Articles From the July 1995 Unification News
Unification Theological Seminary Graduates 38
by Sarah Witt-Barrytown, NY
On Sunday, June 25, 1995 the Unification Theological Seminary held its Nineteenth Annual Commencement Exercises at 11am in scenic Barrytown, NY. Thirty eight graduates received their degrees. Ten men received the Master of Divinity degree, and 25 men and two women the degree of Master of Religious Education.
Founded by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, the Seminary admitted the first class of fifty students in autumn 1975. This autumn, UTS will celebrate its 20th anniversary.
The commencement ceremony was officiated by Mr. W. Farley Jones, chairman of the UTS Board of Trustees and a 1977 graduate. Dr. Richard Arthur, assistant professor of New Testament, offered the invocation.
After the degrees were given out by the Seminary president, Dr. Theodore Shimmyo, the president gave congratulatory remarks. This was followed by the graduate responses of Messrs. Jerry Chesnut and Jin Hwa Chung. The UTS Choir performed a rendition of "Spirit, Now Live in Me." The graduation ceremony was concluded with the reading of the Founder's Address and benediction by Pres. Shimmyo. Rev. Moon was not able to attend due to a 12-nation speaking tour in Latin America.
Rev. Moon's message was simple, but quite profound. The graduates were urged to "strengthen the power of your conscience to possess the true love of God." Rev. Moon declared that possessing the true love of God was not a selfish act, but an unselfish and sacrificial one:
"The reason is that the true love of God is, by nature, unselfish and sacrificial. When God created the world, he...completely invested and sacrificed himself out of true love, hoping that Adam and Eve, His objects of true love, would also assume the same sacrificial nature of true love to build His joyful kingdom. Unfortunately, this hope of God was completely shattered by the fall of the first human ancestors who acted selfishly."
Rev. Moon stated that the fall of man caused a fierce battle within the individual between the conscience and the physical body. He went on to say that "this battle within the individual is even fiercer than major wars in human history, because those historical wars usually ended within a few years, but the individual war between the conscience and the physical body seems to be unending, not only within the entire life of a person, but also for generation after generation."
Finally, Rev. Moon called on the graduates of the heavenly academy, called the Unification Theological Seminary, to join in the final battle during the next five years, until the year 2000 A.D., a very critical period in human history.
"But before winning this battle, equip yourselves with the unbreakable power of the conscience to possess the true love of God."
In Dr. Shimmyo's speech, "Bear the Cross," he exhorted the graduates to go out to the sinful world where "egotism, war, immorality, free sex, homosexuality, crime, etc., are rampant."
"Given this situation of the world, why don't we courageously go out there to bear the cross on behalf of God and humanity. This seems to be the most important mission of UTS graduates who are privileged to have been trained here as heavenly soldiers for two years or more.
"To bear the cross means to accept all the problems in the world as if they were your own and solve them out of your genuine love towards your fellow humans whose problems you are dealing with. To do that means to liberate not only humanity but also God from all pain and suffering, because the liberation of humanity means the fulfillment of God's own dream."
"Who will stop evil fully? I believe UTS graduates should boldly go out there to serve and bear the cross in order to testify to the power of God to overcome evil."
"The point I am making here comes from the teaching of Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, who tirelessly and sacrificially spent 50 years after WWII to bear the cross for God and humanity. Because of their absolute commitment out of love, the way of complete salvation has been victoriously opened."
He then went on to say that we have to inherit the best tradition of Rev. and Mrs. Moon and work even harder than before until every corner of the world is covered by the love of God.
The ceremony ended with the recessional and was followed by the photo- taking sessions.
In his Divinity graduate response, Jerry Chesnut challenged us all with his questions: "Ladies and gentlemen, the question that is burning in the hearts of each graduate here today is, How much love and goodness can I squeeze out of myself before I die? How much can I overcome that terrifying tendency that I have to ignore the hidden and sometimes unbearable sorrow that lies behind God and each person that has lived for a time on this earth?"
And so, another annual commencement at UTS came to an end with inspiring messages, a gourmet graduation banquet, and fine entertainment, as well 38 more trained Seminarians to go out to the world and help Rev. and Mrs. Moon build a substantial kingdom of God on earth, to bring joy to our Heavenly Father and all humanity.
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