The Words of the Panzer Family
As the incoming president of Unification Theological Seminary, I find myself thinking back to the time when I was a student in 1977 -- 1979. Rev. Sun Myung Moon often would visit the campus, challenging us to use our knowledge for the benefit of the world, and inviting us to join him in the cold waters of the Hudson River to catch carp. It was as if he was training us and wanted to "toughen us up" for the hardships to come.
It's hard for me to reconcile the received notion of a seminary as a place of theological reflection with the style and vision of Rev. Moon, who, though definitely a man of deep reflection, also is a man of action, who often ventures beyond the typical roles associated with clergy, who is unafraid to challenge authorities in other fields, whether they be in science, journalism, or politics to go beyond their traditional borders in order to take responsibility for the world.
In this context, several questions present themselves. How can UTS do a better job to prepare Unificationist leaders and clergy of other faiths to build upon Rev. Moon's example in their communities and nations? How can it make itself more available to Unification families throughout the United States and around the world? How can it serve Ambassadors for Peace and clergy who have been close friends of Rev. Moon and our movement? How can UTS itself have a greater impact in the theological world and at its 43rd street campus in New York City, one of the most influential cities in the world? How can it respond to, and, if possible, embrace and use the rapid technological changes sweeping our world?
In the coming year(s), there will be a number of changes at UTS. Many of these are inspired by our national head pastor, Rev. In Jin Moon. After attending her insightful and moving sermons at the Lovin' Life services at the Manhattan Center this year, I realize that she shares the dynamism of her father, as well as a mother's concern to love, embrace and guide the "second generation" of Unification families and young people in general, and an appreciation for the transformative power of music and culture to move people and potentially to bring them closer to a Godly way of life.
A few months ago, I had a dream in which I was asking Rev. In Jin Moon what she wanted for the youth who are becoming young adults in our church. In the dream, she told me, "I want to make them experts!" Our national pastor's heart to embrace and to empower Second Generation to achieve excellence in their lives and in the ways they choose to serve the world will be a strong guiding theme for the redesign of the way UTS interacts with its students, with the church, with New York City, with Unification families around the country and with the larger society and world in which we all live.
I believe this is an auspicious moment in the history of UTS, which will allow it to achieve sharp growth in new programs, offered in innovative ways, so that UTS can fulfill the Founder's dream that it would train future leaders in America and in the world. One encouraging development in late June was the acceptance of UTS as an affiliate member of the Association of Theological Schools, which includes some 250 seminaries and schools of theology and is the flagship accrediting body for the preparation of ministerial leadership in North America. Affiliation with ATS has been a goal of UTS since its inception, and represents a new level of acceptance of UTS as a credible interfaith academic institution.
The Seminary is planning a number of new courses for the upcoming academic year beginning in September. These are meant to address more practical needs for ministry in the field or topics perceived to have a wide interest. These will not be solely academic courses, but rather will include personal reflection, discussion and learning activities. Some courses will be offered online for students anywhere in the United States or in other countries, some will be given at the 43rd street campus in New York City, and some will be offered as intensive courses on weekends in different cities around the country.
UTS offers four basic educational programs. The first is for those who may or may not have a college degree, who seek to enrich their understanding in a particular area, but are not concerned about academic credit. They can take a continuing education course, which is often less expensive and shorter in duration than a typical course that could last 15 weeks.
The second level of training is for those with undergraduate college degrees who aspire to take a stronger leadership role within the public arena, such as working in the wider community or in church-related non-profits or in some area of education, but who do not see themselves as pastors. This would involve either the 48-50 credit Master of Arts in Religious Studies or the 50-credit Master of Religious Education. The third level is for those with undergraduate degrees who feel called to become pastors and church leaders. They would enroll in the 75-credit Master of Divinity program. The fourth level is the Doctorate in Ministry (D.Min.), which provides advanced training and greater ministerial competency for existing pastors who need continuing education and greater skill development as they take on greater leadership roles.
UTS has developed a way for those who desire to enroll in academic courses in pursuit of one of its masters' degrees or doctoral degrees to raise funds to pay for their education. Eleven students who are beginning their studies at UTS at the end of August are involved in this program, known as the UTS Scholarship Fund, in which students raise monies during summer vacation, holidays and weekends for the scholarship fund which supports their own education in the Fall and Spring. More information about this way to raise funds for a UTS education or to donate to or sponsor a UTS student can be seen at www.UTSscholarshipfund.org.
As mentioned, in the first-level program, UTS will be offering special, continuing education courses to Unification members and families through short-term intensives offered in different cities and also online for anyone in the world. Proposed courses include topics ranging from pastoral counseling, youth ministry, leadership and team building, using music, film, or social media for ministry, marriage preparation and guidance for partner selection for unmarried singles, marriage enhancement/couples communication, the reality of the spiritual world, church growth and development, family financial management, and education for healthy sexuality and relationships. We have developed an online survey on Zoomerang and invite all Unification members and families, young and old alike, to let us know which courses would be most interesting to them! (The link for the survey is at www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22AZBFK62LY) Based on responses we receive to the online survey, we will decide which courses to offer first.
If you have participated in a Lovin' Life Sunday Service, you know about our head pastor's reinterpretation of the concept of "ideal families" to mean "I deal" families, meaning that all of us often do "the best we can" as we encounter the challenges and stresses of busy schedules and emotional eruptions! Many of her sermons contain practical guidance for parents and teenagers alike as they navigate the sometimes choppy waters of family life.
In line with Rev. In Jin Moon's concern to give practical guidance and support, UTS is offering courses this year in "marriage and family" in both its Master of Arts-degree programs, in addition to its current concentrations on interfaith peace-building, non-profit management, Unification studies, and theological studies. The new courses will focus on marriage counseling, marriage- and family enrichment, ministry for marriage preparation, the theology of marriage, and other relevant courses.
This year we also will introduce courses for academic credit on media and culture, including one on using arts and media in ministry and a practical course on using the internet and social media in ministry.
For more information regarding UTS courses for academic credit and deadlines for applying this year, visit our website at www.UTS.edu or contact Dean Kathy Winings.