hugh spurgin uts president 2017 thumbCongratulations to the class of 2018 for your achievements and success. 

The mission of UTS is to provide a quality theological education for a new generation that will provide leadership in a troubled world.

The value of UTS will be measured by how effective our seminary has been in providing tools for your success in ministry, professional life and interpersonal relationships. During your studies, you learned that the path to personal integrity consists of practicing what our Founders call “True Love,” which means forming a meaningful relationship with God and with all human beings.

By manifesting “true love”, we will help to create mutual respect, compassion, peace and harmony, so that the world may become “One Family under God.” We hope that you as UTS graduates will become leaders who will work to bring that ideal into reality.

UTS graduates are the light of the world. They are the physicians who care for those who are sick – spiritually and physically. Through them, God seeks to realize His will on earth. UTS alumni are ready to be the people through whom others can know, receive and understand the love, truth and heart of God. That is the vision of our Founders.

On July 1, 1977, Rev. Moon spoke at the first annual commencement. He called it “a day for laying a momentous milestone in God’s history of restoration.” Your mission is to carry on UTS’s tradition “to bridge religious and cultural divides.” We are the representatives of God who are destined to spread the gospel of love, truth and peace to people throughout the world. 

After the passing of Rev. Moon, some people wondered whether there would be a future for the Unification movement and our interfaith seminary. Despite many challenges, Dr. HakJa Han Moon, our co-Founder, has been providing strong and inspired leadership. She is asking UTS to raise up a new generation of spiritual leaders and to instill in them the motivation and skills to serve God and humanity.

UTS continues on the path of guiding future leaders in a multi-cultural, multi-faith world. At UTS, we are pursuing interfaith peacebuilding and education for students of all faith traditions.

Our mission is to contribute to peace on earth by educating a new generation of leaders to be people of high moral character who practice goodwill and service to others. The goal is for our UTS alumni to expand inter-religious cooperation worldwide and pass on a legacy of love, peace and hope to future generations. 

We are in the midst of fundamental changes in theological education. A seminary no longer consists of hallowed halls where students separate themselves from the world, commune with God, study Holy Scripture, and prepare to share our knowledge and insights with congregants.

We are called to serve, as well as topray and study. Your seminary education has been designed to help you apply divine principles in the everyday life of those around you. UTS has sought to prepare you to address the issues that we face in the real world.

You are not graduating from a denominational seminary that has a limited, doctrinal perspective. UTS is an interfaith seminary. We stand on Judeo-Christian roots ready to embrace all faiths and all people.I call on you, as ambassadors of peace, to work to unite all races, nations and faiths (or non-faiths) as “One Family under God.”

As UTS alumni, you must rise up, take the lead and light the path for your fellow human beings. Through you, God wants to bless the world as His dwelling place. You are God’s representatives on earth.

Graduates, are you ready to be a channel through whom others can experience the love, peace and heart of God? Good. That means that God will be able to work through you to heal and restore this world.

I want to close with a word on the future of UTS. 

Today’s technology liberates our seminary. We are repositioning UTS as an entrepreneurial, urban seminary offering courses in New York City and worldwide through UTS-Online. Instead of requiring students to attend classes in a brick-and-mortar building, UTS-Online can go where students live and work. 

There are challenges to this method of education, but distance learning is the wave of the future. As Father Moon prophesied in the 1990’s, technology has leveled the playing field of education. The Internet allows young students worldwide to participate in our rich, on-site learning community here in the world’s greatest city.

We are encouraged by the worldwide response to UTS Online. We are inspired that our distance learning courses have resulted in breakthroughs for students worldwide. 

But we go forward with our eyes open. The advantage of an online education are obvious. However, these benefits do not instantly make us perfect pastors and counselors. To balance high tech intoxication, we need a compassionate heart of love for our neighbors and to seek to bring the love of God into the lives of everyone.

How do we love others? It requires that we do the following:

  1. Recognize the healing nature and power of “True Love”. 
  2. Seek out those who need love. 
  3. Fearlessly greet and reach out to those who look lonely.
  4. Be willing to be unselfish and love others unconditionally 
  5. Share your blessings with those whom you meet.   
  6. Share your dreams and ideas, and listen to those of others. 
  7. Be sensitive to the likes and dislikes of others. 
  8. Respond to the feelings of others. 

May God’s blessings rest upon each of you –- the members of the UTS “Class of 2018”. 

Hugh D. Spurgin
President, Unification Theological Seminary