True Family Values seminar: Blessing of Marriage
- Posted byMargaret Herbers
Over 50 teachers, preachers, pastors, and community leaders came together to focus on strengthening families through Marriage Blessing, on Feb. 27, 2016, at Imani Temple, the mother church of the African-American Catholic Congregation (AACC) in Suitland, Maryland.
Archbishop George Augustus Stallings, Jr., host pastor and patriarch of AACC, led us in the first session, entitled “Ideal Marriage and Family,” focusing on the Three Great Blessings which God, our Heavenly Parent, gave to Adam and Eve, in the first chapters of Genesis.
Archbishop George Stallings
These blessings God gave are to be fruitful, to multiply, and to have dominion. To be fruitful means for Adam and Eve, as individuals created by God, to come to maturity, uniting their mind and body centered on God and live and conduct life with truly mature characters. Next, Archbishop Stallings went on to explain that, as perfected, ideal individuals, standing as the Image of God, being both male and female, they were to be Blessed in Marriage and as a completely mature couple, they were to go forth and multiply the Heavenly lineage. Then, to fulfill the Third Blessing from God, these perfected individuals are to join in true subject and object relationships with the rest of creation by taking true dominion, which in Latin means, lordship. In other words, being lords of creation.
We followed-up on this dynamic presentation with several great questions:
1) How is your family the cornerstone of the kingdom?
2) How do you represent God in your family & community?
3) How does your family connect & unite?
4) How do you demonstrate living for the sake of others?
5) How do you manifest Art in your family?
Number five drew some very wonderfully intriguing and beautiful answers. Including, how through striving to achieve perfection, we as individuals help God, the Heavenly Parent, perfect the fullness of the creation through the loving family relationships.
“As Rev. Jenkins said during the program, political leaders cannot save America; only religious leaders can begin to heal this nation. God will work through families centered on God, so the core of everything is true values embodied in the family. This program made it all so clear.” Rev. Joseph Taylor, New Hope Family Church
Dr. Michael Jenkins
Session two focused on the value and process of “Blessing of Marriage.” Dr. Michael Jenkins started off with explaining how to go about preparing for marriage. Firstly, we need to “Learn to Live for the Sake of Others.” As seen in Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:36-40, “‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?’ Jesus said unto him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the Prophets.’” Dr. Jenkins reminded us “It’s important to even try to love our enemies and love all people more than yourself.”
Lively discussion after presentations
“Also, important is “Keeping Abstinence Before Marriage. Adam and Eve were supposed to keep God’s commandment, not eat the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. The fruit symbolizes love – intimate love relationship – sexual act. They took the fruit and did eat it before God gave permission.” He went on to say, “This not only defiles the physical body, but as Archbishop Stallings explained earlier, it affects the spirit too.”
“God told me to stop blaming and accusing me husband, but to forgive, forgive, and forgive. In America we talk about ‘no fault divorce’. But what God is looking for is ‘no fault marriage.’
When I have a negative thought about my husband comes to me, I change the vibration by affirming that he is whole, powerful, perfect, loving, and that we are a harmonious and happy couple. Now I feel he is the best husband God could give me.” Mrs. Jane Karimi
‘“Then, there is the “Commitment & Responsibility for Eternal Marriage.” Rev. Sun Myung Moon affectionately known as “Father Moon” explains it this way. “Expecting my partner to be greater and better than ‘I’ is not right. Because there was the fall, expecting the partner to appear in the fallen world as a person greater than ‘I’ is wrong. If you desire your partner to be a good person, you should manifest that by investing more effort than your partner.” Dr. Jenkins concluded with, “It is a lifelong commitment, and not only that, no longer think of it as “’til death do we part.” It is an eternal commitment!”
The audience was very involved in the program
Dr. Jenkins along with Archbishop Stallings then shared in outlining the elements involved in the Holy Marriage Blessing Ceremony which, based on a foundation of Principle education include:
1. The Holy Wine Ceremony
2. The Holy Blessing
3. The chastening ceremony
4. 40-Days sanctification period
5. 3-Day ceremony for a new beginning
6. Offering of Thanksgiving
The session closed with the video presentation honoring the 20th Anniversary of True Family Values Banquets held annually in Chicago, IL.
After a fantastic luncheon, prepared by the Imani Hospitality team, Archbishop Stallings led one representative couple, Pastor Francis and Dr. Flower Briscoe, and the entire group through the Holy Wine Ceremony, with the goal of equipping clergy to conduct the ceremony in their churches.
A little later the Briscoes shared about their marriage enrichment ministry, explaining how important it is that husbands learn what it means to love their wives, and wives learn what it means to reverence their husbands.
One of the highlights of the seminar was to hear testimonies of the participants. Dr. Michael Jenkins led this warm fellowship and sharing with new guests and longtime friends of ACLC.
Sharing seminar insights
Mrs. Jane Karimi confessed that she was having difficulty with her husband, and for seven days she prayed deeply asking God to speak to her husband and make him a better husband. She was surprised that at the end of the seven days, God didn’t speak to him, but God spoke lovingly to her, asking “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?”
God told her to stop blaming and accusing her husband, but to forgive, forgive, and forgive. Mrs. Karimi mentioned, “In America we talk about ‘no fault divorce’. But what God is looking for is ‘no fault marriage.’”
When a negative thought about her husband comes to her, Mrs. Karimi changes the vibration by affirming that he is whole, powerful, perfect, loving, and that they are a harmonious and happy couple. This has transformed her husband. Her past negative thoughts about her husband prevented him from operating as the divine being God created him to be. “My husband looks more handsome to me now,” affirmed Mrs. Karimi, “and he is the best husband God could give me.”
Archbishop Stallings hosted a wonderful ACLC program that gave, through internal explanation and practical content, how the Blessing can be given to other congregations. This is liberating to many of us as we see the Blessing is becoming wider based on all the victorious foundations of True Parents!
Mrs. Brenda Miller, Women’s Federation for World Peace, Maryland
The program and discussion was highly informative and educational. I resonated with one guest who said, “Wow, the spirit here just keeps on getting higher and higher.” This was great food for the heart and intellect.
Mrs. Beverly Berndt, teacher at New Hope Academy
Bishop Vandy Kennedy, local ACLC co-chairman and pastor and founder of Walker Mill Baptist Church, took time to explain his upcoming “40-Days and 40-Nights of Prayer and Fasting” to be held from April 1st through May 10th at the Franklin Square Park in Northwest, Washington, DC. He said this beautiful park and its central location to both the business and political and residential areas of Washington is a prime location for distributing God’s heart of love, life and learning to the people of Washington, DC. We will even have the tourists there during the Cherry Blossom Festival. He implored everyone to try to make time in your busy schedule to honor God and serve people during this 40-Day period of renewal.
Rev. Randall Francis and Bishop Vandy Kennedy
Seven participants ventured from as far away as New York. These included the NY district ACLC Co-Chair Rev. Bruce Grodner along with the National ACLC Co-President, Archbishop Sulanch Lewis-Rose and Women in Ministry leaders Rev. Juanita Pierre Louise and Min. Nandi Moton and Rev. Tom Cutts, ACLC Executive Director. They came early and stayed overnight Friday night in the dormitory facility.
Reported by Rev. Randall Francis, ACLC Co-Chair Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia