The Words Of The Hoover Family

God Had A Plan - Interview with Chad Hoover (UTS 80)

Natalia Yankus
December 19, 2006

N.Y. What is your understanding of why Father founded UTS?

C.H. To create a foundation for ecumenical outreach within the Christian context is one reason. Inter-religious dialogue among the world's major religious traditions is another. Ministerial and leadership training for the Unification Movement is a third. The purpose which was most relevant to me was as an incubator for "Unification Culture".

N.Y. How did you become a UTS student?

C.H. I applied to UTS because I had an interest in understanding church history and its impact on the development of architecture. My undergraduate degree was in architecture and I knew I wanted to pursue this professionally. Shortly after I applied, my Church leader asked me to withdraw my application because he wanted me to undertake a specific mission which he viewed as more critical, and so I did.

While in that mission, I had an opportunity to meet Father Moon personally. He asked if I wanted to undertake a specific architectural mission in New York. I said "yes!" He asked how soon could I start. "In two hours." was my reply. Father said, "OK, then you'll go back with us in the plane this afternoon.

I was in the architectural mission for 7 months, when made the final selection of the next incoming class for UTS from a stack of applications with photos. My application from the previous year was in the pile and he selected me. With some confusion, but in faith, I prepared to attend UTS. I figured God had a plan.

N.Y. What are your memories of being a student at UTS?

C.H. I had many wonderful experiences while at the seminary, both with respect to the academic program and student life. Meeting and being matched to my future wife, Ann Glesne Hoover, has to be the best. Young Oon Kim's lectures, especially when she deviated from her notes, were always fantastic. Walks on Father's Trail which President Kim led after 5 am Sunday prayer were always wonderful.

There was one more experience with Father which was life defining for me: Father came to UTS during the winter trimester of my first year. All the students met with him in his dining room, which was the tradition during cold weather visits. There were the traditional greetings and then Father began talking. Literally within three minutes he looked at me and I heard my name. The next thing I heard was Col. Han's translation, "Chad, I just found out that you were at the Seminary. He proceeded to ask if I liked the seminary and why. He then asked "Do you think the purpose of the Seminary is to produce ministers?" Many people said, "Yes!" He said "No!"

I felt this particular day he was speaking to me as a representative of people in the future who might be in similar circumstances. He expounded on a different purpose for UTS, which I'm calling the "cultural incubator" paradigm. He began by describing the relationship between Divine Principle, Unification Thought and culture. Specifically that theology is the root, which should inform philosophy. Philosophy in turn should guide the development of culture. The point he was making was that theology doesn't directly transform the world, but only indirectly, through culture. He went on to explain that one of the missions of UTS is to allow those who have undergraduate degrees with aspirations of attending graduate school in areas other than theology or ministry to immerse themselves in Unification Thought for two years prior to pursuit of other advanced degrees. He went on to stress that in addition to personal spiritual formation that such a course would prepare the students to lead in the transformation of their academic areas of (future) expertise through their understanding of Unification Thought. He concluded by saying to me that I could become a principled architect and witness to other architects by example. From that day forward, I knew why I was called to UTS and how I should approach the rest of my professional life.

N.Y. So you were not thinking of becoming a theologian or pastor when you were a student at UTS?

C.H. No. I always felt that ultimately I would be an architect. I also had some intuition that I would be a lay religious leader.

My wife and I have shared a CARP Campus Ministry at Cornell University for 25 years. We've also had a ministry to second generation members who have attended Cornell and other local colleges during that time. In addition to theological and philosophical training, I have found that the few counseling courses which I took at UTS have been very useful. Good listening skills are key to so many aspects of our lives.

N.Y. A word of advice to those who are considering coming to UTS.

C.H. Prospective students should consider UTS if they are interested in understanding more about our theology and spirituality and want to provide leadership within their communities based on this understanding. Whether one feels called to a professional ministry or another profession is truly secondary. Both categories of students will benefit from the academic and experiential education at UTS.

I think the academic traditions at UTS prepare graduates for at least two distinct directions: One is for positions as professional or academic leaders who may expect to find placement within existing Unification Movement institutions and businesses. The other is preparation for what I would call "spiritual entrepreneurship" and/or lay ministry. The latter group is for those who embrace the values of Unificationism, but feel called to pursue something else vocationally. This second category is often overlooked. I pay special attention to it, because I am in that category and because I heard Father speak about it so directly when I was a student. I feel that I am called to bear witness to this. The road to broad cultural influence is embraced by this paradigm and suggests many avenues in which we can affect change in the world around us. For this reason, even though it does not have a clear career path, I find the possibility of spiritual entrepreneurship so exciting. Also, one doesn't have to know definitely which path they will pursue at the outset of the UTS program. I strongly recommend the MRE for those that choose the latter direction.

Mr. Chad Hoover resides in Ithaca, NY with his wife, Anne (UTS 79) and their 4 children. He is the Principal of Charles Hoover Architect, Ithaca, NY. Chad has served as a UTS Board of Trustee member since 1998.

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