On Saturday May 19th, many members from the first graduating class returned to UTS to celebrate their 30th anniversary. In addition to the reunion dinner on Saturday evening, activities on Sunday included an early morning walk on Father’s Trail, a Memorial Service for deceased class members Lokesh Mazumdar and Daikon Ohnuki, and a breakfast with President Hendricks. It was a beautiful experience with everyone sharing about the past years, which is a landmark to the establishment of a new tradition that future 30th anniversary celebrants will be able to build upon.
Love lives on for the Class of '77
"It was like a dream, a taste of heaven," these heartfelt words spoken by Takashige Sakozono described his experience of the Class of '77 30th Reunion held at UTS over graduation weekend, May 19th and 20th. Bento Leal expressed it this way: " it was a truly marvelous, excellent, stupendous time we shared together this weekend! It went way beyond what I had imagined and hoped for.
To see brothers and sisters, many of whom I hadn’t seen for years, even since our graduation 30 years ago, was truly, truly special. And to also feel deep inside how that class, along with the professors and support staff, are really a “family”, no matter what paths or “callings” we each pursued since graduation—some closer to our founders and the movement, and some now more distant—that regardless, when we see each other face to face, and look inside those now wrinkled eyes, and see the graying hair and paunchy tummies, we see the same twinkle and specialness of each person and what they mean to us as when we last saw them so many years ago. And also to think that for many of us, that 21-month experience (Sept. 1975 to June 1977) occurred at such a significant crossroads and seminal time of our lives, not only within the church, but in general, it truly is phenomenal. We shared something very special, and we realize we are bound together in heart for eternity.
Let’s keep this reunion thing going! As I mentioned at the dinner, I feel the 2 years at UTS were the “academic” preparation training, the next 30 years have been the “practical” put-it-to-use training, and this weeked was another "graduation ceremony" to launch us into that next productive phase of our lives in service to the world, for we are now that very age Father was when he commissioned us way back in 1977. We're at the starting line one more time, and now off and running! I feel young!
Yanni and Jaime Maniatis expressed their gratitude for the event by saying, "There was magic in the air as we "saw" each other again for the first time! It was a very special event. It will remain in our hearts for a very long time."