UTS Graduates Ministering in Metro NYC
- by Cabot W. Peterson (UTS ‘92)
BARRYTOWN - When someone is considering classes at the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS), they may very well ask, “What is the value of a degree from UTS?” Recently, the Alumni Relations team at UTS has been exploring that question with our graduates, and has come up with some surprising answers.
We decided to gather information about the varieties of pastoral ministry being performed by UTS alumni/ae in and around the metropolitan New York City area. We came up with a list of 25 ministers/pastors who are actively working in their chosen profession within various faiths and churches.
The largest number, fifteen, are working with the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), the worldwide association that encompasses various religious, social and educational organizations. Of the 15, six are directly associated with either the Elizabeth (NJ) Family Church, or with the Clifton (NJ) Family Church - each with around 300 church members.
Just as interesting, is the fact that of the 25 metro area ministers, sixteen have graduated with a UTS degree within the past 10 years, the Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree being the most popular among all the graduates, with a total of nine. At UTS the year 2012 was particularly productive; 5 pastors on our list graduated that year with an MDiv degree, and are now ministering in the metro area. There are also four Doctor of Ministry graduates who are actively working in the area.
Of the 25 total, the remaining ten graduates have either planted their own independent churches, or are affiliated with more established mainstream churches. All-in-all, each of the graduates on our list has found a way to serve God and their communities in their own unique way.
Over the next few weeks we will continue to highlight the success stories of alumni who have launched their careers in the metro NYC area. Their stories may challenge others to step forward and listen for God’s call to minister. A promising first step in that path and a future career may be UTS. Learn some more about the UTS difference.
Each UTS program strives to balance theological instruction with training in practical skills. Grounding in the basic theological disciplines of Scriptural Studies, Living Traditions and Theology is necessary to understand the complexities and nuances of religious discourse, and to develop an empathetic understanding of the beliefs of others. One pillar of the bridge to interfaith understanding is thorough grounding in one’s own faith; the other pillar is familiarity with the other traditions, whether in the Christian family or spanning the world’s religions. The theological disciplines address both pillars.
Professional courses equip students with practical skills for diverse forms of ministry. Contemporary religious leaders must be equipped with a variety of skills necessary for their multi-faceted role as pastor, teacher, counselor and public figure. The Ministry and Religious Education curricula include a broad range of courses that develop student abilities both theoretically and practically. through practical experience. Elective courses provide opportunities to concentrate in specific areas of interest and ministry, including pastoral counseling, conflict resolution, church growth, character education and management.
Field Education is an integral part of the UTS programs, enabling students to integrate theoretical knowledge with practical experience in a variety of pastoral and educational roles. Internship placements are in professional settings under the supervision of trained supervisors. They may involve full-time apprenticeship in a church or non-profit setting for a period of up to 3 months. A new feature of the program is Clinical Pastoral Education, where students fulfill internships as chaplains in hospital or prison settings for the purpose of becoming a licensed chaplain.
Given the powerful influence of the American media globally, ministers and church workers around the world are faced with the task of communicating the unchanging truth of God in a world saturated by American culture. For this reason, many international students come to UTS in order to receive theological education within an American cultural milieu. This adds to the rich diversity of the UTS community.
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