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Alumni Video Conferencing

Over the past three months the Alumni Relations department at the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) has held a series of video conferences with alumni/ae from various states located in the Midwest and Eastern parts of the country.

The states that have so far participated in these conferences are: Minnesota, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.

The next online conference is set for Thursday, April 27 and alumni from Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont will be invited to join us.

The purpose of these conferences – hosted by myself and Robin Graham, the Alumni Relations director – is to reach out to graduates from the past 40 years and keep them informed about different activities here at UTS in New York City, in Clinton, MD and the role and future of UTS and the Barrytown property. Our other purpose, equally as important, is to find out what our graduates have been doing since they left UTS and how their educational experience at UTS has helped them in their careers.

At present we hold a video conference every two weeks with plans to continue holding them for the next several months. Although the participation rate has not been as high as we would like, we are hopeful that as the word gets out more and more people will join us in the coming months.

These conferences have proven to be very informative and fruitful. Some participants are surprised to learn that most classes in New York are no longer held at Barrytown, but at 4W43 in Manhattan. Others were of the belief that no one lived or worked at Barrytown anymore, thinking that the Barrytown buildings had perhaps been mothballed.

Still others are unaware of the ongoing restoration and other changes being made in many parts of the main building and Massena House. For example, the stained glass windows in the chapel have been returned to the Christian Brothers (Manhattan College) who in turn paid for UTS’ new insulated clear glass windows and the installation of the windows in the chapel.

Photo: New glass windows installed in the Main Chapel on Barrytown campus.

The dearth of shared information is not totally surprising since many alumni now live at great distances from Barrytown, and may not have had much communication with the seminary over the years.

Those participants who joined our video conferences expressed their thanks and even their joy for the alumni outreach and expressed appreciation for having the opportunity to speak with fellow graduates whom they had not seen or heard from in many years. Catching up can mean a lot.

Corresponding to the online video conferencing, UTS Communications recently began a series of articles on the UTS website called “Ministry in Many Forms.” This series highlights how graduates have applied what they learned during their time at UTS to their career paths. As the title implies these ministries may not be restricted to pastoral ministry but are diverse in nature, like non-profit work, youth ministry, marriage and family ministry, and chaplaincy.

Many alumni/ae in the United States and around the world are in these “diverse ministries,” they may be organizing or working in a variety of programs and projects that serve others.