Unification Theological Seminary

From New World Encyclopedia
Unification Theological Seminary
Established 1975
Type Private
Location Barrytown, New York
New York City, New York United States
Website uts.edu

The Unification Theological Seminary (UTS), is an accredited institution of higher learning offering programs in theology and related subjects. Its main campus is located in Barrytown, New York; it also has an Extension Center in midtown Manhattan, and an instructional site in Maryland, as well as online courses. Its first classes were offered in September 1975.

UTS offers professional training in the ministry, serving a wide spectrum of denominations and broadening students’ horizons to work cooperatively with people of all faiths in addressing social problems. It currently offers four accredited graduate degrees: three Masters programs (Master of Divinity, Master of Religious Education, and Master of Arts in Religious Studies) and a Doctoral program (Doctor of Ministry).


The Unification Theological Seminary is not to be confused with Union Theological Seminary (an independent college of theology in New York City), despite their sharing the same acronym, UTS.


In 1974 the Unification Church purchased the campus of St. Joseph’s Normal Institute, a Christian Brothers boarding school located in the Hudson Valley of New York State, selected by Reverend Sun Myung Moon to be the site of the church's first theological seminary. Unification Theological Seminary continues to serve the Unification Church through graduate education in theology and related subjects.

The purpose of the Seminary, then and now, however, was not denominational. Faculty members throughout its history have belonged to a broad range of religious denominations. Rather than concentrating solely on Unification theology, students learn philosophy, psychology, world religions, and homiletics, as well as the histories, theologies, and scriptures of Judaism, Christianity, and other world religions.

The current mission statement reflects the seminary's commitment to Reverend Moon's interfaith vision:

The Unification Theological Seminary offers educational programs in an interfaith context, which cultivate the heart, mind and spirit; bridge religious and cultural divides; promote leadership, service and engagement with the world; and provide tools for success in ministry and professional life. UTS is committed to the Unification vision of one global family under God.[1]


Unification Theological Seminary was founded in 1975. David Sang Chul Kim was appointed its first president, and an ecumenical faculty was assembled. Notably, the first Academic Dean, Therese Stewart, was female, at a time when such administrative positions were usually held by men. The first class began their studies on September 20, 1975, with 56 students enrolled in a two-year Religious Education program. This marked an important milestone in the development of the Unification Church, providing theological training that enabled Unification members to dialogue effectively with the religious community:

The core mission of the Unification Church, as the name HSA-UWC indicated, was the "the Unification of World Christianity." However, the ability of the church to relate ecumenically to Christian churches was quite limited prior to the creation of UTS. ...[T]he establishment of UTS marked a turning point in the UC's ability to relate constructively to the wider religious community. ...UTS represented a commitment to self-reflection, research and scholarship, and the beginnings of an intellectual tradition. The church, in general, had limited opportunities to think through issues deeply or to develop ideas about how its teachings related to other faiths. ... The establishment of UTS indicated that the tradition was willing to tackle contemporary intellectual challenges rather than separate intellectual endeavor from faith or retreat into a ghetto of religious fundamentalism.[2]

In its early years, Reverend Moon often visited the UTS Barrytown campus, sharing spiritual guidance with students in the classroom or on long walks around the campus, on what is now known as "Father's Trail."

Over the years, additional programs have been added: the Master of Divinity and the Doctor of Ministry programs to prepare students for ministerial leadership; and the Master of Arts in Religious Studies which gives students foundational knowledge of religions and their impact in society. Certificate and Continuing education programs, and a number of online courses for credit have also been developed.


Main Campus, Barrytown NY

The main campus of UTS is located in Barrytown, New York State, in the rural Hudson Valley. Its 250 acre campus overlooks the Hudson River with a view of the Catskill Mountains. The grounds include a soccer field, a large pond, and hiking trails, such as "Father's Trail" which was the path Reverend Moon often walked with students and is now open to the public.

The main building houses classrooms, the library, chapel, gymnasium, dining hall, student lounge, and dormitories, as well as offices for faculty and administrators. It also houses the Barrytown Conference Center.

Also on campus is the historical Massena House, originally built in 1796 by Major John Livingston. After a fire destroyed the mansion in 1885, the current building was constructed on the same site.

New York City Extension Center

Located in the heart of Manhattan, the Extension Center was founded as a commuter-based campus with an ecumenically diverse student body. In addition to a wide range of enriching field education opportunities, courses are offered that are relevant to students in an urban context.

Maryland Instructional Site

The Maryland instruction site, located in Clinton, Maryland, is easily accessible for students in the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland area. Housed in a medical facility, this site and its programs allow students to integrate their study of ministry with advances in health and healing.


Both the Main Campus at Barrytown and the New York City Extension Center have libraries. These libraries maintain a collection of approximately 157,000 titles (57,000 volumes), which includes books, ebooks, audio and video media, and periodicals. Students can also access thousands of journals and articles from their personal computers or terminals available in the library through ProQuest-in-Religion, an online database, and EBSCO ebook collection.

Students in Barrytown have access to over 1.5 million books and journals in libraries in the Hudson Valley through the Southeastern New York Library Resource Council.

Students at the Extension Center have access to other local libraries throughout Metropolitan New York through the New York Area Theological Library Association (NYATLA).

Students at the Maryland extension site have access to the digital resources through the library’s webpage.


UTS is an accredited institution of higher education, offering professional training in the ministry, and serving a broad spectrum of denominations. It offers four graduate degree programs, as well as certificate and continuing education programs.[3] The degree programs are three at the Masters level: Master of Divinity, Master of Religious Education, and Master of Arts in Religious Studies; and one doctoral program: Doctor of Divinity. Graduates serve in a broad array of missions in the church, as well as careers in interfaith organizations and in education, journalism, law, medicine, politics, and business.[4]

The emphasis is on ministry that is both faithful to tradition and bridges religious and cultural divides. The faculty and guest lecturers reflect such intent. Harvey Cox, Richard Rubenstein, Herbert Richardson, Richard Quebedeaux, M. Darroll Bryant, Ninian Smart, Frederick Sontag, and other well-known theologians and philosophers have taught courses or have spoken at seminars and inter-religious forums hosted by the seminary.

Student Life

UTS is a multi-faith teaching and learning community of faculty, staff, and students united in a vision for world peace through ideal families, or “one family under God.” Community life within the Seminary reflects the varied backgrounds of students, staff and faculty, all sharing a common commitment to developing a rich personal relationship with God. Spiritual resources for students of different faiths are available, as well as a connection to local houses of worship.

While the majority of UTS students have been Unification Church members, a growing number come from diverse churches and faiths. The seminary's professors have always been drawn from a wide range of faiths: Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, and more.

In addition to its interfaith character, the UTS student body is comprised of people from diverse nations and ethnic backgrounds with a rich variety of perspectives and life experiences. Student fellowship offers opportunities to broaden cultural horizons and develop facility in intercultural communication.

Code of Conduct

UTS has an ethos that fosters faith and love. All students are required to sign the Student Code as a pledge of their willingness to uphold the ethical and moral standards of UTS:

I commit myself before God:

  1. To develop my relationship with God through regular spiritual practices with full devotion of heart, mind and body;
  2. To uphold and live according to the highest moral and ethical standards in my personal life and relations with others;
  3. To respect the campus as a smoke-free, alcohol-free and drug-free environment, and to maintain my body at all times as a temple of God;
  4. To refrain from premarital and extra-marital relationships, sexual harassment and pornography;
  5. To respect the diversity of cultural and religious traditions;
  6. To attend enrolled classes and fulfill academic responsibilities with honesty and integrity;
  7. To pursue my religious vocation with integrity upon graduation.[5]

Notable Alumni

  • Gordon Anderson - president of Paragon House, editor-in-chief of International Journal on World Peace, author of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, Version 4.0
  • Malcomb Balcomb - president of Unification Church in America (2013-2017)
  • Dan Fefferman - executive director of International Coalition for Religious Freedom
  • Tyler Hendricks - president of Unification Church in America (1991-2000), president of Unification Theological Seminary (2000-2010)
  • Michael Jenkins - president of Unification Church in America (2000 to 2009)
  • Frank Kaufmann - director of Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace, editor-in-chief of New World Encyclopedia, Spiritual Director at PrayerSpark
  • Michael Mickler - author of A History of the Unification Church in America, 1959-1974
  • Lee Shapiro - documentary film maker, killed in Afghanistan in 1987
  • Hugh Spurgin - founding principal of Bridgeport International Academy, president of Unification Theological Seminary (2015 - )
  • Jonathan Wells - author and proponent of Intelligent Design
  • Andrew Wilson - editor of World scripture: A comparative anthology of sacred texts
  • Kathy Winings - vice-president and program chair (2018) of Religious Education Association, vice-president of the Board of Directors for the International Relief Friendship Foundation, Inc.


  1. Mission About UTS, Unification Theological Seminary. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  2. Michael L. Mickler, "Turning Points: Ten Defining Moments in the History of the Unification Tradition in America" Journal of Unification Studies 3 (1999-2000): 5-26. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  3. Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Unification Theological Seminary (Accredited) Institution Directory. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  4. Profile of UTS About UTS, Unification Theological Seminary. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  5. Student Code of Conduct Students, Unification Theological Seminary website. Retrieved November 14, 2017.


  • Fichter, Joseph (ed.). Alternatives to American mainline churches (Unification Theological Seminary Conference Series). Rose of Sharon Press, 1983. ISBN 978-0932894144
  • Mickler, Michael L. The Unification Church in America: A Bibliography and Research Guide. Garland, 1987. ISBN 978-0824090401
  • Mickler, Michael L. 40 Years in America: An Intimate History of the Unification Movement 1959-1999. HSA Publications, 2000. ISBN 978-0910621991
  • Quebedeaux, Richard (ed.). Life Style: Conversations With Members of the Unification Church (Unification Theological Seminary Conference Series). Rose of Sharon Press, 1982. ISGN 978-0932894137
  • Richardson, Herbert (ed.). 10 Theological Respond to the Unification Church (Unification Theological Seminary Conference Series). Rose of Sharon Press, 1981. ISBN 978-0932894106
  • Tanabe, Jennifer P. The Words of David S.C. Kim: Let Us Learn from the Past. Lulu Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0557283347
  • Tanabe, Jennifer P. Let Us Work Together For Good: David S.C. Kim's Life Of Service To God. Lulu Press, 2011. ISBN 978-1257627370
  • Tanabe, Jennifer P. The Ideal Family to Be or Not to Be: Testimonies of a Life of Faith. Lulu Press, 2015. ISBN 978-0557461493

External links

All links retrieved April 7, 2020.


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