- Thursday, August 23, 2018

In recognition of its Founders’ teaching that marriage and family are at the core of vibrant societies, the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, steadfastly has encouraged religious wedding ceremonies and marriage rededication events.

Since the passing of Rev. Sun Myung Moon in 2012, his wife, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon has accelerated marriage ceremonies among clergy of all backgrounds. These events may appear to be merely ceremonial, but they underscore the Founders’ deeply held conviction that salvation for all persons is finally achieved through couples harmonizing with each other over a lifetime and through a shared Divine Encounter.

The Grand Ballroom of the New Yorker Hotel, where Rev. Moon and Mrs. Moon spoke many times, was the setting for a landmark Marriage Blessing officiated and conducted by the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) on Saturday, August 18, 2018.

Faith leaders from 10 states participated, and congregants from multiple churches in the New York metro area joined in a joyful celebration uplifting marriage and family. Blessed concelebrant clergy gave out holy wine and holy water, bringing alive True Parents’ dream of Christianity extending God’s lineage to humanity. More than 430 married couples received the Marriage Blessing, including couples who had received holy wine at their local church.

“The love of Jesus has no boundaries and it is with that understanding we believe God loves all beyond race, religion or national background. With that heart we have called upon esteemed leaders of important faith communities to share with us a prayerful display of unity. Water is a symbol of purity and life. Now, the faith leaders will come forward and prayerfully pour the water from their vases into a common vessel with the prayer that ‘All May Be One.’”

With these words Archbishop George Augustus Stallings Jr., National Co-Chairman of ACLC and Master of Ceremonies introduced an Interfaith Ceremony of Unity. Seven representatives of the Abrahamic faiths poured water into the common vessel, symbolizing the coming together of faith communities. Imam Dawud Assad (Islam), Rabbi Moise Abraham (Orthodox Judaism), Iman Souleiman Konate Masji Al-Aqsa, Father Lawrence Ventline (Roman Catholic), Rev. Rene Bellenas (Protestant), and Dr. Tanya Edwards (Pentecostal Family Church) were among those participating in a fitting opening to a Marriage Blessing celebrating oneness in God’s love.

Imam Dawud Assad shared, “My wife and I were deeply moved by True Mother and the sacrifices she makes to bring the Marriage Blessing to all religions. As a Muslim, I went to the Middle East many times with ACLC. True Parents come from a Christian heritage, but they have become the loving parents of all faiths as their family. As the founder of the United States Association of Mosques, I want to say how deeply moved I am for the love that True Parents show for the family and for all faiths, especially Islam.”

The Marriage-Blessing movement has been a key emphasis of the ACLC in all 50 states. Moreover, working closely with the ACLC, the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP) has held up-tempo rallies under the banner of Revival Starts with Me” (RSWM) in several cities. In August 2017, the Los Angeles chapter of CARP went to the City of Refuge Church, a local Christian megachurch under the guidance of Bishop Noel Jones, to perform the dance to “Mujogeon,” a Korean word that means “Unconditionally.”

On April 7, 2018, 300 people attended the second rally at the Los Angeles Family Church with the goal of making CARP’s vision a reality.

Later that month in New York, UPF held the Together for Peace: World Youth Culture and Music Festival in support of youth empowerment and educating future global leaders. That event was co-sponsored by Youth and Students for Peace (YSP) and Sun International Peace Federation, with support from the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Unification Theological Seminary. The event featured musical and cultural performances and a panel discussion on “Elements for Peace,” which covered family as the cornerstone for world peace; service; interfaith harmony and cooperation; role of women in establishing world peace; true character leadership; and good governance.

This article is drawn from materials of the Family Federation for World Peace. For more information, please visit Familyfed.org.

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