SOURCE: Family Federation for World Peace

Family Federation for World Peace

February 15, 2013 16:34 ET

Fifty Couples to Say "I Do" on Saturday in Cedar Grove, N.J.

Marriage Culture Alive and Well in the Unification Church

CLIFTON, NJ--(Marketwire - Feb 15, 2013) - Marriage these days is taking a beating: Barely half of adults today are married compared with 72 percent in 1960. Yet, among Unificationists, marriage is still the ideal. 50 Unificationist couples will gather in New Jersey on Saturday, February 16, 2013 to celebrate the "Marriage Blessing," the signature mass wedding event of the Unification Movement. These couples will exchange wedding vows at The Grove, the premier wedding venue in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, as hundreds of guests observe the memorable rite of passage.

The ceremony will be simultaneously telecast to 17 locations in the United States and 194 nations worldwide at 9:00 p.m. (EST) from the central event in Gapyeong, Korea, where 20,000 well-wishers will cheer on the 3,500 couples exchanging vows.

Many of the couples have a bride or groom from New Jersey. "Our families are very excited for us and continue to be our biggest supporter," says Jana Iparraguirre, 21, of Clifton, New Jersey. She and her fiancé, Kester Wilkening, 22, from Bowie Maryland, met at Cornell University, and after their parents introduced the idea of each other as potential spouses, decided to commit to each other.

"We are so excited to be going to the Blessing," says Wilkening, who will graduate from Cornell University this May. He continues: "For us, it is important to continue the marriage tradition of the Blessing because it is such a powerful sacrament and actualization of God's love. This becomes a launching point for us to create a joy-filled family and venture out to lead passionate, professional careers." 

The event at the Grove will include information on the meaning of the Blessing, a "Holy Wine Ceremony," a celebration dinner, a ballroom dance exhibition, official couple photos and dancing following the marriage ceremony.

"Through God-centered families we can create a peaceful world, the Kingdom of Heaven, the world of love God intended," says Rev. Phillip Schanker, director of Blessed Family Ministry at Unification Church USA.

Jana Iparraguirre and Kester Wilkening are available for interview upon request.

Documents and/or Photos available for this release:

Melissa Gontigo and Joshua Kang.

Kester Wilkening and Jana Iparraguirre among 50 couples to exchange vows Saturday in Cedar Grove.

To view supporting documents and/or photos, go to and enter Release ID: 347013

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Doug Burton
    media relations HSA UWC
    Family Federation for World Peace
    Phone: (202) 203-9883

    Carol Pobanz
    media coordinator
    FFWP in New Jersey
    Phone: 973-223-3822