We are in the middle of a very significant year: September 20, 2015 was the beginning of the 40th year of theological education at UTS. I hope that you will join with me this anniversary year by contributing to the Annual Fund and the 40/40 Campaign.

Donors make bequests to make a difference after they are gone. Mary Goodman, a New Haven laundress who bequeathed her life savings (nearly $5,000) to Yale Divinity School to provide scholarships for African Americans, was especially successful in this regard: her bequest supported the school’s first black students, and continues to support students today, nearly 144 years later.

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bcsf 2015As the "dog days" of summer kick into high gear, the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) prepares to host the 11th annual Blessed Culture Sports Festival (BCSF) being held from Wednesday, August 5 through Sunday, August 9.

As the popularity of the Festival continues to grow year-by-year, so do the number of participants. At least 700 people are expected to join this year's festivities, and that number could reach as high as 1,000 on Saturday, when the Festival celebrates Family Day, which attracts the largest number of participants in the five-day event.

Two of the newest events this year include an LAN (Local Area Network) contest where participants bring their own computers and connect to a larger, main computer set-up and compete against one another. The other addition will be the creation of a BCSF Village in the old "tent city" location where young artists will display and sell their wares.

"There will be lights set up over the village area," said Jonathan Stupple, UTS/BCSF coordinator and grounds manager for the event. "This will give a more inviting and intimate feeling and a greater sense of village and community. There is no fee for the artists, so this is the best experience artistically and everyone will benefit from this arrangement."

Stupple and the UTS work team began making preparations for the event in late June and have gone nearly non-stop for the past four weeks. BCSF staff members will start arriving on Saturday to set up areas for the various activities and prepare for the Opening Ceremony, which will take place Tuesday evening at 7 P.M.

Also, parking areas will now be cordoned off and separated from the general population, allowing participants to move about more freely.

"We should have at least 300 cars, and on Family Day as many as 350," said Stupple, who will be working his third Festival event. Although only 22, he's basically in charge of all the outdoor logistics of the Festival. "I'm responsible for the parking, trash, and grounds. I even take care of the port-o-potties."

When asked about taking on all these responsibilities, Stupple was thankful for the opportunity. "It's a very fulfilling job," he said. "It's nice to be able to coordinate with the BCSF people. They are all really nice people. And the hard work is worth it. I see the joy and rejuvenation people feel when they come here. I have a good skill set and I'm glad I've been given this opportunity by UTS to gain all these skills. It's something I'm extremely grateful for."

Tickets will be available at the door for those who have not bought them in advance. The cost for the five-day event is $75; single day tickets are $25. The BCSF is still looking to raise $3,500 to cover the event: Learn more at BCSF XI 2015

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