On Saturday, June 27, couples across the United States celebrated their existing marriage or dedicated their new relationship at the Holy Marriage Blessing Ceremony. Churches and event halls were decorated as friends and family rejoiced with the couples at the beginning of their Marriage Blessing journey. Enjoy these unique and beautiful Marriage Blessing photos and stories from around the nation!
These were the first Marriage Blessing Ceremonies to take place on the local level with the officiating couple supported by True Mother and ordained by FFWPU-USA. These ceremonies were also the first of many that will occur every four months across the United States. The next momentous nationwide celebration will take place on October 3, 2015. Married couples are welcome to join the empowering community of blessed couples!
Clifton, New Jersey
The Clifton Family Church and Elizabeth Family Church, two large Unificationist communities in New Jersey, joined together to celebrate the Holy Marriage Blessing Ceremony of one local couple. Around 80 well-wishers came to the Clifton church to celebrate the Marriage Blessing and to welcome the couple to the community of Unificationist families.
The mistress of ceremonies, Andria Rogers Quesada, welcomed the guests, including the family members and several friends of the couple. Many of them never had been to a Unification church before.
The beautiful ceremony started with the choir leading the “Cheon Il Guk Anthem” and “Song of the Banquet,” followed by a procession of the attendees, the officiators and the couple. Miss Abigail Yashiro read beautiful passages about the marriage and Marriage Blessing from the Holy Bible and Cheon Seong Gyeong.
The officiating couple, Pastor Manoj Jacob and Rani Jacob, sprinkled holy water over the couple and led them through the Marriage Blessing Ceremony before proclaiming the Marriage Blessing. A heavenly spirit prevailed throughout the ceremony.
Masaaki Saito, a talented young Unificationist, performed Richard Rodgers’ “My Romance” on guitar to congratulate the couple, and Mrs. Olga Tobin gave an eloquent congratulatory speech. The ceremony concluded with three cheers of Eog Mansei led by Rev. Hitoshi Onishi.
The ceremony was followed by a celebration banquet and dance in the well decorated fellowship hall of the Clifton Family Church. The couple expressed their gratitude for the amazing support they have received since joining the community.
The ceremony kindled a new fire of excitement toward witnessing and tribal messiahship. Several local Unificationists expressed their gratitude to True Parents for opening up new avenues to bring the Blessing to everyone. The New Jersey Unificationist community is looking forward to the next Holy Marriage Blessing Ceremony.
Tarrytown, New York
Over 60 guests gathered to witness the Marriage Blessing of Alberto and Andrea Urrutia at the beautifully decorated Belvedere estate in Tarrytown, New York.
The Bride’s daughter Alma reflected, “I’m so happy my mom made this decision. I’m really proud of them and I feel like I want to do this too.”
“This was awesome and stupendous. I really felt the presence of the Lord and I could feel that True Father was smiling at us from beyond. You could feel that he was pleased. It felt like it was set in heaven and the lights looked like they were angels witnessing the event.” – Rev. Dr. Gilda Price
“I am overjoyed. Today is the pinnacle of what I envisioned when I first met the couple. When I first met Andria (the bride), she said, ‘I know I’ll never get my husband to do this, but I hope my kids someday receive the Marriage Blessing.’ And now she and her husband are receiving the Marriage Blessing.” – Julia Okamoto
Rev. Mark Hernandez was the master of ceremonies for the Marriage Blessing of five couples in Dallas, Texas. The ceremony was beautiful, flowers were everywhere, and the couples were radiant. The event began with a song sung by a local Unificationist-born young adult named Maya Jackson and accompanied by Mrs. Yoshiko Halsey. Dr. John Kasongo gave welcoming remarks, followed by Dr. Linda Holliday, who gave the invocation. A group of local Unificationists sang a beautiful arrangement of “Song of the Banquet.” Rev. Hernandez read True Father’s words on marriage from the Cheon Seong Gyeong.
The officiators, Rev. John and Fusae Jackson, entered the room led by three blessed couples. The officiators purified the couples with holy water, read aloud the Marriage Blessing vows, led the ring ceremony, and sealed the Marriage Blessing with a prayer. At the end of the ceremony the officiators asked those in attendance to rise and bow to True Parents.
Channel 8, a local TV station, covered the event, with its report airing on the 10 p.m. news. The report stated that a local branch of Rev. Moon’s church had conducted a Holy Marriage Blessing Ceremony. There was no negativity in the report, and only good things were mentioned.
The Unificationists in the audience felt as though Heavenly Parent and True Parents were there. The reception following the ceremony lasted for hours, because the spirit was so high and no one wanted to go home!
It was very clear that the Marriage Blessing on June 27th was made possible not by us but by True Parents! Because of the sacrifice and the grace of True Parents all of this could happen.
Thank you, Heavenly Parent and True Parents! Without your love and grace we could not have set this victory before heaven, earth and all humankind!
Los Angeles, California
The Los Angeles community gathered to celebrate the Holy Marriage Blessing with couples from all backgrounds and cultures. It was a joyful celebration with food and dancing.
In Los Angeles, a Holy Marriage Blessing Ceremony was held in the Mt. Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church. The ceremony was jointly organized by the Los Angeles Family Church and Rev. Grover Durham, a member of ACLC and president of the LAPD Clergy Council for South West LA. The ceremony was officiated by LA Family Church Pastors George and Christina Kazakos. Several ACLC Clergy couples participate in the Marriage Blessing Ceremony. These couples were uplifted by the sprit generated by the ceremony and are excited to help organize the next Marriage Blessing Ceremony.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
The Holy Marriage Blessing Ceremony of Laura Boitano and James Abendroth was held in the home of former New Mexico State Senator Mark Boitano and his wife, Cory Boitano.
Approximately eighty family and friends were present to mark the occasion of the young couple exchanging vows of their Unification faith.
Pastor Jesse Dompreh, a member of the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) and the former pastor of the Powerhouse Fellowship Church, was the master of ceremonies. New Mexico FFWPU Pastors Rickey and Janis Schnorr served as officiators of the Marriage Blessing Ceremony.
Pastor Dompreh explained about the meaning of the Holy Marriage Blessing Ceremony. He said, “This ceremony is about creating God’s Kingdom of Heaven on Earth through creating ideal families.”
Just when the couple were confirming the Blessing vows, a heavy downpour began. As the wedding was being held under tents, the ceremony continued. When the electricity shorted out, cutting power to the microphone and lights, the ceremony continued, with everyone crowding closer to the podium. The Weather Service later reported that the one square mile area where the ceremony was held received a record amount of rainfall for New Mexico of 1.17 inches in less than an hour. This is amazing when the total annual rainfall for New Mexico is nine inches!
When the rain subsided, a dinner reception was held in the backyard that was a celebration of music and dancing. Everyone joined together on the dance floor to share in the joy of the occasion.
The whole Albuquerque Family Church came together to make this Blessing Ceremony a success. Catering, photography, decorations, sound, flowers, ceremony music, logistics, tents, DJ and music, and happiness were contributed by the Arakis, Boitanos, Bowens, Caimis. Domprehs, Garratts, Heitzingers, Jagers, Hernandezes, Moores, Rodriquezes, Schneiders, Schnorrs, Stevenses, and VanDerGeests.