Holy Blessing of 2,075 Couples in Madison Square Garden
JULY 1, 1982
We celebrate 37 years since a large percentage of American Unificationists participated in a record-setting Marriage Blessing of 2,075 Couples officiated by True Parents at Madison Square Garden. This number eclipsed the previous record of 1,800 couples wed by True Parents in 1975, which the Guinness World Records reference book recorded as the largest mass wedding in history. Engagement ceremonies of 705 couples in May 1979, 843 couples in December 1980 and 653 couples in June 1982 led up to the ceremony. More than 60 percent of the couples were either interracial or cross-cultural. With this event, the U.S. church demographics went from primarily single people to mostly married people virtually overnight. More this week in history, June 28 – July 3:
- The US Marriage Blessing Movement begins (June 27, 2015)
- True Mother writes a letter to Judge Gerard Goettel (June 28, 1982)
- The Washington Declaration is made (June 29, 2003)
- The Declaration of God’s Eternal Blessing is proclaimed (July 1, 1991)
- Dedication Ceremony of the Education Center for Ideal Families and World Peace (July 1, 1998)
- True Father holds a 23.5-hour Hoon Dok Hwe (July 1, 2010)
- 1,440,000 second generation Christian youth and world religious youth receive the Holy Marriage Blessing (July 3, 2002)
U.S. Marriage Blessing Movement Begins
June 27, 2015
The Unification movement in the United States began a nationwide Marriage Blessing Movement on June 27, 2015. It was initiated as a way to extend the grace of the Blessing to more couples and families throughout the nation, multiply the numbers of Blessed Central Families nationwide, and support each Blessed Central Family in reaching the goal of blessing 430 couples. True Mother authorized Blessing Ceremonies to be held in communities across the U.S. once every three to four months on a predetermined date, to be presided over by approved Blessing officiators representing True Parents. An international Blessing Ceremony will still be held at Foundation Day each year, in which the U.S. will take part. The first nationwide Blessing was held on June 27, 2015, followed by a second on October 3.
True Mother’s Letter to Judge Gerard Goettel
June 28, 1982
On May 18, 1982, a jury for the Southern District of New York returned a guilty verdict against True Father for filing false tax returns from 1973 to 1975. Groups and individuals representing more than 120 million Americans later filed briefs in support of True Father’s appeal. However, the immediate concern was the penalty that the trial judge, Gerard Goettel, would impose. On June 28, several weeks prior to his decision, True Mother wrote the judge, petitioning him to pray and be guided by God in his deliberations. She wrote: “I believe that I have had the most blessed life of any woman who has ever lived in being married to my husband. He has totally dedicated his life to the service of God and humanity. … From the time I was a young girl, I prayed fervently to live a pious life and to marry a pious man. God listened to every one of my prayers and blessed me more abundantly than I could have ever imagined.” She noted that she had just given birth to their thirteenth child and that the trial proceedings were very difficult, but she “chose to sit by my husband’s side every day.” She emphasized that True Father “continued to inspire us with messages of forgiveness and compassion … [he] would not allow any of us to harbor any hostility towards the government, the prosecutors or any of the witnesses.” She asked the judge to be “compassionate and lenient.”
On July 17, 1982, the court sentenced True Father to 18 months in prison and a $25,000 fine plus costs. The only positive outcome was Judge Goettel’s “binding recommendation” against deportation. The government’s lawyers were eager to deport True Father and pressed Judge Goettel not to issue an opinion on the matter. However, in this instance Judge Goettel did not see things the government’s way. His position was that deportation, in addition to the eighteen-month jail sentence that he himself had imposed, represented “excessive punishment.” The decision, though technically a recommendation, was binding on the Justice Department and could not be appealed.
June 29, 2003
The Washington Declaration was the second in a series of three declarations, the others being the Jerusalem Declaration (May 18, 2003) and the Seoul Declaration (August 15, 2003), which were offered on the foundation of the First, Second and Third Israels. Each of the declarations focused on interreligious reconciliation and peace. Together they led to True Parents’ “Declaration Ceremony for the Beginning of the Nation of the Fourth Israel” on August 20, 2003.
Declaration Day of God’s Eternal Blessing
July 1, 1991
True Father proclaimed the Declaration Day of God’s Eternal Blessing (Chil Il Jeol) at a special ceremony at True Parents’ residence in Seoul’s Hannam-dong neighborhood. On that day, True Father began a new era in which blessed families, as tribal messiahs, inherited True Parents’ realm of victory. At the ceremony True Father prayed, “I have designated this day, the first day of July, to be the one on which we can apply and declare ourselves to be tribal messiahs across the world.” He said that Unificationist families no longer belong to any nationality but are members of the Royal Family. He advised Unificationists to create a new spiritual attitude and train themselves to overcome their fallen nature in working with their hometown communities.
Dedication Ceremony of the Education Center for Ideal Families and World Peace
July 1, 1998
On July 1, 1998, beginning at 10 a.m., a dedication ceremony was held in Jardim, Brazil, for the Education Center for Ideal Families and World Peace. Around 3,000 people, well-known figures in Brazil and leaders from a variety of backgrounds in Jardim, came to the event. True Father said, “The goal of the Jardim education center is to raise people who do not live for their own individual benefit but instead live for the country, the world and God as families and to raise people who live for the world, even though it means sacrificing one’s clan or nation.” After the dedication, FFWPU members from across the globe began to attend the Jardim forty-day workshops in this center to inherit True Parents’ heart and traditions. (Materials provided by the FFWPU History Compilation Committee.)
True Father Holds 23.5-Hour Hoon Dok Hwe
July 1, 2010
True Father, at age 90, hosted a historic Hoon Dok Hwe that lasted twenty-three and a half hours, speaking on the topic of “God Is the Owner and Victor” to Japanese women participating in a forty-day workshop for “world ocean leaders” at Blue Sea Garden in Yeosu, Korea.
Holy Blessing of 1,440,000 Second Generation Christian Youth and World Religious Youth
July 3, 2002
True Parents officiated at a series of Interfaith Marriage Blessings centered on the American Clergy Leadership Conference (est. 2000) and the ACLC’s “We Will Stand in Oneness” 50-state speaking tour (2001). The first of these was an Interfaith Marriage Blessing of sixty clergy couples presided over by True Parents in the Cotillion Room of the Hilton Hotel in New York City on May 27, 2001, which included, most prominently, Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo. The second was a blessing of 144,000 clergy couples, 700 of whom gathered as representative couples at the Sheraton National Hotel in Arlington, Virginia, on April 27, 2002. The third was the Holy Blessing of 1,440,000 Second Generation Christian Youth and World Religious Youth on July 3, 2002. Seven hundred couples jammed the representative venue at the Sheraton National Hotel. A U.S. congressman offered a congratulatory address. World religious representatives, including a Native American chief, offered prayers. This time, the Nation of Islam brought 40 couples, the Sikhs 20 and the Hindus 20 in addition to other groups that “brought their lineages before heaven.”
This Week in History briefly lists significant events in the history of the Unification Church, the lives of the Founders, and world events that are momentous to Unificationists. Most items are marked according to the solar calendar. Items marked “H.C.” correspond to the Cheon-gi or Heavenly Calendar, which is based on the lunar calendar. This installment covers the week of June 27 to July 3.
Adapted from “A Rally for Religious Freedom – this week in history, June 25 – July 1” and “A Proclamation of Peace – This week in history, July 2-8” at familyfed.org.