As the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) reaches its 40th year, faculty and staff are preparing for an unprecedented, three-day event to mark this milestone. That includes graduation of undergraduate as well as graduate students, a reception, a thinkers’ conference for alumni on Sunday and Monday, a documentary slide show, and an open discussion with President Hugh Spurgin– all at the Barrytown campus where the Founder began the school in September 1975.

A visitor to the chapel of the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) in Barrytown today will open the door, and the first thing that hits him or her will be the light. His or her eyes will be drawn to shafts of light streaming down from 16 brand new, double-paned, tinted, argon-gas filled, segmented windows.

“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.

Barrytown campus

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