The Master of Religious Education (MRE) program at the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) is a prime example of how religious studies are pioneering new roads in the implementation and practice of both teaching and learning and also interfaith peace building.

I was born in the Netherlands, stereotypically known as the land of windmills, tulips, bicycles and cheese. Among intellectual types, the Netherlands is also known as the land of Rembrandt and Van Gogh, of Erasmus and Spinoza.

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kimsJongdug Kim and his familyUTS alumni in Columbus, Ohio may have started a new tradition. On Friday night (July 31, 2015) 7 alumni gathered at the Akai Hana restaurant for a  warm, simple, and great evening. UTS Director of Advancement and Communications, Robin Graham (UTS’80) was in Columbus for a Ron Pappalardo “First Blessing” seminar that weekend.

With not very much notice Robin asked Josef Schrattenecker (UTS’91) to invite the local alumni for a meal together. It was quite short notice but 5 alumni from Columbus and the 2 alumni from out of town were able to share and learn more about each other. Attending were Robin and Josef, also Wiveka Lamson (UTS’84), Jongdug Kim (2 years at UTS), Charles Kannal (UTS’96), Ron Pappalardo (1 year at UTS),  and Frank Sanchez (UTS’01).

Whenever an invitation comes from UTS there may be some suspicion: “what’s the catch.” I think all were relieved that Robin Graham had no secret agenda. Tales were told, life stories shared. All survived the evening without having to go fund raising or to rally around a new campaign. What did happen is that all seven alumni came to the seminar that weekend and really deepened bonds of heart and appreciation for one another.

I hope that the Columbus alumni meet again every few months and share like we did over a dinner (a really great restaurant). Increased fellowship can lead to greater awareness of each other’s talents and abilities. It was also fun and enjoyable.

  • lamsons

    Wiveka and Michael Lamson

  • kannals

    Charles and Misako Kannal

  • sanchez

    Frank Sanchez and family

  • Josef and Tomiyo Schrattenecker

    Josef and Tomiyo Schrattenecker

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