Our Belvedere members held Holy Blessing ceremonies recently in two local churches. The Okamotos and Kanae Holt shared a little about these events on Sunday.
Below are reports about these Blessing by Julia Okamoto and some photos from the ceremonies. Click on each photo to see a larger image.
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.
Blessing at Rev. Noel Gallardo’s church in Yonkers, Feb. 24 2019, Julia Okamoto
David and I conducted a blessing in a church in Yonkers where Rev. Noel Gallardo is the Pastor.
It is a small church with about 25 members. The pastor opened up his church to us without really knowing much about the blessing. He just said yes please and asked David to do the sermon and that I could give a power-point presentation of True Family Values. So we prepared and hoped to invite more people.
When the day came we had a lot of help from members of our community including Bruce Grodner who was MC and Raoul Joseph came to offer songs. We had a lot of help from some sisters which was invaluable for getting the job done.
Pastor Noel had been praying for this event for almost one month prior. He was very happy with it he saw it as an opportunity to have people rededicate themselves to Jesus through the blessing. He said he felt the presence of the Holy Spirit at the blessing event and he wants us to visit with him to some people who couldn’t make it so we could bless them.
The blessing went off without a hitch. Everyone was really excited and happy to receive the holy wine and they even liked the indemnity stick ceremony. We had 7 married or widowed people who were blessed. The rest were single members who drank the Holy wine and received a pledge of purity certificate.
In conclusion, I think the important thing to realize is that we did it by working together. It would not have been possible without the help from the other members of our community. By uniting together for the good of each other, we can do great things. I am truly grateful to all those who came and helped.