Unification News for May 1997

Couples Rededicate Their Marriages in S. California

by Godwin D'Silva-Los Angeles, CA

The National Parents' Day Association of South Gate sponsored a Marriage Rededication Ceremony in South Gate on Friday, Apr. 4.

The purpose of this rededication was to show our community that marriage is a wonderful institution and to encourage the younger generation to consider it seriously.

Eighteen married couples, many of them past Parents of the Year in South Gate, participated in a unique and wonderful ceremony this past Saturday at the First Christian Church, located on Firestone Boulevard.

The chapel was beautifully decorated by Susan Janer, a member of the Parents' Day Association and coordinator of the event.

The Ecumenical Religious Service began with the Brides momentarily leaving their husbands to put on their beautiful veils and re-enter the Chapel to strains of the Bridal March. The Brides were preceded by three beautiful flower girls, who sprinkled rose petals as they entered the sanctuary. The wives then entered one by one, each with a bouquet of flowers. They proceeded down the aisle to sit next to their waiting husbands.

Chief of Police Ron George was invited to the altar to open with an invocation, after which the mayor of South Gate, Bill Martinez, spoke to the congregation. "South Gate needs dedicated parents like you," said the mayor. "With good parents come good families and therefore good communities." The mayor added that he was truly happy to see so many parents wanting to rededicate their marriage and commitment to each other.

The master of ceremonies (myself) then proceeded to explain the order of the rededication service. Mr. Ray Martin from the True Family Values Ministry then gave a presentation entitled "God's Plan for Conjugal Love." Mr. Martin explained that God needs to be at the center of each family. With God as the center, couples will be more equipped to handle problems which are part of any marriage.

Mr. Martin then acknowledged that the couples gathered were already quite well equipped to handle many problems because many of them have been married for several years, ranging from 5 years to 39. The couple with the longest time together were Marie and Glenn Durflinger. They are from the First Christian Church and are also founding members of the South Gate Optimist Club.

The service then continued with the sharing of the wine of true love. The wine symbolically represented the Blood of Christ.

Each couple then participated in the ceremony of repentance. Rev. Marvin Booth from the International Council of Community Churches opened the ceremony of repentance with a prayer. The couples then lined up, wives on one side and the husbands on the other. They approached the altar area, where a beautiful arch of flowers was set up. The ceremony required that each couples approach the "Arch of Peace," face each other, bow, unite in embrace and walk under the arch.

The Officiators of the ceremony, Rev. Joswick and his wife Mayumi, then sprinkled holy water upon these couples emerging hand in hand. The ceremony was accompanied by beautiful music played by pianist John Holmes.

Congratulatory remarks were made by several dignitaries. Mr. Frank Whitwright, representative and advisor to the Indian Commission, recited a beautiful poem. Chief of Police Ron George advised the congregation to unite and work together, since there are forces out there too strong sometimes for young couples to face. "Therefore, we couples who have been married for so long have the responsibility to encourage the younger generation to make it," he added.

The service then concluded with cheers of congratulations, and everyone then adjourned to the fellowship hall for the celebration dinner.

The celebration dinner was wonderful, with parents and their families providing the entertainment. After everyone had their fill of song and food, the newly rededicated couples gathered around the beautifully decorated cake. A song in unison followed, with each couples taking a turn in cutting the cake.

Concluding remarks and benediction were given by Rev. Inhoi Lee. For many, the ceremony will be a memorable event. The National Parents' Day Association plans to hold these rededication ceremonies every month in the City of South Gate. "This ceremony is available for all married couples," said Susan Janer, the coordinator of the event.

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