Unification News for March 2001

Springtime in Barrytown

by Shawn Byrne

Spring is here. The crocuses and forsythia have awakened from their winter sleep. Spiritually, UTS Barrytown is also stirring and budding out in new ventures. One of these is that the seminary is throwing its doors wide open to welcome guests who would like to come for refreshment, relaxation, meditation, personal and family vacation or retreats, organized and unorganized. We welcome you to come.

Perhaps you will come to Barrytown by the New York State Thruway, in which case you will get there quickly. And then you will have saved for another day the experience of the fine colonial homes that give so much character to the area. To mind come the riverside estate mansions of FDR, the Vanderbilts and Eleanor Roosevelt’s Vallkill at Hyde Park, as well as the Mills Mansion at Staatsburg. Further north you can visit Clermont of Livingston fame. If you're lucky enough to be there on July 4th, you and your family can enjoy the delicious treat of picnicking on the green sward that slopes sharply to the Hudson River in the company of hundreds of other families. There's plenty of room to play and to bask in the sunset behind the lofty Catskills, tracing paths of gold across the river. You can enjoy the banks of fire lilies and the multitude of pleasure boats on the river. And when darkness falls, you will be treated to one of the best fireworks displays you are likely to see. Neighbor to Barrytown is the stately Blithewood at Bard College, Montgomery Place where you can pick your own fruit, and Massena House at Barrytown itself. Travel south from Kingston and visit some of the existing or former monasteries and convents that line route 9W. And in Barrytown itself treat yourself to the luxury of a stroll with your family on Poet's Walk. Enjoy its open fields, its groves, its rustic seats, its harmony. Follow its trail to where it drops steeply off and offers a panoramic view of the Hudson River north towards the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, south past the leap-frogging arches of the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge and westwards to the massif of the Catskill Mountains.

You may want to take a cruise on the Hudson from Rondout. Or take your children to Jeto's ballpark and go-cart center near Kingston. Or enjoy the thrills and spills of the Zoom Flume Waterpark in East Durham. Or visit the fine New York State Museum in Albany.

In the town of Red Hook itself, you can relax in the ambiance of farms with their fields of corn and herds of cattle grazing in verdant pastures beside pristine creeks. There are plenty of orchards, some where you can pick your own fruit. You can find some vineyards, too. If you come in the Fall you will be treated to the flight and honking of flocks of geese as they arrow their migrant path overhead.

The nearby Catskill Mountains are a wonderful recreational resort area. Up there you can easily find trails that will take you to the top of Overlook Mountain, for instance. You can visit the Tibetan Monastery near its summit. Thee are secluded lakes like North Lake where you and your family can swim off nice beaches, boat, fish, barbecue, play or camp overnight in your own charming "keyhole" campsite under the great pine trees. And you can hike its trails which follow the contours of the mountain and present to your eyes a feast of forested and fertile landscape threaded through by the gleaming Hudson River. There also you can discover torrents tumbling down aboriginal mountainsides, waterfalls, cascades, flumes and rock-encased natural swimming pools. You can cook your hot dogs and hamburgers on rocks in the rushing creeks or wade between them to cool your feet. Smell the pine, beech and maple trees that overhang and offer shade. There are deep pools at the feet of foaming waterfalls into which you can see the very adventurous plummet thirty or forty feet from cliff or tree. There are mysterious canyons carved by mountain creeks. In fall contemplate the gold and russet colors of the trees. In winter these mountains are paradise for skiers and snow-boarders.

All of this is simply the frame. And within it is set the work of art that is Barrytown itself. As you enter its main gate, you may notice the rocks set there by former president David S. C. Kim to commemorate True Parents and the members of the True Family. You will drive by the lawn where, on summer evenings, you may see deer graze or, in the fall, watch them feast on apples and peaches fallen from the fruit trees there. You will notice the river through the trees to the west and beyond it the comforting presence of the ever-watchful mountains. In the fields you will sometimes spy wild turkeys. There’s often a woodchuck going about his business. More rarely you may see a shy coyote, here and there a rabbit, a raccoon and--it must be admitted--an occasional skunk. There are plenty of squirrels and chipmunks to entertain you with their amusing antics and choirs of birds are always there to sing for you.

Let's look around some of Barrytown’s 250 acres. As you drive up the rise to the parking circle, you will of course see the seminary building on your right and Massena House on your left. We will return to them. For now, let's look around the grounds. Just past the seminary building near the "Lourdes" grotto erected by the Christian Brothers who originally built Barrytown, we come to the Rock of Decision, a boulder that marks the place where Father in 1974, after much consideration, decided to buy Barrytown to be a seminary to train leaders for the Unification movement. This is now a popular place to pray. The great overarching trees serve as a canopy that opens to the starlit sky as you pray at night. There are shaded benches nearby in the grove. And, a little beyond, the soccer field. Here and elsewhere you will notice trees planted and dedicated by each graduating class.

Let's follow the rustic roadways past barns and residences and down the steep incline to the pond, monument to the strenuous efforts of the early students who scooped it out. And home today to carp and perch, to geese and duck. There you can fish if you like. There you can skate in wintertime. And there are dedicated rocks and seats to remind you that this is where Father often sat and talked or simply contemplated the peaceful pond. Past the pond are trails radiating in different directions, uphill and downhill through glade, field and forest. The thickets teem with white-tailed deer; you can see them in the quiet evenings. Mother’s Trail is nearby, meandering through the wood, criss-crossing the rushing brook.

Let's retrace our steps past Apple Cottage and Harvest House, past the swimming pool towards Father's Trail. You will notice the great boulder that marks its entrance, dedicated by graduating students. Walk down the shaded trail under the forest canopy toward the lagoon. Here plump carp plop in the still waters. In wintertime ice-boats skim its frozen surface. Their "sailors" are usually willing to give you a fast and frozen ride. You will notice the railroad embankment that creates the lagoon and, beyond it, the river and mountains. You may often see sailboats and speedboats there. And there are the great tankers carrying their gigantic burdens upriver to Albany or riding high and light as they return. Here is where Father in years gone by sat and directed the hunt for carp in the lagoon. Here is where brothers and sisters plunged through knee-deep mud or paddled above it on their backs to chase and catch the carp stranded at low tide behind the restraining nets. They carried the carp in their arms to shore and transferred them to the pond as symbols of restoration. There are plaques to mark these unforgettable events.

Let's leave the lagoon behind and follow Father's Trail. It zig-zags, descending sharply. Let's stop a while at the "oasis" where a dedicated boulder reminds us that students baked potatoes at a campfire here and ate them with Father who spoke with them for hours. Here as elsewhere around the grounds, there are seats where you may rest, read, converse, pray or meditate. There are even exercise stations for the more energetic. As we continue past here, the trail settles into a quiet woodland walk.

We complete our walk on Father’s Trail where it ends at the Gate House and return to the seminary through the front field. Past Massena House is Dr. Jaekil Park’s "hanging gardens," an area that he and some of the Korean students cleared and planted. It slopes downwards toward the river that glistens silvery through the trees. And it offers a vista of the Catskill Mountains beyond. Further on past the garden and set back from view behind the grotto is a rustic cabin with an outdoor eating area marked by the long "Last Supper" table--a nice, secluded place for a picnic with your family. And nearby is the most wonderful swing a child could imagine.

Let's enter the seminary building now. Actually, there a two buildings parallel to each other, connected by third "causeway" building. The front building facing the entrance circle and looking towards Massena House is now our conference center. It includes guest rooms and dormitories. The rear building continues to be our seminary. To the right as we enter the conference center is the Spartan laundry room. Above it is the health center. Nearby are the offices of the president, vice president and financial comptroller. Over the entrance is the chapel, the heart of Barrytown. In this quiet space made sacred by so many prayers and by True Parents' visits and speeches at Commencement exercises, the limestone altar-table with its suspended halo-ring immediately compel our attention. Set high in the walls are the stained-glass windows for which the chapel was originally designed. Towards the altar, they depict scenes from the life of Jesus. To the rear are scenes from the life of Saint Jean-Baptiste de la Salle, the founder of the Christian Brothers who built Barrytown in the 1930s as a novitiate for aspiring Brothers and a school for boys. Behind us as we turn we cannot help but notice the serene blue stained glass windows in the organ loft. In this chapel, students have been graduated and sent forth to mission for a quarter of a century.

Leaving the chapel, we walk down the stone-flagged corridor to Lecture Hall l. Now it houses an historic exhibition of CAUSA's achievements. Below it is the

Do Jang where students have shed their sweat as they trained in the art and martial spirit of Won Hwa Do and where tears have been shed in prayer by the hundreds attending Reverend Sudo's workshops years ago. Here also many a laugh has been enjoyed at post-graduation concerts. Outside the Do Jang the hallway wall is lined with plaques listing each graduate of UTS. Nearby is the recreation room where you can play a game of ping-pong or pool.

Returning to the entrance, walk with me through the long corridor running past the student lounge, the bookstore, the conference room, the kitchen and into the dining room. This is the "causeway" that links the two main buildings of Barrytown; it's the bar on the "H." Beyond the stairs from the dining room lie the library and its offices. Here, among 54,000 volumes, you can browse peacefully, pursue research or meditate in one of the easy chairs that face the lawn and grove that frame the Rock of Decision. For an energetic change of pace, you can stroll down the corridor, descend the stairs and shoot some hoops in the gymnasium.

Upstairs from the library are the classrooms of the seminary, professors’ offices, administrative offices, students' study rooms, the multi-media center and a computer room, plus some recessed sitting areas. On the upper floors are the students' dormitories. In these areas especially we meet faculty members as well as staff and students from every continent.

This completes our tour of Barrytown. Let's go to the dining room now for a cup of tea or coffee while we talk about what we offer in our conference center.

We are throwing our conference center open to families. We want you to know that, as of now, you can come and stay here for a few days at any time or for a week or so during seminary break periods. Cubicles and some private rooms are available for families in the refurbished dormitories which, as you remember, are no longer part of the seminary but are reserved for conferences and guests. You can come as a couple or as a family, or come alone. You can get your meals in the dining room and use our facilities for recreation. The day is yours to spend as you will. We offer short informal evening programs of a spiritual and pastoral nature which you can avail yourself of if you wish. Later we will offer seminars related to marriage and family. We can do this soon in response to group requests. Or, of course, you can bring your own seminar leaders.

The cost is very reasonable. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to come. Wonderful as the location and its environs are, the best is the spirit and the brothers and sisters here. So — come to Barrytown!

For more information, contact Cliff Yasutake at UTS, 30 Seminary Drive, Barrytown, NY 12507. Tel: 845-752-3026; fax: 845-758-2156; utsfin@valstar.net.

Unification Theological Seminary

Conference and Retreat Center

- Full-service facility; lodging, meals, chapel, library, hiking, recreation

- 250 beautifully contemplative acres on the Hudson

- Breathtaking views of the Catskills

- Supportive spiritual community

- Individuals, families, groups welcome

- Great rates

Call Cliff Yasutake at 845-752-3026 

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