Unification News for May 1996


Hometown in Manchester

by Alfred O'Connor-Birmingham, England

It has been a very long time since I last wrote to UNews. Nevertheless, as a subscriber and reader, I have felt continually in touch with-and inspired by-its various contributors of articles over the months and years.

At long last, I write to share briefly some of the main events in which I have been involved since graduating from UTS in '88 and returning to live in Britain.

Upon my return, I was initially engaged in the Tribal Messiahship/Hometown providence in Manchester. I worked as a part-time lecturer in social science at South Manchester College. I also participated in outreach to Christian ministers and in interfaith activity on a local level. I served for about two years as a publicly elected representative on the Race Sub-Committee of Manchester City Council.

For over a year, I searched long and hard to find a university department somewhere in Britain which was both willing and able to supervise a Ph.D. degree thesis by research into aspects of Unification theology. Eventually, through Prof. Ursula King, I was put in touch with Prof. Paul Badham at Saint David's University College (SDUC), University of Wales at Lampeter.

Research on my thesis, entitled "An Understanding of Sin and Redemption in Traditional Christianity and in Unification Theology," began in 1990.

My wife Marie, our two young children and I moved to the city of Birmingham in August '91. Since then, I have been working as a full- time science teacher at a high school, having trained as a science teacher many years previously.

Studying on a part-time basis, while using Birmingham University library for research material, I periodically commuted to SDUC for meetings with my advisor. Incidentally, I understand that Dr. David S.C. Kim had studied at the University of Wales (at Swansea) between 1954 and 1956, in the earliest pioneering days of the Unification Church in Britain!

At last, after about five and a half years, with the loving Heart and strength of Heavenly Father, the sacrificial support of my wife and family and a sustaining vision inspired by True Parents, I was able successfully to attain my Ph.D. degree-in November 1995. Praise be to God!

Incidentally, the "viva voce" took place on 28 November 1995. The one hour ten minute interview was of such "absorbing" intensity that it almost seemed to pass by in less than ten minutes!

I am also one of the assistant pastors of the Unification Church in Birmingham, with some involvement in interfaith work. Marie is the Sunday School coordinator for the region, and she has developed a Sunday School curriculum which has been very much appreciated by children and parents alike in Birmingham and beyond.

Words are not adequate to describe my sense of gratitude to Heavenly Father and True Parents, for it is due to their unfailing Hearts of love and sacrificial example that I was able to persevere to the end.

My sincere hope is that Unificationists, traditional Christians and others will be able to gain something of value from their reading of this study and that it will serve to stimulate further research.


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