This gave us the calling card to use these successful couples as a role model for other people of the society. Being recognized as such inspires couples, and they naturally want to involve themselves. Second, the content presented to them was broad based, uplifting marriage and morality. Too narrow doctrinal approaches tends to alienate too many good people. We plan to continue such events asking these couples for referrals as a way to network our message of true love into the society.

My special thanks to Dr. and Mrs. Chae Hee Lee, our officiators, Mr. and Mrs. Habara, Mrs. Mikiko Tanaka, Mrs. Noriko Suzuki, Ms. Satomi Kaneko, Aboulaye and Sybil Wone, Douglas and Fumiko White, Stoyan and Lilly Tadin, Michal and Kimie Trusilo, and all our Japanese sisters too many to list but not to remember, as well as all others who made this possible.

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