On Sunday, July 29th, the ACLC of Los Angeles held an Interfaith Blessing and Celebration of Marriage and Family in the Festival Hall of the Old World Village in Huntington Beach, CA. An array of participants from the interfaith community expressed prayers and remarks on the family as God’s essential foundation for growth, peace and security in our community and our world.
Bishop Dr. Angel Maria Velandia who formerly served as Bishop of the Old Catholic Confederation of California and currently is pastor of Misión Cristo Rey opened the assembly with a heartfelt prayer in English. His wife, Mrs. Cecilia Velandia followed with an equally heartfelt prayer in Spanish. Bishop Phil Baugh and Elaine Baugh representing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints humbly shared insights on strengthening the family that they have gained through raising eight successful and happy children and forty thriving grandchildren.
Mrs. Janet Garrick, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Yesterday I attended a lovely event at the Old World Village in Huntington Beach honoring couples and ordaining their marriages. The ordaining ceremony by Drs. Nicholas and Eva Benson was meaningful, sacred, and special. The emphasis they placed on marriage and the family unit was inspiring and comforting.
Speakers from several different faith communities shared their experiences
and wisdom. Their sincerity and their success with “raising families unto
God” gave me hope for the country. We so desperately need to support one
another as we try to save our country from the influences of evil all around us.
The music from both Gregg de Castro and the LA Family Church Choir brought
tears to my eyes. The messages in the lyrics were so full of love and hope.
My guests were surprised to be awarded a “Recognition of Parent” certificate
from Mayor Posey (their mayor). It will hold a special place on their wall along
with other photos of their large family.
The hosts and hostesses were welcoming and friendly. The surprise cake
and fruit bowl were very appreciated and absolutely delicious. Every
effort was made by all involved to make this a remarkable experience for all
I was happy to be a part of such a meaningful event.
Next, Gregg de Castro sang a song he wrote about the beauty of family entitled “Kolokea” while his wife, Jene’a gracefully interpreted the song through a traditional Polynesian dance. Gregg and Jene’a have been happily married for 39 years and are extremely grateful for their three children. Together they founded Kamakani Komohana, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the Polynesian culture through song and dance.
Representing the Islamic Education Center of Orange Co., Dr. Omid Khodai clearly expressed from his heart that no matter how much you pray and express the word of God, if you don’t live it, your children will see the truth of your actions. Sydelle Enyeart then read a beautiful letter entitled “Traditions in the Jewish Family” on behalf of Elliot and Keri Semmelman from Temple Beth David. Following this, The Venerable Thich An Minh from Chua Dieu Ngu Buddist Temple, utilized a Tibetan chime to lead us in brief meditation and explain about the necessity of love tempered with self-discipline for peace in the family.
Rev. Michael Dickerson, ACLC Executive Director, San Diego
I was deeply moved and inspired by the Interfaith Family Celebration and Holy Blessing event in Huntington Beach, Ca. on Sunday, July 29th. I felt that it was a multi-layered event. It reminded me of the Interreligious Association of Peace and Development Inauguration that was held in Seoul recently. It was truly amazing to see religious leaders and government officials coming together in one accord celebrating God and Family.
The Holy Blessing was received in a solemn and powerful ceremony that truly embraced everyone in attendance. We had spirit filled presentations based on strengthening the family,
building the family, and peace in the family. Dr. Nicholas Benson and his wife, Dr. Eva Benson blessed everyone and the Honorable Mike Posey, Mayor of Huntington Beach, presented the certificates for Parents’ Day to six couples.
I truly felt God’s presence.
ACLC Co-Chair and Senior Pastor of the First Summit Evangelical Church, Dr. Nicholas Benson and his wife, Dr. Eva Benson, through prayer and words of healing called on the Holy Spirit and officiated an anointing and blessing of marriage and family while Rev. George Kazakos from the LA Family church did a superb job as moderator and explained the significance of the Blessing. Following this John Culpepper, from Holy St. Andrews MBC, along with some members of the LA Family Church Choir performed a beautiful rendition of “This is Where Peace Begins”.
In conclusion, the Honorable Mike Posey, Mayor of Huntington Beach, presented “Parent of the Year” certificates to six couples. Bishop Gale Oliver from the Greater Light Family Church closed us out with a prayer for our families, our community and our nation and everyone joined in the soft, gentle lyrics of “Let There Be Peace on Earth”.
Special thanks to all the volunteers who made this event possible!
Yuko Kim and her young daughter Andrea Kim who dressed in Hanbok and greeted everyone with a smile and a program and then assisted with the Holy Juice and the sprinkling of the Holy Water by the Benson couple. Good job Andrea!
Matt Ishizuka for pictures and AV!
John Holmes on keyboard!
Nancy McCormick, Susan Brennan, Tyson and Shanell Tyson representing Shepherds Grove!
And all others!
Submitted by: Rev. Susan Munsell, ACLC-Los Angeles