Unification News for February 1999

Chicago Family Church Joins Blessing '99

Hiromi Umino and Richard Lemont
Chicago, IL

The Chicago Family Church conducted a Blessing Ceremony through satellite video at 5:00 p.m. February 7, 1999. 14 newly matched couples and 3 married couples attended our blessing ceremony at Ashland Church. We had over 100 family members, brides & bridegrooms' families and friends, and our witnessing guests as an enthusiastic audience.

The program began with welcoming remarks by Rev. Bruce Sutchar and an opening prayer by Rev. A.I. Dunlap, pastor of Mt. Olive AME Church. All the brides & bridegrooms were standing in lines, some were together with their spouses and some were holding pictures of their spouses

Rev. Sutchar explained about the Holy Wine and Holy Water, and then eight attendants wearing white robes entered and an officiator couple, Rev. & Mrs. Reiner Vincenz, entered. The officiators gave Holy Wine to each couple and we watched a video of Blessing Ceremony held in Korea the night before.

When True Parents sprinkled Holy Water in the video, the officiators sprinkled Holy Water on each couple and when True Parents asked for the Affirmation of Vows, the officiators asked for the affirmation of vows of the brides & bridegrooms and they shouted "Yes"!

Then we joined True Fathers' prayer and proclamation of this blessing. 2nd Generation children presented flowers to the officiators and we finished the ceremony with 3 cheers of "MANSEI"! After the ceremony the brides & bridegrooms remained in the sanctuary and they held the indemnity stick ceremony, too.

The blessing ceremony was very beautiful and the spirit was very high. All brides & bridegroom were so happy and the audience was also inspired very much. Our witnessing guests were so excited and said that they want to apply for the next blessing.

All the Chicago family members worked together to prepare well organizing the program and decorating the sanctuary etc. and Rev. Jack Toren used our new sign making machine to prepare a professional quality banner.

After the ceremony we had a banquet in our dining room. The room was decorated beautifully and the dinner, prepared by Mrs. Song Im Chae Kim, Mrs. Kum Ae Jares , Mrs. Kathleen Sometani and the Kodan sisters, was delicious. We cut the celebration cake and some members presented songs to brides & bridegrooms. Newly blessed members enjoyed the dinner and entertainment, talking with their friends and taking pictures.

One newly blessed member said, "I felt sad before the ceremony because I couldn't go to Korea. But now I'm very happy because all my families and friends are here and celebrate my blessing."

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