Degree awardees from Bachelor of Arts to Doctor of Ministry got their marching orders to go forth and be the light of the world on Saturday at the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) in Barrytown, New York.

Faculty and students of Barrytown College said goodbye to each other Friday, May 22nd, with their signature elements of emo, film, PowerPoint, poetry and – oh yes -- group dancing. By all appearances, a lot of memories had been packed into a short two-year span in which Unification Theological Seminary had launched its first undergraduate program.

“Eternal Life 101” was the message at the monthly interfaith chapel service in December. On Wednesday the seminary welcomed the Reverend Susan Lunning (Presbyterian), Director of Chaplaincy Services at Westchester Medical Center (WMC), a major regional hospital about seventy miles south of the Barrytown campus. In her sermon, the Reverend Lunning used the Biblical story of the “Good Samaritan” to draw lessons for compassionate living. After her talk, students, faculty and administration joined Reverend Lunning for lunch and discussed the vocation of ministry in the hospital setting.

Reverend Lunning’s compassion has been demonstrated in the hospitality she has shown to students and faculty from UTS. The seminary is developing a relationship with WMC to advance ministerial competencies of students and faculty through Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). Currently, one UTS-Barrytown Divinity student is enrolled in CPE at WMC in order to fulfill his field education requirement. In January, a UTS faculty member is entering a hospital chaplaincy residency at WMC, an intensive training program which leads towards professional recognition as a Board Certified Chaplain.

WMC is one of over 350 CPE centers in the United States accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE). Next year UTS will be joining 113 other seminaries across the United States as member institutions of the ACPE, united in a shared commitment to professionalism in ministry. This semester, UTS established five $1200 scholarships to support students who have been accepted into CPE programs.

Reverend Lunning is the fourth minister from the region to visit UTS in the Fall 2007 semester. Past ministers include the Reverend Hans Hallundbaek (Christian) , founder of Prison Communities International, the Geshe Lama Wangdue (Buddhist) from Tibet , and Imam Salahuddin Muhammad (Muslim) , spiritual leader of the Masjid Al Ikhlas Mosque in Newburgh, New York.

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