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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greg jonesThe Reverend Dr. Greg B. JonesThe black church’s response to police brutality and the history of the struggle for justice will be explored in a presentation on Friday, July 31st at 6:30 p.m. at the Unification Theological Seminary, 4 W. 43rd St, in New York City during its Open House.

The presenter is The Reverend Dr. Greg B. Jones, an adjunct faculty member at the Unification Theological Seminary and a member of the pastoral staff of the Canaan Baptist Church of Christ in Harlem where he serves as pastor in charge of Christian Education and Ministries.  Dr. Jones, who holds degrees from Hunter College (CUNY), Princeton Theological Seminary, and The Theological School of Drew University, previously served as pastoral aide to civil rights icon, the Reverend Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker, Pastor Emeritus at Canaan.

“My talk on Friday afternoon will center on the connections between the history of social activism in the Black church and the contemporary struggle for justice in light of recent events of police brutality,” he tells

Each of the courses that Jones teaches reflects contemporary issues and the needs of today’s theological and ministerial students. His courses include Models of Black Theology, the Theology of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, and Teaching the Bible as Liberating Word.  Students from a variety of faith backgrounds are expected to attend the open house where they will meet alumni and UTS faculty at the Seminary’s New York City extension center.

The Open House event also will inform guests about the strong interfaith learning environment of UTS. UTS is one of the few accredited theological graduate schools in the United States that is interfaith, according to Dr. Kathy Winings, UTS Vice President for Academic Affairs, who also noted the tremendous diversity of the student body. Founded by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Mrs. Moon 40 years ago this year, approximately one half of the students in the 2014-2015 academic year were from faith backgrounds outside the Unification faith. Many are earning their degrees in Master of Divinity as preparation for careers in pastoring churches, chaplaincy and diverse creative ministries. Others are seeking the Master of Arts in Religion in order to work in the field of conflict resolution or in nonprofit leadership. Still others complete the Master of Religious Education degree to pursue a teaching ministry or to build a career in peacebuilding.

“UTS has been a great help to allow me to fellowship with other nations and their cultures,” says Apostle Nabiyah Baht Yehuda, UTS M.Div. ‘2015. Rev Yehuhda has founded a ministry called “the Chamber Room Experience” in New York.

“The training I received at UTS has helped me birth a successful ministry and form a healthy body of believers. The fact that UTS had a fusion of Jewish, Christians and Muslims in the same classroom appealed to me, too,” says Rev. Raymond Dyer, pastor of the First Church of Illumination in Harlem. He adds: “The future shines bright; is pregnant with excitement and it is largely due to the training for Master of Divinity I received from the seminary.” Rev. Dyer graduated with a Master in Divinity from UTS in 2012.

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