Articles from the October 1997 Unification News


Museum Commemorates MSG Blessing

by Jonathan and Debby Gullery-NYC

Well, clearly marriage is the hot topic of 1997. As the providence goes, so goes the rest of the world-or at least NY!

Case in point, the Museum of the City of New York decided to do an exhibition chronicling the history of marriage in New York City. And what would a display on marriage in New York be without a little something on one of the most exciting marriages ever to take place-ours!-at Madison Square Garden in 1892.

The curator of the museum’s costume collection Phyliss Magidson, contacted headquarters in early spring, looking for a couple who would donate their wedding dress to the museum’s permanent collection. Peter Ross, then director of Public Affairs, asked us whether we would consider this. At first we were a little reluctant, having some vague idea that we would leave the dress to our children. We remembered, however, how Father had often talked about our things being in museums and we realized what a great honor it was. "The legacy of your family should be museum pieces for the world. The world in which you live centering upon yourself is not your treasure. Your treasure is only what you received in the public dimension."

Taking the dress out of its humble cardboard box in the back of the storage closet was a lot of fun-our daughter tried it on of course, and the boys all enjoyed goofing around as we went through all the keepsakes we had stored from the Blessing. It was a wonderful opportunity to share our experiences and stories with our children.

Phyliss was fascinated with our blessing. At first we thought her interest was in just acquiring the dress, but as the months passed between our donation and the installation and opening of the exhibition itself, we struck up quite a friendship. She really wanted to know about our matching, our feelings in the blessing, and our thoughts about family life. Everything struck her as being so sensible! I had expected that her approach to us would have been very academic.

At some point I mentioned that we had a video of our blessing that followed several couples through the matching and blessing process, along with footage of the wedding dresses being made. She was so excited! She hoped that somehow funding would be available to provide for a video in the exhibition itself. I gave her the video of the 1982 event and she became even more enthusiastic. This led to another person being genuinely interested in the event. Phyliss passed our video on to when she was commissioned to produce the exhibition’s own video which followed four couples through their own weddings in New York. She in turn was completely enthusiastic, and asked so many deep questions. In our years of dealing with the public and the press, we have become so used to pointed questions, to being looked at as sincere but a little odd! At each stage of inclusion in the exhibition, however, they would call us and say "We would like to say this with your dress-this with your program-this with your photo-is that correct? Is that OK" etc., so we felt that we had complete control over everything they wanted to use. They were so careful to respect our own wishes and feelings, while also portraying an accurate historical account of the event.

When "New York Gets Married: Dressing for a Special Day, 1765–1997" opened on May 21, 1997, our jaws dropped. There, in the video were True Parents, arms outstretched, praying over our 2,000 couples, and then three manseis. In all, some five minutes of footage from our video was used, and we stood transfixed, along with everyone else watching! We could only imagine how many people watched that video from the time the exhibition opened until it closed on September 21. We felt that this really was True Parents symbolically blessing all of New York, and all who came and stood there, in some way joining in our blessing of 15 years before.

Following is the description of the dress, the booklet displayed, our wedding photograph, and other items we gave them, as they appeared in the exhibition catalog.

1. A. Wedding Dress, 1982

White synthetic peau de soie / mechanical lace; full length, wide rounded neckline, raised front waistline descending to natural c.b.; contrasting lace bishop set-in sleeves, deep 5" cuff with 6 mother-of-pearl doublet buttons / loops. c.b. zipper; neckline emphasized by applying mechanical point de Venice band.

B. Veil

Headband of satin and organza lilacs holding doubled layer of nylon net.

Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Jonathan Gullery

Worn by Debby Dicenso Gullery as one of 2,075 brides married at the Unification Church Holy Wedding held at Madison Square Garden on July 1, 1982

"We feel-personally and as Unificationists-that a healthy marriage and family are the cornerstone of a good society. Getting married at Madison Square Garden, along with all those other couples, was a larger statement of that to the world. "We were matched by Reverend Moon about a year and a half before the ceremony. It was done very personally really; its not like he just takes forty people and makes twenty couples of them. He has a great deal of spiritual insight. If you saw some of the couples that were married with us, you'd be surprised at how well-suited they seem. Even though they might be black and white or German and Jewish, for example, somehow, they're very similar."

2. (Caption for picture)

"All the brides wore the same dress, made from a Simplicity pattern chosen by Reverend and Mrs. Moon. A lot of the girls made their own dresses. If they wanted to put a little something on it to personalize it, they could."

3. Ribbon Cockade, red satin ribbon double florette applied with double band of silver mylar, streamers screened in white letters to read: World Peace Through Ideal Families/Unification Church Holy Wedding Madison Square Garden July 1, 1982

4. Color xerox of Simplicity Pattern, Brochure.

As we look back at this experience with the museum, and look forward to the blessing in November, we are reminded that really it was not us, but Father and Mother who were represented there in that museum in New York, it is their legacy that we stand on, and it is our honor once again to have had our lives blessed by them!

Download entire book in ZIP format
Table of Contents
Copyright Information