The Words of the van der Stok Family
First of all, the members of the European Family are sending their congratulations to the blessed couples in America. May they truly be sons and daughters of our beloved Parents, and may they establish a new society and a new standard of living for all generations to come.
When we heard from Peter that our True Parents were coming, we could hardly wait to go to Essen. During the week before our Leader's arrival more and more people came from all parts of Germany (Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Duisburg, Stuttgart) for the meeting in Essen. From France Reiner came with three French members. On Saturday, March 22, Paul and Christel arrived from Austria together with 31 members of the Austrian Family. Peter and Barbara's mother came from Munster together with their sister Christel.
The meeting had been carefully prepared for weeks. Nevertheless, there is always some last-minute cleaning, decorating or buying. So the newly arrived people all joined hands in this. Still the ceremonial gowns for our True Parents as well as some wedding gowns had to be prepared. Day and night girls were busy in the sewing room where the atmosphere was rising higher and higher the closer the time came for our Leader to arrive. On Sunday a 21-hour prayer vigil was started in our Leader's room with three people continually praying, changing every hour.
Monday morning (March 24) all of us drove in a caravan of eleven buses and cars to Dusseldorf airport. More than sixty people were waiting in a semicircle in front of the gangway where our Leader's party was to appear. Big banners in Korean and German were waving while we were waiting with two big flower bouquets. Just five more minutes and the plane would land. You can imagine our surprise: Here we all are standing waiting for the Leader, and who appears? Ursula Schuhmann, who had arrived just in time from Barcelona!
A few minutes later our Master's party arrived, and at last our Leader, our Mother, Mr. Eu, Mr. Kuboki, Mrs. Choi, Miss Kim, and Neil Winterbottom were in our midst shaking hands with us, making their way through the big crowd. After returning to the Essen Center Father and Mother went to their rooms and had their first meal at the Center. We had rented a big hall in order to accommodate all the people. This is where for three days our Leader gave the most interesting and fascinating lectures. During the day the hall was used for the meetings, and for the night it was turned into a wall-to-wall bed for the girls.
On Wednesday the Leader went with all of us to the Holy Ground to pray. Many young trees had been planted just about a week before this day. We took this for a sign for a new beginning. Our Leader suggested a game of two rows of people trying to pull each other over a line to symbolize the struggle to the Kingdom of Heaven. After a good lunch everybody gathered on the floor in the meeting room of the Center and our Leader talked to us. In that situation Pauline Phillips arrived unexpectedly from America! What a great joy to see her after such a long time! Our Leader and Miss Kim interviewed the candidates, and the house was stirred up like a beehive.
On Thursday, March 27, our Leader's party went to tour the locomotive plant of the Krupp Works, which is one of the largest steel companies in Germany. After their return our True Parents went on interviewing the candidates for the Blessing. This was the time of the first seven engagements. In the afternoon, the national leaders came together to listen to the Leader and to give their reports. In the meantime the girls of the Vienna Family prepared the wedding cake, which consisted of eight separate cakes, one for each couple. Other members were decorating the hall for the wedding ceremony. Pictures had to be painted, decorations to be made, and a platform to be constructed.
On Friday, March 28, the Leader concentrated on teaching the couples to be blessed. At 6:00 p. m. the couples had the wine ceremony. Then our Parents and the eight couples, all dressed in beautiful white gowns, were driven to the hall in which the Blessing was to take place at 7:00. Beautiful music was greeting us. The couples were standing upstairs in front of the hall. Our Parents, dressed in white and golden gowns, marched 21 steps to the front on a long white aisle. Right and left more than seventy people were standing. Movie and ordinary cameras were purring and flashing. The wedding march was played as our True Parents marched in, followed by two girls bearing the perfumed water. Then one by one the couples came marching in to receive the Blessing by Our Father and Mother. After all eight couples were blessed they stood in the center and made their pledges to God.
Our Leader offered a powerful prayer for the blessed couples. Then the rings were exchanged. Three powerful Monsays were shouted. Miss Kim offered prayer and Mr. Eu of Korea, Mr. Kuboki of Japan, and Neil Winterbottom of America gave congratulatory talks. After the reception each couple sang and chose one person out of the Family to sing. Then Miss Kim, Mrs. Choi, Mr. Eu, and Mr. Kuboki sang. Finally our Father and Mother started singing and dancing, so pretty soon everyone joined hands and were dancing to the rhythm of our Leader. It was a wonderful and most enjoyable experience. The whole world seemed to join in this harmony, beauty, and laughter. Early next morning over seventy members accompanied our Leader to the airport, and to the deepest regret of all of us the sad moment of farewell came. Teddy, Pauline, and Johan accompanied our Leader's party to Holland.
The couples blessed are as follows:
Dennis Orme - Doris Walder
Teddy Verheyen - Pauline Phillips
Peter Koch - Gertrud Gilse
Paul and Christel Werner
Reiner Vincenz - Barbara Koch
Johan van der Stok - Elke Klawiter
Martin Porter - Dawn Faroni
Gerhard Kunkel - Romana Maierhofer.
Now England and America, Holland and America, Holland and Germany, England and Italy, Germany and Austria have been united in international marriages. At the ceremony, twelve Principle Families were represented by their national leaders: Korea, Japan, America, England, Holland, France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Germany.
We are filled with joy when we realize what a great blessing our True Parents have given to Europe. We all feel our great responsibility, and we will work with all our hearts to fulfill the mission our Master has assigned to us.