bool(true) Leave a Lasting Legacy to be Remembered

Bridging Religious and Cultural Divides

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You want to support the long-term financial strength of the Unification Theological Seminary but may not be in a position to make a gift right now. The solution may be a bequest, a charitable bequest. The recent deaths of a couple of UTS alumni alerted me to let our readers and supporters know that a bequest is one of the easiest gifts to make. With the help of an advisor, you can write in your will specifying a gift be made to UTS as part of your estate plan.

A bequest can deliver a specific gift to UTS e.g."I bequeath the sum of Ten Thousand ($10,000) Dollars to Unification Theological Seminary". Alternatively, a bequest can deliver a percentage of the balance remaining in your estate after taxes and expenses have been paid e.g. "I bequeath Ten (10%) percent of the residue of my estate to Unification Theological Seminary".

The first UTS class began in 1975, already over 40 years ago, and it is likely that we will see several alumni, supporters, and friends of UTS passing on in the next few years.

Many students arrive at UTS already later in their lives. They earn their MA, MRE, MDiv, and DMin degrees after several years of previous work or mission experience. Others earn their degree after retirement, exploring later in life their passion and interest in theology, religion, and history; pursuing further knowledge and greater understanding.

But let me tell you more about the two alumni who recently passed on.

The first I know personally, the second I do not know personally but I have read many good testimonies about him.


 

Isidore Munyakazi (1952-2016)

isidore munyakazi profileIsidore Munyakazi (UTS '06), who lived in Kigali, Rwanda describes himself: “Linguist, Former Diplomat, Cattle and Chicken Raiser, Above All I Am Peace Activist.”

Isidore was a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. The following excerpt comes from The Graves Are Not Yet Full  by Bill Berkeley 

“I was very much surprised,” said the man with the quizzical eyes. “Looking at my neighbors, I thought they were friends. I was very much surprised that they were among the people who came to try to kill us.”

Isidore Munyakazi was forty-two years old and balding. He wore a dirty blue shirt and faded brown, threadbare trousers and rubber flip-flops. It was June 1994. We were sitting on benches in the filthy remains of an abandoned corner store, in Kabuga, the rubble-strewn, rebel-held town on the outskirts of Kigali….. Rwanda’s genocide was still unfolding in the south. The climactic siege of Kigali was under way. Hundreds of dazed survivors of the massacres, some of them wrapped in gauze that barely concealed their ghastly machete wounds, loitered amid the wreckage of their lives in the looted and gutted ruins nearby. Isidore and a friend of his, Bonaventure Niyibizi, both Tutsis, were trying to explain to me how tens of thousands of their fellow countrymen could have been lured, incited or coerced into participating in mass murder.

Isidore, a career civil servant, had survived with his wife and children but lost twenty immediate relatives...

Sitting now in that abandoned store in Kabuga, I put the old familiar question to Isidore and Bonaventure: How is such a horror possible?

“We cannot understand it ourselves,” Isidore conceded. “We are still at a primitive level,” he said, “where people think they have to resolve a misunderstanding with a machete.”

(The Graves Are Not Yet Full  by Bill Berkeley)

An interview with Isidore Munyakazi is also featured in The Book of Calamities: Five Questions About Suffering and Its Meaning by Peter Trachtenberg

Isidore invited me to attend a presentation about the Rwandan genocide held at Vassar College in 2005. The presentation showed the terrible brutality. Incomprehensible. Though I could feel a little of Isidore’s pain, I doubt I can ever fully know his suffering. I have never seen Isidore smile.

On his Facebook page a friend of Isidore has written:


“A person that departs from this earth never truly leaves, for they are still alive in our hearts and minds, through us, they live on. The problem is not the time we will last at this earth rather the legacy we left behind. Anyway words are not merely adequate for your impressive and indebted engagements, nevertheless this is to imply my extreme loyalty and ultimate salute to you. RIP”


Join me in wishing God speed to Isidore. Let us pray that his heart quickly finds peace and healing.

 


wesley samuel profileWesley Samuel (1938-2016)

Wesley is one of those students who came to UTS later in life. He graduated with an MRE degree in 2005 at the age of 67!!! 

Born in Quitman, Georgia, Wesley was raised on the farm in a Christian home with 5 brothers and 7 sisters. The family worked hard as sharecroppers, growing watermelon, cotton, and tobacco. His father was the most religious one in his family. He spent many nights doing prayer meetings with the family and teaching the Bible before bedtime and told stories about his life.

Wesley was very smart at a young age, many times his teacher would call on him to help others to count or recite their ABCs. He helped his older siblings in their studies. He was also stubborn and determined to do just the right things. It was the tradition for everyone to join the church when they were 11 years old but Wesley did not join his family’s church until 13. He said, “I had no intention to join the church when I didn’t feel like I should, or under pressure.”

Wesley’s intelligence and determination helped him pass through many challenges as the first African American member of the Unification Church. He developed great patience and a sensitive heart to show grace to others.

Wesley came to know about Sun Myung Moon in 1966 and with great love, endurance and loyalty followed in his footsteps for more than 50 years. His diligence to study the Bible, the Divine Principle and Sun Myung Moon’s speeches developed in him a deep insight and understanding. His patience and kindness made him a most beloved husband, father, and brother to brothers and sisters of all races throughout the world. Wesley has served in various capacities in the New York Unification Church and participated in many missionary activities over the years: in Thailand, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Albania and Liechtenstein.

In 1961 Wesley married his beloved wife Gladys, and in 1969 they received the marriage blessing within the Unification tradition. They have six children, eighteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Quotes about Wesley:


“A special person who had the gift of inspiring and uplifting all of us who were his juniors.”

“Wesley truly is an amazing brother! Always a bright spot in my memory. Best wishes to his beautiful family!”


Please keep these beloved UTS alumni in your prayers. They are two good people who exemplify UTS values because of their life of service to others.

As you reflect on the goodness of their lives, please join with me and consider a bequest to UTS as part of your own legacy.

There are several options when it comes to making a bequest. As mentioned above, you could bequeath a fixed $ amount, or a % of your estate. If you would like to learn more about making a bequest to UTS, then please contact r.graham@uts.edu and you can receive information about bequests (the correct language to use in a will) and estate planning. UTS recommends, however, that you get independent expert advice from a professional when dealing with matters of finance and estate planning.

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