Unification News for October 1996
First Annual UTS Alumni Meeting held in Alaska
by Gareth Davies-Barrytown, NY
With less than a week's notice, 67 alumni made the journey to Alaska in August to attend a 10-day workshop of lectures and fishing. The culmination of the experience was three days of fishing and picnic lunches with Reverend and Mrs. Moon. Barbecued halibut and sashimi on the beach, in the splendor of Alaska, together with the Founder.
Reverend Moon invited President Shimmyo, Reverend Sudo and all those graduates in the United States and Japan who do not currently hold "church missions." The first seven days were filled with lectures, with the first beginning soon after the 5 a.m. pledge and prayer service, and the last ending at 11.30 p.m.. President Shimmyo gave the first presentation each morning, on the Divine Principle and its application to life, and then surrendered the stage to Reverend Sudo for the rest of the day. Reverend Sudo's lectures were based on a systematic organization of providential history since 1945 with other insights into the Principle which Reverend Moon has revealed since Divine Principle was written.
The purpose of the workshop, said Dr. Shimmyo in a recent report to the UTS community, was "so that UTS graduates may have absolute unity with True Parents." He continued to explain that, "if we are engrafted, then any fruit which we produce is connected to True Parents." Dr. Shimmyo enjoyed the many personal experiences which the graduates shared with the Founder, including watching televised soccer matches late into the night in Reverend Moon's living room.
President Shimmyo related Reverend Moon's expression of deep regret that UTS was unable to fulfill his expectations. "Father hoped that UTS would revitalize Christianity and he came here every day in the early years. He said that if the UTS grads. had fully devoted themselves to the task of reaching out to Christian ministers, then The Washington Times would not have been necessary."
Still, Dr. Shimmyo reported a sense that the Founder "loves UTS a lot and continues to expect a lot." This impression was strongly supported by Dr. Dietrich Seidel (class of `77) who described the content of Reverend Moon's sermons for the UTS community. "Looking over us all, he said, `You graduates are well-rounded people. You can successfully relate to the leaders of society. There are so many beautiful faces here! Be confident! Be bold! Our only limits are those we impose on ourselves.'"
In particular, Reverend Moon asked the graduates to reach out to Christian ministers, some of whom are now attending the True Family Values seminars in Washington, D.C.. He reported that more than a thousand ministers have so far attended and that 43% of these have decided to attend next year's Blessing.
For Tom Bowers (class of `81), the workshop M.C., it was the spiritual nourishment from the various lectures and sermons which held the greatest meaning, "Whenever we had the opportunity to pray, there were deep expressions of heartfelt gratitude, repentance and new determination. It was very spiritually nourishing to me personally to participate in communal prayer that was an expression of a need to pray in response to a meaningful encounter with the truth," he said.
Linda Howell also had a profound experience. "I feel my life has gone through a dramatic change of heart through being in Kodiak. I finally found the heart and love of True Parents again and my love for my brothers and sisters....Day by day, through the lectures, brothers and sisters, and being with Father, my heart began to heal and I could feel that Father loves me; I don't have to stay in this adopted daughter position of not taking responsibility any more, I could begin to claim my position as a child of True Parents."
At the conclusion of the workshop, Reverend Moon asked Dr. Shimmyo, Reverend Sudo and Dr. Tyler Hendricks to be responsible for unifying and communicating with all of the UTS alumni. These gatherings in Alaska will now be an annual event for UTS graduates and so Dr. Shimmyo urged everyone to be ready for the call next August.
Reprinted from Cornerstone.
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