Unification News for February 2002
UTS Manhattan Extension Center Pioneers a New Era
by Chris Corcoran
Reverend Andrew Compton, pastor for the Manhattan Family Church, is one church member who has caught the UTS spirit. He is currently enrolled in two classes at the UTS Manhattan Extension Center, both conveniently taught in the evening.
"Five years ago I began taking classes at the Barrytown campus," said Rev. Compton, who has a Bachelor of Arts degree, " but the commute was too much for me. The Manhattan UTS site is extremely convenient."
Rev. Compton is currently taking a course on Islam and a course on the Letters of Paul. "As a pastor, I need the educational background so I can be effective for my congregation. Also, when doing outreach work and Iím asked to speak publicly, it really helps to have the proper credentials," said Rev. Compton. He related one experience from a few years ago where he was asked to speak at a college campus and it was abruptly canceled at the last minute when they found out he lacked any educational credentials.
"Iím really enjoying the classes. The student body is about two thirds non-Unificationists, so I can more readily understand where other Christians are coming from," said Rev. Compton. Last term he took classes in Childrenís Ministry and Church History. "I really wanted to unite with Fatherís call for members to be educated at UTS," he said.
The UTS Manhattan Extension Center, now in its second year, is flourishing with 50 students enrolled and an average of ten courses offered each term. Its location at church headquarters on 43rd Street is especially convenient for metro-area Unificationists who want to broaden their knowledge and empower their vision.
"UTS gives you the tools needed to respond to Godís call more effectively," said Dr. Kathy Winings, Dean of the Center and a driving force behind its success. "To all my brothers and sisters out there who may be hesitating about taking courses, I say, donít wait any longer, you can do this, catch the spirit!"
Classes cost $525 for a three-credit course and you can take up to 18 credits, even if you donít have a college degree. You can visit the UTS web site at www.uts.edu to learn more details about the program.
Results of a recent survey by the Seminary show that many Unificationists living in the New York metro area are interested in taking courses at the Extension Center. Nearly 250 church members from the tri-state area filled out the survey, which sought to determine the likelihood of members taking courses and if so, when. The survey also asked what the major obstacles are in preventing people from enrolling.
Forty three people reported that it was very likely they would take classes at some point. Another 43 responded they were somewhat likely to take classes. When asked what the major obstacles were preventing them from enrolling, the top three reasons given were lack of a college degree, lack of money and no spare time.
Ms. Elisa Flore Alvarado, the admissions officer at the Extension Center, said that if you do not have a college degree, courses can be taken as a non-matriculated student. She counsels that now is the time to begin saving if you wish to enroll for the spring and fall semesters. Courses are conveniently scheduled in the evening and on Saturdays, so the busy working person can still participate.
Ninety eight percent of respondents concurred that a Seminary education is relevant. Indeed, courses are especially relevant in todayís fractured and turbulent world. It has been reported in the news that since the September 11 attack, many adults are enrolling in college courses with a spiritual component because they offer deeper answers and give depth and clarity in these stressful times.
Twenty church members reported that they are already taking courses at the Extension Center. Of those who said they are likely to take classes in the future, five said they will start this year, 15 next year and 41 will start in 2003 or after. Ms. Alvarado hopes members donít put it off too long as these courses are spiritually nourishing and help expand your thinking and your actions.
An Ecumenical School
Both the UC and the non-UC current students have remarked repeatedly how grateful they are to our True Parents for creating such an ecumenical, inter-religious seminary, and for their generosity in helping them make a dream come true with a seminary degree.
Students at the Extension Center represent a wide range of Christian denominations in New York and New Jersey, including the Baptist Church, the Church of God in Christ, the African Methodist Episcopal and AME Zion, Pentecostal churches, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Times Square Church, the Church of God, and numerous independent Christian churches. Their common passion is to become true pastors for God in their communities.
There are diverse concentrations of study that the UTS Extension Center offers to students, such as Church Growth, Ecumenism and Inter-religious Dialogue, and Youth Ministry. The UTS Extension Center is a dynamic and exciting place to be in New York. In fact, the Extension Center will have its first graduates within a few terms. This means that within a short period of time, there will be many Christian clergy and religious educators who will be alumni of UTS, and together with our Unificationist graduates, will be joined in a heartfelt relationship. Through this, UTS is pioneering a new era of preparing leaders and ministers for God's on-going Providence.
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