Washington State Joint Appreciation Dinner
Seattle, WA – The 9th annual event was held in the meeting hall of the Beacon United Methodist Church at South of Seattle on December 3, 2018. Eighty-seven people attended all told, drawn from diverse portions of the Seattle area population.
The event’s success was attributed to the many hours of preparation by dedicated volunteer staff from the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) – WA, American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) of WA and the Seattle Family Church. Attendees ages ranged from a few months old to those in their nineties. In preparation, Mrs. Noriko Fisher of the state chapter of the ACLC rented the hall and hired the caterers, with some assistance from UPF. UPF-WA staff assisted with outreach to all Ambassadors For Peace and Mr. Ray McCready, Executive Director, while the raffle draw was organized by Mrs. Yuko Faris, who is always a big hit. The Seattle Family Church members assisted with set-up, serving in the dinner line, clean up and more.
The program began with a prayer led by Rev. Larry Krishnek of the Family Federation for World Peace & Unification, followed by a reading of the nativity story from the gospel of Luke followed by an excerpt from a message by UPF Founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon in 1957 entitled “Jesus Christ Bridged the Gap Between God and Humanity”.
After the program, Christmas songs were performed by the Young-Once Choir led by Mrs. Dollie Castillo . They sang “Ring Those Christmas Bells” and “Silent Night”. Then dinner was served, a real feast of Filipino dishes. Afterwards the Seattle Bituin (Star) Lions Club, led by president Lion Efren Pascua, sang additional Christmas carols.
Pastor Gerhard Wiesinger gave a heartfelt and moving message on the work of the ACLC, focusing on strengthening families through the Holy Marriage Blessing.
Then came a crowd favorite, as Mrs. Faris, dressed in a Santa suit, conducted the first phase of the raffle, assisted by Mrs. Hiroko Sato of the Seattle Family church in handing out the raffle prizes. This always carries some suspense and much joy for the lucky winners.
Following this, Ray McCready of Universal Peace Federation of WA showed a “UPF year in review” slide show, highlighting the events UPF-WA led singly or jointly during the year. The programs completed include: five Peace Forum evening programs, leading a Peace Road event, along with hosting the 2018 Parents’ Day celebration on July 22nd, which was attended by over 100 persons, and a program celebrating the UN International Day of Peace held jointly with the Women’s Federation for World Peace of WA, led by Mrs. Sarah Nishioka, on Sept. 27th.
After more raffle drawings, Rev. Mira led us in a Blessing Toast to celebrate God-centered marriage and family. Pastor Vanessa Davis sang a powerful gospel song while Bishop Emma Moore gave a closing prayer. To conclude the event, the group took several photos together then bid everyone safe travels and a happy holiday season.
Contributed by: Raymond McCready, Executive Director, UPF Washington