Union Theological Seminary (UTS-Phils) celebrated its 110th Anniversary. I took the opportunity to invite stakeholders to journey with UTS in the spirit of remembrance, celebration, and anticipation. One cannot celebrate and be grateful without remembering. Only those who can remember can truly celebrate. In like manner, only those who remember and celebrate can live in the spirit of anticipation.
We could not have gone this far without the faith and labours of the past. To them we are grateful. While we can build on the achievements of the faithful journey of the pioneers, we need to do our own journey. Our gratefulness must lead to our own journey of faithfulness. The great efforts of the past and the labours of the present have produced fruits.
There is much that we can celebrate!
Our recruitment efforts are bearing fruits. We have a total of 225 in all our degree programs: MDiv (65), BTh (27), MTheo (11), DMin (16), and TEE (106 ). Our two sponsoring denominations (UMC and UCCP) have 41 students each. In addition to UMC and UCCP, our students come from various denominations: Assembly of God, Church of Christ (Myanmar), IEMELIF, Seventh Day Adventist, Baptist Convention (Myanmar), Biblical Church of Christ (Myanmar), Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, and Central Presbyterian Church. Our student population represents six countries: Philippines, Myanmar, East Timor, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Nepal.
More than expanding our student population, we continue to strive for academic excellence. Guided by our core value of ecumenical openness, what we can do best with others we must do in partnership. What we can do effectively with others we must do in ecumenical relations. We are operating on this understanding. We have done this with the IEMELIF Bible College (IBC), which enabled IBC BTh graduates to pursue MDiv at UTS. Another partership is our joint MTheol program with Yushan Theological College and Seminary in Taiwan. Also,we are working in partnership with the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) and with Southern Philippines Methodist Colleges in Kidapawan, Cotabato.
Pursuing the dream of Bishop Benjamin I. Guansing, UTS launched a project to renovate and expand the old Administration Building to the house the Office of the President and the Boardroom of the Board of Trustees and Corporation Members. Our renovation project of the Administration building is almost done. We are thankful for the members of the President Circle for their support. We welcome new members to the Circle. The names of the members of the President Circle are listed on the wall of the Administration Building.
Together, let’s continue the journey in the direction of our dreams with trust in our hearts and the Spirit’s wisdom in our heads that our labors will bear fruits. With our faith in God and inspiration from the founders and pioneers, let us spread our wings and sail boldly toward the horizon in the spirit of anticipation!
Eleazar Fernandez serves as a Long-term volunteer with the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.