Commencement Address of the Unification Theological Seminary

Commencement Address of the Unification Theological Seminary

Sun Myung Moon
June 28, 1986
Barrytown, New York

Distinguished faculty, members of the graduating class, ladies and gentlemen:

I am truly grateful that once again I have come to this sacred institution of higher learning to give this commencement address. I would like to give my heartfelt congratulations to the 41 members of the graduating class, out of which 18 have completed the three-year divinity course, for your outstanding accomplishment and achievement during your years of study here.

I would also like to congratulate the parents and families of the graduating students for bringing up such wonderful sons and daughters. They have been through a very unique course of study and have attained a difficult standard in order to receive this recognition today. I would like to congratulate the faculty members for their meritorious work and dedicated teaching which has produced such outstanding young leaders.

I am especially grateful to God Almighty that this institution could celebrate its Tenth Commencement. During this time, tremendous blessing has been bestowed, and we have witnessed the steady development of the Unification Theological Seminary into one of the most extraordinary institutions of higher learning in our world today.

In the first decade, we have built the tradition and laid the foundation. We are now embarked upon the second decade, and we are reaching for the stars.

God Created One Family of Man
In the beginning, God had an ideal. That ideal was the creation of one world inhabited by one family of man. If our human ancestors had been truly obedient to God, this would have come about. We would be living in a perfect world — a world of one family of man, sharing one language and culture, in which every member of the human race would be knit together as brothers and sisters. This family of man would have been united, achieving a perfect harmony and peace centered upon the true love of God.

The world we find today is far from that world of God’s ideal. Instead, we have at hand a world of division. One brother is turned against another, one nation is turned against another. Human history has been stained by unspeakable bloodshed; and the tragedy of struggle has been the human reality.

The Unification Church, however, is based on the knowledge that the will of God is to bring about the ultimate restoration of His original ideal. That is also, therefore, the only hope of humanity. Furthermore, Unification teaching clearly states that we are living in the Last Days. This does not mean that we will all perish, however; but rather that human history has come to the end of its long, tortuous journey. The nightmare of fallen history will soon come to an end. The new day of fulfillment of the ideal of God looms large on the horizon.

The Unification Church is heralding to the world the message of hope. We are the harbingers, and also the pioneers. We are the advance party of history. Out of chaos, a new world order is on the horizon. The day of the dwelling of God among men is here, and every man and woman can share in this transformation We are here to ignite a spiritual revolution — the remaking of the individual, the community, the nation, and the world in accordance with the original ideal of God.

For this, we need leadership. Without leaders very little can be achieved, even with the highest ideal. We need an institution where we can train the leadership for the new age. That is the purpose of the Unification Theological Seminary. For that purpose I founded this institution. We have graduated a large number of excellent individuals who are presently in the field, working tirelessly to meet the standard of new-age leadership.

Today we are adding to that cadre of leadership a distinguished group of 41 upright men and women. They will join the crusade of Kingdom-building. I am deeply satisfied on this occasion.

The Mission of America
I believe that the history of America is closely intertwined with Divine providence. This nation has a destiny in God’s will. The Pilgrim Fathers of America came to this new land seeking religious freedom. They acknowledged God as the central authority of their lives.

These founding fathers made a covenant with God that America would truly become “One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all” I believe that God heard their prayers, accepted their commitment, and gave His abundant blessings to this country.

America’s blessings, however, are not for the sake of America alone; they are for the sake of the world. America is playing a great role in the dispensation of God’s providence today to make possible one world under God. Knowing that this is the will of God, I came to America, even though I knew I would be persecuted and suffer, and even possibly go to prison. This is what has come to pass.

Today America is facing two Goliaths. One is certainly communism. Communism is the enemy of God and humankind. The evil of communism stems out of its militant denial of God and its persecution of religion. Communism has set its sights on world conquest by any means possible, and has spread totalitarianism and terrorism to every corner of the globe, even on this very continent. In this century, the human cost of communism has already been 150 million lives, and the spread of this God-denying ideology has deprived countless millions more of spiritual life.

Who shall stop this enemy if not America, the nation which God has raised up as He raised up David? America is the hope of freedom-loving people everywhere. What shall be our strength? Our strength shall be that of David; we must confront the enemy fearlessly with faith in God. I fervently ask you to take the role of David in America and the world.

America at the same time faces another Goliath. The second Goliath is even more difficult to fight against. That second Goliath is the internal decay which has afflicted this nation and our Western society.

America is under spiritual attack today. I have heard that soon over half of the children in this country will be raised in single-parent families. Drug use and crime are at record levels. Material success has become much more important than spiritual principles. All this is happening because God has been forgotten. He is no longer the central authority in American life.

Let me ask you: Who is God counting on to turn the tide of evil to good? Is it the President? The Congress? The courts? It is you, God’s shepherds, who must bravely and faithfully stand up to this awesome challenge of two Goliaths.

America Is At the Brink
America is at the very brink. Her future as God’s champion for goodness, righteousness, and freedom are at stake. America must repent. As God told the Israelites, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chr. 7:14). America has broken its covenant with God. Who shall renew that covenant? It must be you, the Unification Theological Seminary graduates. You must go down on your knees before our Heavenly Father and once again renew the covenant which America has made with God.

This is the very message God told me to take to the shores of America. As you know from the story of Jonah, it is very difficult to take the message of God to a foreign land. For the last 15 years I have given everything I have for the sake of the salvation of this country. As a result, thousands of young people’s lives have been turned toward God. Millions of dollars have been spent on ecumenical, educational, and service projects. The entire Unification movement exists in this country not for itself but to help America fulfill her mission in front of God.

What greater challenge to America than the call to sacrifice, unity, and hard work? When has the world embraced the message of sacrifice, and when has religion prospered without sacrifice? But which shall we heed, the world or God?

The people of Nineveh listened to the word of God and humbled themselves. Let America be a modern-day Nineveh rather than a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah. Let a great, new, and powerful spiritual awakening sweep this nation so that it can be a model of true Christian love and service to the world. Let us stand strong against the destructive forces of totalitarianism and terrorism. Let us begin together, and let us begin now.

This is my message to you today, when you are about to undertake a great challenge in the world. You are my hope; you are my champions. Our world will be brighter because of you. I want each one of you to become a leader who will bring joy and comfort to God and be counted as a citizen of heaven.

May God bless you and your work.

Thank you very much.

Commencement day at the Unification Theological Seminary
Robert Selle
June 28, 1986
Barrytown, New York
One summer day in 1977, Father sent out the members of the first Unification Theological Seminary graduating class to MFT. Although many of them puzzled over why Father was seemingly ignoring their newly acquired learning in order to reteach them the basic MFT lessons of humility, faith, and perseverance, they followed his direction, by and large, with hope for the future and eagerness to do the will of God.

Ten graduating classes later, the pattern remains unchanged. Forty-one students from 11 nations participated in commencement exercises on June 28, 1986, in the high-vaulted UTS chapel. They expressed hope for the future and eagerness to apply their studies in whatever way Father chose for them.

Three days later, on July 1, Father assigned them all to a mission as humble as MFT, but with just as much potential for acquisition of skills, spiritual growth, and inspiration: fishing for Bluefin Tuna with Ocean Church in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

Father and Mother Attend
Father attended the graduation ceremony as well, along with Mother, who brought her exquisite grace and beauty to the halls of UTS. Standing at a podium beneath the huge, bronze-anodized steel ring that symbolizes the unity of God, Father addressed a chapel packed with students, alumni, faculty, recent graduates, and their relatives and friends.

“The Unification Church is…the advance party of history:’ Father said in English, reading from a prepared text. “Out of chaos, a new world order is on the horizon”

He told his listeners that the function of UTS is to train leaders for the new age, leaders who will fearlessly battle the “two Goliaths” of communism and moral decay as they proceed on the way to God’s ultimate goal.

With deep emotion in his voice, Father called on America to become “a modern-day Nineveh rather than a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah:’ and asked each graduate to be “a leader who will bring joy and comfort to God and be counted as a citizen of heaven:’

At the conclusion of the exercises, the new graduates, smiling broadly, filed out of the chapel, its wooden- beamed ceiling and spectacular stained-glass windows echoing with the strains of an organ postlude.

Outside the chapel, the president of the graduating class, Peter Ross, explained what he felt lies ahead for him and his classmates. “Father has always expressed the importance of thought,” he said. “This education at UTS teaches us about Christian and philosophical thought, and then afterwards we can take on the challenge of getting back into mission work and applying the knowledge we’ve acquired”

In addition to his UTS diploma, Peter, a native of Ireland, says he’ll be taking the New York State Bar examination this summer, presumably on a brief break from his fishing in Massachusetts Bay. (There are enough similarities between Irish and American law to make it possible for him to practice as an attorney in America, he says.)

Christine Hempowicz, one of this year’s 18 graduates from the three-year Divinity program (the other 23 graduates participated in the two-year Religious Education program), echoed Peter’s sentiment that the UTS education has prepared her and the others to bring the power of knowledge to bear on a world that can be strongly influenced by ideas. “After a while, every class at UTS begins to mesh with every other class, and integrates with Divine Principle, toe

Additionally, she said, UTS, where she lived in daily contact with the same people for three years, taught her that unity of religions begins with unity of people, and that emotional, cultural, and personality barriers need to be overcome before doctrinal barriers can be addressed. “It begins in your heart, with other brothers and sisters’,’ said Christine, who is an American.

Speeches and Presentations
Following the graduation ceremony, a sumptuous luncheon began. Father and Mother were there, along with several of their children. After dining on roast beef with mustard sauce, the participants were treated to a musical revue and a number of entertaining speeches. Among the speakers was new graduate Tag Hamad, from the Sudan in northern Africa, who presented a professional video camera to UTS President David S.C. Kim.

Tag said the graduating class is also presenting two plaques to the Seminary to be affixed to large rocks at two landmark sites on the UTS grounds: a clearing by the Hudson River where Father has given many “fireside talks” to students, and near a bench by the UTS pond where True Parents have often enjoyed sitting.

With a sincerity quite compatible with his easygoing manner, Tag addressed Father and Mother, who were sitting at a table just in front of the stage: “We are immensely grateful for the spiritual and intellectual nourishment of the past two years. We want to leave here with the determination to bring the heavenly tradition to the whole world. We’d really like to be your hope and your chaplains!”

Asked for his evaluation of the new graduates, Dr. Thomas Boslooper, a UTS professor of biblical studies who hails from the Reformed tradition, beamed and said: “It’s a wonderful class! It has in it some of the finest scholars in a decade. And its tops spiritually, too!

“Of course,” he continued, “The same was true for every class, but that standard is certainly being maintained!”