by FFWPU USA, Carol Pobanz
“They say it is the fastest growing ministry in New Jersey,” reported Pastor Manoj Jacob of the Clifton Family Church, as he offered words of welcome to the annual gathering of the Golden Age Club. Twenty new members were inducted this year on December 11. Membership in this group automatically happens the year one celebrates his or her 60th birthday. Though some hesitate to attend, saying, “I’m not a senior yet,” we encourage everyone to recognize that after 60 it’s time to recreate oneself. Our motto and the theme of the evening was, “This is the dawning of our new age.”
Dinner attendees came in holiday style, dressed for the occasion. There were prayers to begin the evening, a toast, and the traditional birthday celebration song during the cake-cutting.
Eighty members ranging in age from 60 to 90 enjoyed a festive meal showcasing plates of sushi provided by Mr. Takeo Kiriki from the Sakurabana restaurant. Kitchen volunteers also offered salmon and salad on the buffet, while second-generation young adult Unificationists served tables by pouring drinks and clearing plates.
This year a beloved Japanese couple, Sumio and Yasuko Kono, shared a humorous though sincere testimony. Their candor warmed the hearts of those listening, reminding us all of the joyful but sometimes difficult experiences that go into making some of our fondest memories. In gratitude for their sharing, Mr. and Mrs. Kono will be enjoying a weekend’s stay at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel. Raffles of shrimp, edamame, crystal gifts, calendars and restaurant gift certificates were held throughout the evening along with a couple of games of Bingo.
Mrs. Misako Sato Kim, together with her three very talented sons, presented musical string renditions of Pachelbel’s Canon and several other pieces during the meal. The heartwarming beauty of this family performance delighted and inspired the audience. Closing out the evening for the fourth year in a row, veteran Broadway actor and singer Mr. Albert Insinnia sang show tunes, including a Sinatra song as well as a humorous piece from Jacques Brel. He then finished up by leading the crowd in a round of Jingle Bell Rock.
This annual event is one many of our elder New Jersey members look forward to, and it is also an event that many of those “coming of age” wait for, so that they too can join the esteemed ranks of the Golden Age Club.