Articles From the July 1995 Unification News
Blessing Candidate Preparation Workshop NYC
by Annie Gagne-Clifton, NJ
"Marriage is an institution that is made for giving, rather than receiving. You have the enormous power to make another person profoundly happy." These words, spoken by Farley Jones, are actually quite revolutionary. In a world more focused on making "me" happy, these are certainly words that makes one ponder.
Mr. Jones and his wife, Betsy, are the National Chaircouple of the Family Federation for Unification and World Peace (FFUWP). They hosted a Blessing Candidate Preparation Workshop at the HSA-UWC National Headquarters in New York City on July 22nd. This workshop was held for Region 2 and 11's candidates preparing to attend the Blessing `95 event in Korea and other parts of the world.
Blessing `95 will take place on August 25th with a total of 360,000 couples being blessed by the Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon. Some of these couples will be married for the first time through this blessing, but the majority of these couples will have been previously married and will be renewing their vows and pledging to become exemplary couples to create ideal families.
Rev. and Mrs. Moon, just the week before, had matched thousands of couples in a photo matching. During this workshop's registration, most of the 120 participants received a photo of their fiances and could see what they looked like for the first time. Some couples, after receiving the envelope with the photo in it, were afraid to open it. Some couldn't open the envelopes quickly enough. There was a lot of excitement in the air, needless to say.
The workshop began at 10 a.m. Hope Igarashi, Region 2's Blessing Committee Representative, emceed for the whole event. Mr. Toshiaki Yoshimura, Director of Witnessing New York, offered the opening prayer. Rev. Do Hee Park, Region 2's Director, gave the opening remarks and gave some internal guidance to the candidates. He shared that a new life began for them the moment they were matched. He gave the "10 Commandments of the Family" which he encouraged all to follow to help in their marriage.
Mr. and Mrs. Jones then shared and gave more internal guidance. Before Mr. Jones shared, however, he asked all the newly matched couples to introduce themselves. He began with those couples who were actually at the workshop together, probably seeing each other for the first time. It was delightful to see these new couples together, seemingly shy with each other, as though they were on their first date. (Wait ... it was their first date!) Then Mr. Jones had those newly matched members who received a photo of their fiance, but were not with them, introduce themselves and show their fiance's photo. The previously married couples attending were also asked to stand and introduce themselves. We all clapped for each couple and the spirit of unity-the feeling of being in this together-solidified us as a family. Everyone could feel the warmth, excitement and hope in the air!
Mr. Jones shared that the newly matched couples must see the Blessing as an offering to God. How is God's love going to reach your spouse? Only through you. He said that they will be personally challenged many times to change for the better over time. A husband and wife have the destiny to create a new civilization from their family.
Mrs. Jones shared that throughout her 25 years of marriage, because of the providential timetable, she had to leave her family for periods of time to do missions. In saying good-bye, that was quite often when they, as a couple, felt true love. She shared that when their couple had a disagreement, she would think, "Why can't he be more like me?" In order to accept your mate, sometimes you may have to give up something of yourself. Don't think you can be close to True Parents by turning your back on your mate. You cannot enter the highest realm in spirit world alone. You have to humble yourself to your mate. You must reflect on this: Can your mate crown you in spirit world? Mrs. Jones shared that the minimum standard after the blessing is-Do not fall! She went on to explain the meaning of the Holy Wine Ceremony and the Blessing Ceremony.
After lunch, the title of the next session was "Actualizing the Blessing: Making it Work." Bill and Lisa Lay, New York Region FFUWP, and Ted and Hope Igarashi, an international couple, shared their testimonies. Ron and Jacqui Gurtatowski, Region 2's FFUWP Chaircouple, also an interracial couple, shared their testimony a little later in the program.
Dr. Tyler Hendricks, President of HSA-UWC USA, then spoke on "The Value of the Blessing." He shared that the Blessing is the most powerful weapon of love. His couple is an east/west couple. They each approach life and deal with problems differently. He had the audience laughing when he shared how his couple handled their problems. Dr. Hendricks, being American, approached a problem by sitting and discussing things. His wife, on the other hand, is Korean, and approached a problem in silence. Dr. Hendricks shared that sometimes giving up his desire for a rational, logical discussion needed to give way to a more embracing approach to win victory.
Dr. Hendricks said that the highest form of intelligence is to learn to love our spouse and win their love. Father once said that it was easier to be a president of a nation than to be a husband. Dr. Hendricks encouraged the candidates to center on God, the Divine Principle and how their spouse feels. Do not focus on your own feelings.
After Dr. Hendricks' talk, everyone gathered in discussion groups and they had an opportunity to share their feelings on the topic: "What the Blessing means to me." Some people, in sharing their feelings, were so moved that they poured their hearts out in tears.
The last session was "Practical Advice" with Peter Ross, Blessing `95's General Affairs Director. He pointed out the practical details in preparing for the Blessing.
The workshop ended with a prayer and three cheers of "Mansei." The workshop was so high-spirited that many people didn't want to leave, but instead congregated in the lobby, showing their fiance's photos and just talking.
We wish all the best and Heaven's blessing to all of you attending Blessing `95!
10 Commandments of the Family
1. Divine Principle Study
2. Go the Unification way-no cultural and racial barriers
3. Make honest effort
4. Love spouse and others
5. Have commitment to the end
6. Husband and wife should understand and help each other
7. Be diligent (in making a good family)
8. Blessed couples should be unselfish and lead a public life
9. Be kind
10. Be loyal to the end
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