Report from Julia Okamoto for the Blessing in Rev. Beckles’ church, Bronx NY
Sunday, Feb 17, 2019, we conducted a blessing at the Church of the Atonement in the Bronx NY.
Kanae Holt has been working with the Pastor of this church, Rev. William Beckles for many years since he was originally in Mt. Vernon before he moved to the Bronx.
Kanae was determined to do a blessing in his church and spoke with Rev. Beckles about it. He answered positively and we began the preparations. David and I were picked to be the Officiators and the Japanese sister in our ATM group all pitched in to help. As the event came closer we had some obstacles in particular 3 days prior to the event Rev. Beckles wanted to know the details of the event even though Rev. Grodner and Kanae had been through it with him a few days earlier. I sent him the details of the vows and the blessing prayer and included the holy wine ceremony. Rev. Beckles on Saturday told us we could go ahead but we could not do the holy wine ceremony in the sanctuary it was against their protocol. So not wanting to give up we decided to do everything in the sanctuary except the holy wine, we would do that with a toast in the basement.
Everything went well. Rev. Grodner was the MC and he did a great job of explaining the meaning of the blessing using the bible and Christian terminology. David read the vows which we also modified to make them more understandable to the Christian audience. We did the indemnity stick and took photos and then went downstairs for the holy juice. Everyone enjoyed it and one lady recommended that we should do it every year.
Kanae prepared celebration bags for everyone with a cream puff, the Blessing certificate, a cup of holy juice, a small indemnity stick, and a form for everyone to fill out. The event was a great success in big part due to the hard work and determination of Kanae Holt.