The mood of the first class of UTS at the Clinton Maryland satellite center was upbeat and veering toward the heights of optimism at its first convocation on Monday, Sept. 28th. The celebration began with prayer of blessing offered by Bishop David Billings, presiding Bishop, United Fellowship of Churches International and UTS Board of Trustees member.

The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) provides an overview of enrollment, students, faculty, and finances at member schools. Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) is not yet a member of ATS, but our presidents and administrative staff have been welcomed at several ATS conferences over the last 15 years.

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October 20th, 2007 began just like any normal day. The weather was wonderful and everyone was in high spirits as we prepared for what to me was to be the most exiting day in UTS thus far. We went on a spectacular one-day wilderness hike exploring some of the region's most spectacular mountain ranges and breathtaking view points.

Our journey began at the Minnewaska State Park, where we soon split into two teams and headed towards the nature trail. At the beginning the groups walked side by side, but after a couple of minutes we split up as we took a narrow path under a canopy of trees in a single file heading towards one of the view points. Standing on the edge of the cliff at the escapement overlooking the beautiful valley with birds gliding over the tree tops down the valley, we had a moment to appreciate the beauty of creation.

As soon as the second team arrived the first team headed to Gertrude’s Nose, moving along the escarpment. Upon arrival, several people took time for a moment of prayer as we were waiting for the second team to filter in. After lunch, we read a message about walking meditation together and cheered before beginning a one hour walking meditation.

We started out on a narrow path going down into a valley and then through a forest. Some time later we arrived at the top of Millbrook Mountain feeling inspired by experiencing God through creation as we took in the expansive view of the valley below and the hills across.

On the final portion of the trail we walked in silence listening to the sound of water flowing on a stony river bed. Our journey concluded at the beautiful lake side on the top of a hill. From here both teams walked together sharing experiences as we headed back to the Seminary. It was a beautiful day to spend together in nature.

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