Unification News for May 1997

Albany Area True Family Festivals

by Therese Stewart-Albany, NY

The first True Family Festival in the Albany area was held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Farley Jones in East Greenbush, NY on March 1st. Participants were a Chinese couple who the Ang and Jones families have known for several years. A second True Family Festival was held on March 15th at the Desmond Hotel in Albany. Farley and Betsy Jones officiated at this event. Participants were three local couples, one Asian, one Black Muslim and one Caucasian Catholic. Rev. Sebastian Huemer, City Leader, served as Master of Ceremonies for both ceremonies. The pre-Blessings included sharing the Holy Wine, pronouncing of vows, sprinkling with Holy Water and appropriate inspirational music. The ceremony at the Desmond also included a brief meditation of repentance given by Mrs. Gillian Corcoran, and the symbolic chastening ritual. The meeting room at the Hotel was simply but tastefully decorated with an arch adorned with garlands and flowers serving as a background for the ceremony. Mrs. Mereth Huemer prepared corsages for the officiators and participants and bouquets for the officiators. A buffet luncheon was served after the pre-Blessing. Sebastian Huemer, Robert Hall and Mark Beaudoin provided music and entertainment.

A number of events support the True Family Festival program. There is a monthly international dinner, an ecumenical prayer breakfast, and other events such as a marriage enrichment seminar. The first of these events was held on February 9th and began with a talk on "the Blessing of Love" by Dr. Andrew Wilson and a video of the 1995 Blessing. It culminated in a Chinese dinner to celebrate the Chinese New Year. In subsequent gatherings Mr. Farley Jones presented a talk on the same topic and Mrs. Betsy Jones showed a video of the first pre-Blessing and extended an invitation to guests to participate. They were invited to become a Couple of Peace and to "Come and celebrate True Love as the cornerstone of a Peaceful World." Members sent out letters inviting contacts to the international dinners and also announcing other events in which they might be interested such as Gillian Corcoran's presentation on "The Spiritual Causes of Illness" on April 3rd. Mrs. Atsuko Denn assisted by her mother, prepared a dinner of Japanese cuisine for the April 6th gathering at the Jones' home.

The Joneses have written to fourteen retirement homes in the area offering to conduct a marriage renewal ceremony on site for couples who would be interested. Betsy Jones and Atsuko Denn volunteered their services for a Peace Walk in Albany, helping to prepare lunch for the marchers. Members are also supporting the True Family Festival effort through visiting other Churches and offering their services when possible.

At a Tribal Messiah meeting several months ago, Albany members set a collective goal of 1500 couples from the Albany area, instead of emphasizing the 160 couples per person. In this way we hope to help True Parents and brothers and sisters around the globe to make Blessing '97 a reality.

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