Articles From the March 1995 Unification News
Two 1995 Holy Days Celebrated by the Children of Region 11
by Christine Hempowicz-Queens, New York
God's Day 1995 and True Parents' Birthday 1995 were celebrated by younger children of Region 11 (New York City) in a special way at Unification Church Headquarters, 4 West 43rd Street. Both events, organized by Mrs. Waltraud Vianale, Sunday School Coordinator for Queens Church, were well attended. For God's Day, 76 enthusiastic youth, the majority six years old and younger, gathered from Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island. True Parents' Birthday arrived amid frigid temperatures, a just-finished snow storm and icy roads, yet 60 children still managed to appear at the doorstep!
Waltraud initially approached Dr. Tyler Hendricks to inquire about the possibility of our organizing such a regional children's celebration for God's Day for those too young to attend the main celebration. Her desire was to provide a meaningful God's Day for children whose parents were attending the speech so that the Holy Day could be special for the entire family. With Dr. Hendrick's approval, rooms were secured at 43rd St. for the event since no room would be officially made available for children in the New Yorker. A staff was organized from Sunday School teachers of Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan-Harlem: Mrs. Waltraud Vianale, Mr. Peter Nordquist, Mrs. Ingeborg Nakahira and Mrs. Christine Hempowicz from Queens, Mrs. Margaret Maye from Brooklyn and Mr. Ted Grice from Manhattan-Harlem. A special mention goes to Mrs. Suzanne Tadokoro of Queens for her work providing meals for us all! Also a few parents stayed and supported the program.
The main task was to provide a spiritual celebration for the children. This included a very simple Offering Table, set by the six- to ten- year-olds. Pledge and a prayer were offered, and each participant received some special food to take home from the Table. Margaret and Ted organized projects for children six and younger. They made a poster to put on the wall that included eight points of a Blessed Children's Pledge, colored in pages with religious themes, played games and watched the children's video, `` Homeward Bound.'' Peter Nordquist offered Korean study for the older children, which they enjoyed. In fact, it was hard to pull them away to eat lunch!
The God's Day celebration in the Brand Ballroom was short and consequently, a few parents began to arrive for their children earlier than was anticipated. However, instead of hastening the close of the children's celebration, Waltraud invited parents to stay a little longer with their children. The spirit was pleasant despite having many children in just a few rooms with a small staff.
Dr. Hendricks then contacted Waltraud and asked her to organize a children's celebration for True Parents' Birthday 1995 at National Headquarters. Again the staff was organized and a planning meeting held. The staff from God's Day returned minus Ted Grice. Mrs. Philippa Clarke, wife of Manhattan-Harlem pastor Rev. Daryl Clarke supported the event, accompanied by their five children.
Unlike God's Day, True Parents were present for the New York celebration of True Parents' Birthday. So we knew that the children would most probably be with us from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., the hours of the children's celebration. Many of the staff found themselves or their children ill the week before True Parents' Birthday, and it took serious determination for us all to assemble.
Again, the main task was to provide a spiritual celebration designed for our young ones. Very simple Offering Tables were set up again, this time with separate Tables for those four years old and younger, and another for the children five to ten years old. The entire Family Pledge, led by Peter Nordquist, was recited by the older group. Projects included paper crowns designed by the seven to ten year old princes and princesses of Heavenly Father and True Parents, celebration placards decorated by the five- and six-year-olds and a children's video.
Pre-registration was required and a fee was charged for each event in order to cover cost of room rental, food and materials.
Why did parents bring their children? Mrs. Catherine Bridges of Kingsburg, New Jersey brought her four children to True Parents' Birthday celebration so that they could attend `` a special program that's good for the kids.'' Mrs. Jerry Wolinski of Manhattan said that it was good for his three-year-old daughter to be with other children and have an educational experience that is good for her spiritual growth. The Martin Stephan family of Queens attended both Holy Day celebrations. Martin stayed with their four children at 43rd St. for True Parents' Birthday while his wife attended the New Yorker celebration. He noted that the staff could continue to improve the program, which covered six hours, but that it was a great event which his kids always enjoyed.
Each staff member is a parent who desires to make a special community celebration for children too young to attend the main Holy Day event. And the parents of the children who attended perhaps had similar wishes. Hopefully, families of Region 11 will continue to cooperate together at the time of Holy Days to further develop this program. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact your district pastor or Sunday School coordinator.
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