National Marriage Blessing is Celebrated Across the United States
By FFWPU USA: On Saturday, October 3, 2015, over 200 people celebrated the National Marriage Blessing in churches and congregations all around America as dozens of couples rededicated their marriages before God and True Parents or began their journey in marriage as Blessed couples.
A main celebration was held at the International Peace Education Center in Las Vegas, with other Blessing ceremonies taking place in other locations across America, including New Jersey; Lakeland, Florida; Seattle, Washington; and Los Angeles, where the event coincided with Family Street Festival organized by several local Christian pastors. On Sunday, October 4, congregations in Yonkers, New York; Lakeland, Florida; Fairfax, Virginia; and Detroit, Michigan, held Blessing Ceremonies.
Here are a few highlights among the national celebrations. Stay tuned to hear more about these special Marriage Blessing ceremonies in the FFWPU USA daily newsletter and weekly update video.
In Las Vegas, 36 couples, including three newlyweds, participated in a marriage re-dedication Blessing ceremony at the International Peace Education Center with hundreds of friends, relatives and community members in attendance. Participants from around the country included four former members of Congress and their spouses, as well as pastors and bishops from various Christian denominations. The combination of civic and religious leaders created an exciting dynamic during this universal ceremony for all faiths. All resonated with the theme of reclaiming marriage in God’s image.
Dr. and Mrs. Ki Hoon Kim officiated the program. In preparation for the Blessing Ceremony, a presentation was given on the meaning of the Holy Wine Ceremony and Marriage Blessing, after which the Holy Wine was administered. Prayers and testimonies were offered by American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) pastors before the couples finally filed down the sweeping marble stairs of the Peace Education Center for the ceremony. The couples and guests were delighted by the program, which included musical presentations by Suziliane MacDonald, opening remarks by Pastor Mark Abernathy, an Opening Prayer by Rev. Jesse Edwards, a Blessing Address by Rev. Andrew Compton, a Holy Water Ceremony, the Recitation of the Blessing Vows, a Blessing Prayer by FFWPU North American Continental Chair Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, and the Exchange of Rings.
The Blessing was followed by a gala luncheon on the second floor of the International Peace Education Center. During the luncheon all the civic leaders and many of the religious leaders were able to share their impressions of the Blessing program. Many were so inspired by the day that they held Blessing Ceremonies in their own churches. Rev. Keith Allen and First Lady Paulette Allen of Baltimore participated in the Las Vegas program, and flew home Saturday evening in order to hold a Marriage Blessing with their Rehoboth Church of God in Christ Jesus Apostolic congregation. Others plan to hold Blessing events at a later date.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
One couple in Sioux Falls, South Dakota received the Holy Marriage Blessing. Rev. Dennis and Mayuri Hoffman officiated the ceremony. Dennis Hoffman offered the opening prayer, and there was entertainment by Mayuri Hoffman. They read about the meaning of the Holy Marriage Blessing and the Holy Wine Ceremony and read their vows. The occasion was celebrated with entertainment and cake.
On October 3, 2015, in observance of the day of the Holy Marriage Blessing, the Chicago Blessed Family Department held a celebration for all Blessed couples. Over 70 people attended. Mrs. Motoko Sugiyama shared a beautiful testimony about her life with True Parents. Sadako Maeda also shared about the experience she had with her husband before he ascended to the spirit world and the experience she continues to have with him. Couples share before and after photos of themselves, which was quite entertaining. They closed the ceremony with a group dance.