The Words of the Morris Family
Thank You Letter From Awardee
December 19, 2006
Marilyn Morris a recipient of the Alumni Award for Distinguished Achievement, 2006, could not be with us at the CIA and sent this letter that was read by those who received the awards on her behalf.
Letter from Hospital Chaplain, Marilyn Morris (UTS'83):
Hello to Drs. Yang, Jenkins and Hendricks, and all participants at this annual UTS event in honor of Dr. Young Oon Kim:
I truly regret that I cannot attend this meeting tonight to personally receive this award, inasmuch that I will be missing both fine food and fine folks to share this moment with. I am deeply honored and humbled to have been chosen as a recipient this year. There are so many UTS seminary graduates all around the world doing truly wonderful things, so I'm quite touched and moved to be included in their ranks. I'm also aware that this evening's event is inspired by the life and work of Dr. Young Oon Kim, someone whom I have long admired for her keen theological mind and adventurous spirit. She was often ahead of her counterparts, long down the trail before any had realized that the path was worth investigating. Perhaps in my own particular way, I am a bit similar. For the past several years, I have been off the beaten path, so to speak, and on a rather unruly path not taken by any of my seminary colleagues ... to date.
I must first express a very deep and warm "thanks" to Dr. Tyler Hendricks for taking the time to comprehend my course toward national level board certification as a professional chaplain. With his assistance, Dr. Yang and President Jenkins were able to endorse and commission me as a pastor of the Unification Church to act in this professional capacity. It is a trust between the church and myself that I hold in serious consideration every day that I step into my place of work. I am proud to be a newly board certified chaplain by the Association of Professional Chaplains, the largest aggregate professional organization of chaplains in the United States, and indeed, in the world. It is an honorable profession. It is a profession that incorporates what I find best in Unification principles.
Chaplains are called to serve others in an unconditional manner. We come from our own particular religious traditions, but our service is to everyone regardless of their religious affiliation or no religious affiliation at all. We do not attempt to solve the complexities in life that humans make. Rather, it is our intent to help them encounter their struggle and perhaps, hopefully, if we've practiced our trade well enough, discover that they are not alone. For me, this is the ultimate moment of truth, that in this vast universe, we are not alone. Our founder knew this in the depths of his heart and it is what helped him survive the horrors of war, imprisonment, a death camp and ongoing persecution for most of his life.
I have witnessed this on a smaller scale many times over. When someone realizes they are not alone, life is not as hard, death is not as fearful. It is a mystery that we chaplains try to translate, often with few or no words at all. None of this work would have been possible for me to do had I not been given the opportunity to ponder such things in my head and eventually activate them in my heart. I am speaking of my seminary experience. For me, theology should be the spark that ignites the fire of compassion. If it fails to do this, then it ultimately fails to do anything. For the students who will benefit from this banquet, it is my sincere hope, that they discover in the effort to do theology, the essence of the truth, that they are not alone. And with such presence in their mind, find the path that leads them to be in the midst of humanity with a helping hand and a healing heart.
Thank you once again. May God truly bless all of you,
Chaplain Marilyn Morris
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