While thousands gathered in Tarrytown, New York, the rest of the country was celebrating as well. Across the nation, Unificationists celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the Yankee Stadium Rally. Several family churches chose Sunday May 29 to put on a local celebration in combination with their Sunday Services. From humble gatherings to large celebrations, Unificationists all over the United States took the time to reflect on the day and to come together as a community. Check out some photos of the festivities shared by the following local areas:
The Atlanta Family Church held a service and festival, celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Yankee Stadium at Holcomb Bridge Park on June 4th. The program included reading of True Father’s words from Yankee Stadium, songs and entertainment, testimonies about the Marriage Blessing ceremony, and a toast supporting marriage and family. Several Unificationists who had not been around to local church communities for a few years attended.
After a lunch of hot dogs and chicken, youth/young adults organized face painting, a water balloon toss and an obstacle course. The event was full of God’s grace!
A kick-off was held by the Dallas Family Church for the 4 Years of Hope campaign with a Family Blessing and Festival on the Saturday May 28th. The day started with a meeting where clergies shared a vision about the Holy Marriage Blessing Ceremony in August. Later, the youth worked on a festival fundraiser with a dunking booth, bouncy castle, and a basketball bungee for Camp Lone Star. They were able to raise $500 from the event.
Arkansas Family Church invited friends and neighbors to join them for the 40th Anniversary of Yankee Stadium on Sunday May 29th. Rev. Bruce Biggins spoke about securing God’s Blessing, and encouraged everyone to live by John F. Kennedy’s quote which is “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” The event was followed by a delicious picnic lunch, and various games.
In Windermere, Washington, Unificationist families held the 40th Anniversary of Yankee Stadium event on May 29th with 150 participants including 30 guests. The door opened from 2:30 where kids entertained themselves with inflated playsets and a clown show. The main event started an hour later with a documentary video of Yankee Stadium Rally; it included the whole speech of True Father. Elder members shared their story from 40 years ago and then they held a Marriage Blessing Ceremony. Members had a chance to rededicate their marriage and about five couples as guests had a chance to try out what the Blessing is like.
The Colorado Family Church held a special outdoor service and festival to commemorate three special events: the 40th Anniversary of the Yankee Stadium Rally, the 2nd Annual Spring Refresh, and Memorial Day. For the past two years, the church has been hosting an annual festival which brings together some kind of cleaning and development projects, as well as great wholesome family fun. During the service, Pastor Adonia Hentrich focused on how they can bring God back into America by bringing God back into our own lives and our own families. After the sermon, they all sang “God Bless America.”
The Chicago Family Church held a wonderful celebration on May 29, 2016 in commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the Yankee Stadium Rally. Festivities began with a special worship service coordinated by the Youth Ministry. The program featured two inspiring videos about the history of the rally and True Father’s providential speech. Personal testimonies were also given by two senior members of the community who participated in the events, followed by a unison prayer. The service ended with a potluck picnic, and sports.
Over 100 participants gathered at the local holy ground at Como Lake in St. Paul, MN for a picnic and celebrations after morning pledge service at the local church center. The picturesque park was a perfect spot to celebrate the Day of All True Things and to commemorate the anniversary of the Yankee Stadium rally. Keith Anderson, who attended the rally led the group in singing, “You Are My Sunshine” and “God Bless America.” Participants then gathered in a circle around those who had participated in the original event as a symbolic gesture of inheriting their spirit. Two young Unificationists read the speech to the crowd, followed by moving testimonies from the community. Keith Anderson, a local resident who attended the rally said, “It’s amazing to see that we altogether represent the global embrace of our membership centered on an historical event that celebrated one world under God!’
The Las Vegas Family Church gathered for a full day of celebrations on June 5. They began their Sunday service by celebrating the Day of All True Things and then held a special commemorative service in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Yankee Stadium rally. Following the service, the community gathered for a potluck lunch and barbecue with friends and family. Throughout the day, a swimming pool and a bouncy castle were also made available to the youth of the community.
The Montana Family Church hosted a family workshop over the course of the Memorial Day weekend to celebrate the holiday as well as commemorate the Yankee Stadium rally anniversary. The theme of the workshop was “Honoring the Past, Shaping the Future,” and the families who attended strove to connect the memory and legacy of the Yankee Stadium rally to the contemporary Vision 2020 initiative. Several Canadian Unificationist families made their way down for the weekend workshop, which included presentations about True Parents’ lives and Tribal Messiahship, as well as an interfaith barbecue dinner with friends of different faiths from the community.