The Master of Religious Education (MRE) program at the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) is a prime example of how religious studies are pioneering new roads in the implementation and practice of both teaching and learning and also interfaith peace building.

I was born in the Netherlands, stereotypically known as the land of windmills, tulips, bicycles and cheese. Among intellectual types, the Netherlands is also known as the land of Rembrandt and Van Gogh, of Erasmus and Spinoza.

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Note: Cabot Peterson will be writing occasionally for the UTS Newsletter. This article introduces Cabot and his family to our readership. He is a UTS alumnus from the Class of 1992. His next assignment is to cover the Blessed Culture Sports Festival (BCSF), August 5-9 at Barrytown. BCSF is an annual event. It was first launched in August 2004 by alumnus, Jin Kwon Kim (UTS’10).

cabot-and-christian-petersonCabot W. Peterson with his son, Christian.Just like that seminal group, The Grateful Dead, I have been on my own version of that “long, strange trip,” beginning in those halcyon days of the 1970s, young, eager, and totally unaware of what lay ahead. My journey may have a familiarity to it, though each person’s journey is distinctive and unique. Sometimes sunshine, sometimes rain, sometimes peaceful and calm, sometimes stormy and turbulent.

Though many of us consider ourselves members of the same faith, we’ve all forged our own individual paths through the tribulations and uncertainties that the path of faith has presented us. In many ways, my story will appear similar to yours, and in other ways totally different and unique.


My faith journey started in New England. In 1974, while living in Vermont, I was invited to a three-day workshop held at a school during Christmas break in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Alternately amazed and confused, I accepted the Divine Principle. Then, quickly, I went from a house in Durham, New Hampshire to a house in Brookline, Massachusetts to Barrytown, New Yorkm arriving in March, 1975 for a series of workshops, culminating with the 120-day workshop given by Rev. Ken Sudo.

As the workshop neared its conclusion most of us were selected to fundraise for the Yankee Stadium rally. After Yankee Stadium I went back to fundraising; the next big project, the Washington Monument rally.

In quick succession, following Washington Monument, I went from fundraising to The News World newspaper in New York, to The Washington Times, back to New York to finish my Bachelor's degree at New York University, to the inaugural Religious Youth Service (RYS) project in the Philippines, to UTS, where I graduated in 1992, to Yekaterinburg, Russia, to Seoul, Korea for my Marriage Blessing at the Olympic Stadium in August of '92.

Following the Blessing ceremony I spent two years in Seoul teaching English as a Second Language before returning to my hometown of Minneapolis with my German wife, Margrit, and our son Christian. Another two-year stint in Minneapolis before heading to Bridgeport, Connecticut and the University of Bridgeport for a short stay, and from there to Tarrytown, New York and finally ending up in Philmont, New York.

Philmont is a small town 25 miles north of Barrytown with one particularly outstanding feature for those interested in politics and intrigue: it's the childhood home of Col. Oliver North, the military man during the Reagan years accused by Congress of illegally sending money from the sale of weapons to the Contras in Nicaragua in their fight against the communist-led government. Although initially found guilty (but later exonerated), the local barber proudly displayed several of his pictures on the walls of his barbershop, including a Time magazine cover prominently placed just above eye level on the far wall as you entered the shop.

From Then to Now... and Beyond

Upon moving to Philmont I resumed my sports writing career first begun at The News World. Over the next five years I worked as a sportswriter and then sports editor at the Catskill Daily Mail, a daily newspaper part of a larger chain that includes the Hudson Register-Star, where fellow UTS alumnus, Jim Dougherty, was the managing editor. Then in 2005, in order to cut costs, some departments of the two papers were combined to form one department. The sports department was one of them – and I was “downsized.”

true-love-is-my-country book-coverWith newspaper circulations on the decline, I decided to fulfill a childhood dream and went to driving school and became an over-the-road (OTR) truck driver. Although not nearly as “romantic” an experience as I thought as a boy, my family was able to survive the “economic collapse” of 2008 and I was continued working until the summer of 2013 when a hospital stay forced me to give up driving.

During my truck driving “down time” I was able to complete a manuscript (as yet unpublished) of my experiences as a boy growing up in America during the 1950s and 1960s, comparing and contrasting the relatively placid and uneventful earlier decade to the turbulent and violent decade that followed.


My wife is also a writer and has published a book based on her experiences growing up, and her work as a kindergarten teacher, in West Germany before Germany’s reunification. True Love is My Country: On the Threshold of the Era of Women, penned under the pseudonym Insa Rose Vermeeren, tells the story of Rose, a young woman whose life begins to fall apart, sending her on a spiritual quest to find not just answers for herself but the fulfillment of true love.

In the midst of her search, however, she realizes that the “democratic” world, in which she has lived all her life, is quickly crumbling around her. She becomes an “exile from democracy,” but still must find a way to survive within this “system” without compromising her beliefs. Moving to England, she meets Jeff, an American who must confront his past while being challenged to live up to Rose's affirmation that the “true liberation for women implies the liberation of men,” and to accept “the changing role for men in the dawning era of women.”

Our son, Christian, a third-year student at the University of Bridgeport pursuing writing and drama, is having a busy summer. A play he wrote as a senior in high school had a reading last month by a group of actors in Hudson, NY.  Currently he is performing in a production of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale here in Columbia County which will run through July 19th. He will finish off his summer with another performance, doing various scenes and soliloquys from Shakespeare's plays for young people on the village green here in Philmont at the end of July and early August. The performances are not only for young people but performed by young people as well.

With the few weeks he has remaining before returning to school, he plans to work, and with a little luck and good timing, hopes to make it to the Blessed Culture Sports Festival at UTS in August.

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