UTS Welcomes Hugh Spurgin as Interim President

The Board of Trustees of the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) voted on January 7, 2015 to appoint Dr. Hugh Spurgin as its Interim President. At the same meeting, the Board thanked the outgoing president, Dr. Richard Panzer, for his valuable contributions to UTS since 2010 and wished him well.

Responses to "the Future of Barrytown" Survey

UTS alumni, friends and supporters will be interested to hear that more than 600 Unificationists have signed the "Keep Barrytown College and UTS" online petition launched 3 days ago by Barrytown College students.

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UTS Through Students' Eyes

Two Unification pastors, both working moms, are newly enrolled as students in the Doctorate in Ministry degree program at UTS, in which students meet in Barrytown for 2 weeks in August and 2 weeks in February, and do the rest of their coursework at home.

Interview with Rev. Mari Curry,

Head Pastor FFWPU of South Florida & Doctoral Student at UTS

Mari CurryRev. Mari Curry1. Tell us about yourself!

I've been living in South Florida for last 3 years, but I also grew up there. Richard and I were blessed in 2005. We have two children: William (3.5)  and Lianna  (2). I've been a pastor for 2 years, but also have had many years of experience in leading youth group and other roles. I also studied for my Masters at Cheong Shim Seminary in Korea. Both Richard and I worked at the GOP program in Seoul.

2. What motivated you to apply to the doctoral program at UTS?

I wanted to fine-tune my skills to become a better pastor. Mentoring from local leaders and church member has helped me, but it didn't expose me to everything that's possible. At UTS I can benefit from the insights and experiences of other pastors and of course the professors.

It's easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and principles when you're dealing with all of the daily challenges and emergencies. You become less effective at problem-solving. At UTS I can gain practical and theoretical skills that will have better long-term results.

3. How has your experience been so far?

It has completely exceeded my expectations. The environment, the classroom experiences and the professors are all wonderful. It's given me time to reflect not only on my pastoring and ministry, but also on my personal spiritual journey as well. It's been like a spiritual retreat for me because we get to spend time engaging with other pastors and get back to the Word, to our theological roots.

After even one class, I already feel that my perspective has broadened beyond just one community. I have universal tools to use wherever God calls me.

I appreciate the way we are approaching the dissertation. Get a chance to reflect on a problem I'm facing in ministry, to think about it, find a solution and implement it. It's very practical. It's real life.

4. What kind of person should consider attending UTS?

Anyone who is serious about developing their ministry and leadership skills and to deepen their theological understanding should consider coming to UTS. It really helps to take a step back from one's immediate responsibilities. It's difficult to learn when you are problem-solving all day. You have an opportunity to communicate with other leaders and reflect on "what I am doing, how I am doing it, where I want to go and how I'm going to get there."

The doctoral program is feasible for working people. You spend 4 weeks out of the year in Barrytown and do the rest of the work at home. That is doable even for a working mom like myself!

5. Any final advice?

We all know that we can be better. This is a way to do that!


Interview with Rev. Marian North (UTS '86),

Wisconsin FFWPU Pastor & Doctoral Student at UTS

Marian NorthRev. Marian North1. Tell us about yourself!

I've lived in Wisconsin since 1992 with my husband, Glenn. We have 3 children. I currently serve as the state leader and also work full-time.

2. What motivated you to apply to the doctoral program at UTS?

Father taught the importance for investing in the future, for having a vision of where you are going. Father sent so many leaders to study here at UTS even when they were desperately needed in their communities in order to have more effective leaders for the future.

When I'm here I feel so strongly how much Father loves this place. He wants it to be vibrant and to be used in a significant way.

I just started D.Min program. I had 2 reasons to come- 1) I feel I owed this to Father. He invested in my education. I should do something more for my education so that I can do more in my ministry. 2) Over the years I've spoken in many colleges, in religious studies colleges, but now I feel that I can do more directly teaching myself in area of religious education. I'd like to teach a course on Life and Dying that would clearly teach about the spirit world.

I've done work in Hospice care. I plan to write about Time and Eternity, about my experience having sacred conversations with people at the end of their lives.

Many have regrets, or they are scared of dying. Others feel ready to die. The unit of care is the patient and their family.

My main responsibility at church is raising up young people. Our church has excellent workshops for them, but they also need follow-up mentoring and education in the local area.

3. Any final thoughts?

People are being called to leadership in our movement, but there has to be some place for their spiritual training, for leadership education and ongoing renewal.

It's amazing to have time to reflect rather than just being busy. Our church has gone through a lot of turmoil, but we have to go forward. We have to make a place for our children to come back to.