Ordination and the Unification Tradition

Journal of Unification Studies Vol. 10, 2009 - Pages 1-32

Every year in the UTS graduation ceremony, I recite the words: "I grant you this degree with all the rights and privileges thereunto appertaining." No one has ever asked me, "What exactly are those rights and privileges that I have earned through this degree?" If someone did, I would not be sure what to say. But if a seminary is going to last, it must answer this question.

The rights and privileges that seminary education normally grants cohere with a certification, or ordination, to perform the spiritual and temporal functions of religious life within a specific tradition. Religious organizations of all kinds set up programs to train and qualify their leadership. Some keep it to apprenticeship or short-term training; others send their future leaders to schools with three-year curricular tracks. In the Christian world these schools are called divinity schools or seminaries. Reverend Moon established a seminary, UTS, but he never created a formal ordination plan. This leads to a lack of clarity over the rights and privileges of UTS graduation. Herein is the problem this paper addresses. To be sure, Reverend Moon has often stated publicly that all leaders should attend UTS. He personally directed many to do so. But he never instituted a formal procedure or regulation that tied leadership appointment to seminary education. Because of his silence on the subject, the movement has not addressed the matter in a disciplined way.


A Plethora of Questions

Ordination means to certify, or provide credentials, for people deemed qualified by a religious organization to assume a position of spiritual leadership. The Encarta® World English Dictionary defines ordination as "an official investiture as a Christian priest or minister, or as a rabbi, or a cere­mony during which somebody is consecrated as a priest, minister, or rabbi."

The founding corporate document of the HSA-UWC provides grounds for an ordination process. The document, filed in California, established the HSA as a religion. The movement fought in US courts in the late 70s to maintain recognition as a religion, defending Father Moon against the accusations that his primary goals were political or economic in nature. Ever since, HSA has enjoyed tax and immigration benefits based on its status as a bona fide religion.

And yet this church in the early years in America was cavalier about its ordination practices. I am in possession of a document ordaining Martin Porter as a Unification Church minister in the American church as of March 20, 1969; his is Certificate No. 11. When I queried Dr. Porter, he stated that he obtained it for expediency sake and was not aware of who else might have received this ordination. When asked, the signer, Dr. Neil A. Salonen, then-president of the church in America, did not recall the document. Perhaps such behavior can be explained by the fact that the membership consisted for the most part of young spiritual searchers who lived in collectives and referred to themselves as "the family." As one such myself, I can testify that our impulse in 1973 was anything but creating a church. None of the people in the movement at that time, other than the Founder, had the title "reverend." Even he, until his American evangelical tours began in 1973, was referred to as an Asian "Master" or "Teacher."[1]

In 1996, Dr. Therese Stewart, UTS Academic Dean between 1975 and 1994, completed a doctoral dissertation that addressed this subject in passing. She wrote: "Unification ministry is a lay ministry in which members with a theological education or long years of pioneering the Church are regarded as having the equivalent of ordination in the Church."[2] This is an accurate depiction: Unificationist leadership by and large would be considered lay ministry. But even lay ministry in many churches has specific educational and life experience requirements and involves a formal ceremony and articu­lation of duties. The UC does have events in which individuals are appointed as leaders. In my experience, these can be as simple as a public announce­ment. When I was named "regional coordinator" of the church in New England, it was by my name being read from a list of other new appointees. I had just arrived in the room, but my presence was irrelevant. When I was appointed president of the church, I was not present-although a few days later there was a public ceremony. On the other hand, ceremonies of appointment in which I've participated often have been serious affairs, includ­ing a banner, a wedding-style cake, flower presentation, framed certifi­cates, singing, speeches of farewell and welcome, prayer, cheers and a meal. But in all this, there is no theological rationale for the program components, and the matter of UTS seminary education has no part whatsoever.

Perhaps with this in mind, in February of 2005, Dr. Chang Shik Yang, the Continental Director of the Unification Church in America, who was also Chair of the UTS Board, resoundingly approved Dr. Andrew Wilson's recommendation that the Unification Church establish a formal ordination that includes seminary education. Based on that approval, in the summer of that year Dr. Andrew Wilson, Dr. Kathy Winings and I formulated a proposal for Unification Church ordination and sent it to the American church head­quarters. The church put the matter under committee review and in the four years since has not reached a conclusion. The Unification Church still has not established a position on the matter of formal ordination and the role of education in it. [3]

The difficulty the church is having with this issue raises questions. Reverend Moon as the living founder has the authority to revise his movement's self-understanding dramatically. Does his corpus of teachings provide a theological foundation for an ordination theory? Is the matter determined by his will? Might Reverend Moon be silent because ordination is antithetical to the nature and ideals of the movement? An ordination establishment would be a major step in setting in concrete the Unificationist religious faith and tradition. Is Reverend Moon's vision ultimately not to create a formal religion, and is this why he has not established ordination?

The topic of ordination, we see now, takes us into the deepest recesses of religious faith and requires that they be defined in the social world, publicly. In Unification phraseology, ordination entails a "horizontal" embodiment of the faith and teachings. With a living founder, UC teachings are evolving. For instance, Reverend Moon in 1996 stated that his goal is family salvation and that traditional "religion" is dedicated to the salvation of individuals. So, he desires to distinguish his movement from "religion," at least as tradition­ally understood. How does this difference affect the definition of spiritual leadership? Should Unificationists, for the sake of organizational effective­ness, function as a religion anyway? Many traditions require that ordained people be single; none require that they be married. What, then, does God's granting of salvation to families through the Blessing of marriages imply for ordination?

This brings us to the theology of the Blessing, the Unificationist sacrament, or more accurately, set of sacraments. Is it necessary to have received these sacraments in order to bestow them? It would seem logical that this be the case, which would mean that only Blessed Couples can bestow the Blessing, and if giving the sacrament is essential to ordained ministry, then only Blessed Couples can be ordained. But does the Blessing provide a supernatural grace that gives the recipient sacramental power as a couple? If so, is this authority transmitted lineally, from Blessed parents to Blessed children? Or, in order to administer the Blessing, are there further conditions to be met? Does being a "reverend" indicate that one is a priest, uniquely empowered to officiate the sacraments of the Blessing? Or is a Unificationist reverend more aptly understood as a professional community leader, educator, administrator and representative of a hierarchy?

This raises the question of what a Unificationist leader is being certified to do, to whom they are accountable, for whom are they responsible, who is appointing them, and so forth.[4] Another question has to do with the proverb­ial bottom line: How does this ordained person make a living? What is the Unification Church religious economy?

A discussion of the Hebraic, Catholic and Protestant antecedents tells us to find the answers to these questions by examining the role of the ordained person. I see two models for this role, alluded to above: that of the priest and that of the minister, and I will distinguish these terms as follows. The priest has unique ontological status and supernatural powers; the minister is a human being with a particular skill set. The priest officiates a blood ritual; the minister preaches, teaches and counsels. Unification theology and ministry includes both but has not sorted them out. Does Unification Church ministry devolve upon a separate caste, delineated by lineage or anointing? The Unification theology of the Blessing, as I will show, points in this direction. It is a religious system one finds in archaic temple religions and in a spiritualized form in the Roman Catholic Church. But at the same time, Unification practice of ministry tends toward a different model, one which appeared in the synagogue system at the time of Christ and was replicated in the Muslim masjid and Protestant parish, where spiritual leadership is a profession and not a supernatural charism.

The Catholic priest's supernatural gift enables him to transform the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist, and to perform the rest of the sacraments. This is a sacramental priesthood.[5] The job of a priest in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions is consummated when the he officiates the sacrifice of the Mass or Holy Communion. In the ancient Jewish tradition the priest was to receive and accept the peoples' offerings, sanctify them, and offer them in turn to God. On the other hand, in the Judaic synagogue, Islamic and Protestant traditions the minister is to convey the Word and counsel individuals, families and the community including the political leaders.[6] I see these as two distinct categories of ordination. I pro­pose that the UC needs to utilize the distinction between two ordinations in order to differentiate between an ordination of every Blessed Couple, which is a priesthood, and an ordination of the minister, which is a profession.[7]

To contextualize this, I will review the history and theology of ordination, in particular in Israel and Christianity, of which the Divine Principle locates itself as a successor. The two models for ministry are represented by the Catholic priestly tradition and the Protestant ministerial tradition. In the former, ordination bestows to the recipient a new ontological status through the grace of God; the priesthood is a supernatural order. In the latter, ordination is a certification of professional skills; the ministry is a guild.


Ordination through the Years

The Hebraic Temple Religion-A Physical Lineage

In the Hebrew Scriptures we read that Moses through divine authority set the tribe of Levi apart for religious duties connected with the Tabernacle and, later, the Temple. All the offerings of the nation went through their hands. They had training for the job, special skills, special laws, duties and disciplines and special attire. This tribal identity was similar to the priest castes in all ancient civilizations. In terms of qualifying for the priestly status, the answer was simple: one was born a priest. The religious economy, the livelihood of the priests, was handled through the offerings, the "tithe."

The Catholic Temple Religion-A Spiritual Lineage

The conditions to be qualified for spiritual leadership changed in the era after the coming of Christ. No one is born a Catholic priest. The apostle Paul described the conditions for spiritual leadership in 1 Tim 3:1-12. A candidate to serve as a bishop or deacon was to have sterling character and a good reputation, sober, not a lover of money, able to teach and to manage his own family. Rodney Stark shows that this move away from birthright to merit-based qualifications for spiritual leadership emerged in the Roman Empire, including in the Jewish synagogue system and other religions.[8]

Now, as Christianity became an imperial religion in late antiquity, it reinstated the ancient practice of separating the priesthood as a caste distinguished from "secular" vocations. Nonetheless this was a new order of priesthood, combining elements of the past and of the future. The Christian priestly caste differed from ancient religions in that membership was not based upon lineage; it was a voluntary caste. The function of the priest also evolved. Instead of sacrificing offerings, the priest recapitulated the final sacrificial offering of Christ in the Mass, through which those who partici­pate have their sins forgiven. One condition upon which this forgive­ness is based is the offering of the tithe to the church, which provided the living of the priest. Here there was no change from the Hebrew days. In the Catholic era, the religious vocation and secular vocations still comprised two realms, the religious and the secular, and ordination was the passage between the two.

In the Catholic tradition, to be ordained was to dedicate one's life to Christ and the church in a relationship analogous to marriage. It demanded unusual personal discipline to partake in Christ's suffering-poverty, obedience and chastity-and this both required and merited special grace. The ordination included flat body-on-the-floor prostration and the laying on of hands by a bishop. The bishop is the legate of a spiritual lineage, the apostolic succession, going back to the apostle Peter and Christ himself. So the tribal identity of the Catholic priesthood is similar to the priestly castes in ancient civilizations, except that entering the priestly lineage is voluntary. In other respects it is the same. The ordained person is part of a separate lineage, and ordination is rebirth into this new lineage through a ritual analogous to marriage. We will see this carried forward in the Blessing theology and in its outworking in the creation of the Blessed Central Family and Tribal Messiah.

The Protestant Faith-Breakdown of Lineal Inheritance and the End of the Sacred-Secular Distinction

The Protestant reformers broke down this wall between the secular and sacred.[9] Martin Luther called the wall of priestly ordination with its sacramental buttresses the "Babylonian captivity of the church." He taught that Christ's sacrifice was made once and does not need to be repeated or re-enacted. Instead, we are to appropriate that sacrifice and live the life of true love in the grace bestowed by it. That grace-filled life makes us all priests. By baptism we are adopted into God's family. Every legitimate vocation-that of a farmer, carpenter, homemaker, merchant-is a means by which a person may minister God's love and manifest His word. In this sense, baptism is one's ordination and every Christian is a priest. As Luther wrote in his Letter to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation (1520), "That the pope or bishop anoints, makes tonsures, ordains, consecrates, or dresses differently from the laity, may make a hypocrite or an idolatrous oil-painted icon, but it in no way makes a Christian or spiritual human being. In fact, we are all consecrated priests through Baptism, as St. Peter in 1 Peter 2[:9] says, 'You are a royal priesthood and a priestly kingdom,' and Revelation [5:10], 'Through your blood you have made us into priests and kings.'"

Implications of Believer Priesthood for the Church

Immediately Luther had to deal with the implications of such teachings, for if everyone is a priest, who leads the church? Can you have as many churches as you have Christians? If you have many churches, then who is in charge? Does anyone receive compensation for clerical duties? Luther would not consider a plurality of churches nor a society without designated clergy. Thus he argued that although everyone is spiritually a priest, not everyone is professionally a priest. Parish ministry for is a particular vocation, a calling like any other. In Babylonian Captivity he explains that "In this way we are all priests, as many of us as are Christians. There are indeed priests whom we call ministers. They are chosen from among us, and who do everything in our name."[10] The Augsburg Confession formally states that to provide for the people's ministry, "God instituted the office of preaching, giving the gospel and the sacraments. Through these, as through means, he gives the Holy Spirit who produces faith, where and when he wills, in those who hear the gospel... Concerning church government it is taught that no one should publicly teach, preach, or administer the sacraments without a proper [public] call. (Articles 5, 14)[11] And like any vocation, ministry requires special training, responsibilities and talents that deserve appropriate certification, recognition and compensation.

Protestantism thus developed its religious leadership along the lines already established by post-Second Temple Judaism and Islam. The rabbi and imam each are primarily a teacher, preacher and interpreter of God's laws and traditions, qualified by special education, called by the local community and supported by local community giving. They preach, pray, educate, counsel and guide, conduct birth rituals, marry and bury, but have no unique charism, no ontological elevation granted by the church or by their lineage.


The Blessing Priesthood

The Unification View of Sacramental Offering

Protestants relinquished the claim that the minister's office brings with it a supernatural charism. On the other hand, Catholic priesthood includes a unique grace bestowed upon the priest, which empowers him to translate bread and wine into the sacramental body and blood of Christ. Here we enter upon discussion of the core of the religion, the transaction between human beings and God. In order to discuss this core transaction in Unification faith, illuminate the sacramental ordination of the Blessing, and clarify Unification priesthood and ministry, we need to explore the tradition of Israelite and Catholic sacramental theology.

The Hebrew Burnt Offering

The Israelite priests slaughtered animals. They shed the blood of the offering. The Catholic priests in the Mass pour wine, thus recapitulating the shedding of the blood of the One they consider the final offering, Jesus Christ. The Protestants affirm that salvation comes through the shed blood of Christ, but repudiate the Eucharist as a recapitulation. For Unificationism also, there is no more shedding of blood, but there nevertheless is a blood ritual. To explain it, we need to explore how Reverend Moon answers the root question: why shed blood? Why is the shed blood of Christ efficacious for salvation? For Christians, Christ's self-offering culminates a tradition of animal offerings, but what was the reason for the tradition in the first place?

Reverend Moon answers that, first, the animal represents the creation, and its offering brings the created order into a position before God, to restore "the natural world to its original relationship with God." Thus the creation enters into the human-divine nexus and is, as we shall see, the mediator of that relationship between fallen humans and God. This is exactly the second reason for the offering: the animal did not sin and humans did. Therefore the animal stands closer to God than do we. "Human beings fell to a position lower than the things of creation, [so] in order for them to come before God, they must go through all things. This follows from the Principle of Creation, which requires that one approach God through that which is closer to Him." (EDP, p. 195) We should die on account of our sin, but God accepted the death, the shed blood, of the sinless animal in our place.

This is God's core ethic of love. The one closer to God is sacrificed for the sake of the one further from God.[12] This takes us to the theology of Cain and Abel. In the Unification view, Abel, whose offering was accepted, was responsible to win the love of his brother Cain, whose offering was rejected. Abel's love should have inspired Cain to lift Abel up as the elder son in the family. This "reversal of dominion" between the elder and younger would move the family from rule by Cain, based on birth position, to rule by Abel, based on love.

The key point is that sacrificial love is the foundation on which authority stands. The animal was devoted as a sacrifice. To officiate in the sacrifice the priest also had to separate from the world and live in dependence upon God. By the community's offerings for the sustenance of the priest's family, the community too separated from the inheritance of sin.

I will complete the discussion of the Unification theology of blood sacrifice in the following section.

The Offering of Christ in the Unification View

Moving to the Christian context, Christ is indeed the sacrificial lamb. He did not sin and so stands closer to God than do sinful humans. Unification theology coheres with the traditional theory of atonement as propitiation. But there is an important emphasis in Unification theology. As the author of Leviticus states, "the life of the flesh is in the blood."[13] The Divine Principle echoes this when it states that blood is "the substance of life." (EDP, p. 239) Reverend Moon teaches that by the fall of the original couple, the blood lineage, was polluted by satanic love and came under Satan's partial possession. It became "the blood of death," which has to be shed from the human body through representational acts such as circumcision. (240) This was a further reason for slaying the animal and draining its blood. The Divine Principle considers Abraham's dividing the animals as paradigmatic (Gen. 15:9-13). It represented the division, or separation, of good from evil. At the same time it was an act of sanctification "by draining out the blood of death, which had entered fallen humanity when they were bound in blood-ties to Satan." (211)

For Unification, however, the shedding of Christ's blood did not have to happen. As the new Adam, his blood and flesh were "life-giving," provided by God to humankind for our engrafting. Engrafting could have happened in a way other than the appropriation by faith of the blood spilled and body broken on the cross. Jesus after all had announced his ability to forgive sins on earth and implemented it by declaring people's sins forgiven on his own cognizance. Jesus went to the cross because he could not forgive one sin, that of rejecting the Holy Spirit. (Matt. 12:31-32) A person who rejects the Holy Spirit lacks the faith in Jesus that made his forgiveness efficacious. For the remission of the sin of rejecting Jesus' claim to be God's son, Jesus had to shed his blood. As stated in the Divine Principle, events in the course of Moses foretold, "in Jesus' time, if the people were to disbelieve, God would have to leave them vulnerable to Satan's attack, and Jesus would have to be hung on the cross as the heavenly serpent to save humanity. Whoever then repented of his faithlessness and believed in the redemption by the cross would be saved." (258) The ultimate sacrifice became necessary as a result of the people's sin of disbelief that Jesus was the Savior.

Why was Jesus' blood efficacious for the forgiveness of this sin? Christianity recognizes Jesus as being free from the taint of sin through a miraculous birth.[14] Jesus dying with the plea to the Father to forgive those who killed him set the condition for salvation to all who believe in him. In Unification terms, "by delivering Jesus to Satan, God set up as compensation the condition to save sinful humanity. ...God thus opened the way for all humanity to be engrafted with the resurrected Jesus and thereby receive salvation and rebirth. ...He thus opened the way to redeem humanity's sins." (EDP 278-9) The resurrected Jesus and Holy Spirit became the "spiritual fulfillment of the Temple" where "we can partake of the manna provided by God... The most holy place and the holy place, representing the spirit and flesh of Jesus, were fulfilled as spiritual realities through Jesus and the Holy Spirit." The holy and most holy places were where the animal sacrifices were made. Thus "the flesh of Jesus" that was sacrificed became the new "holy place." Believers "spiritually engraft" to Jesus as their spiritual father and the Holy Spirit as their spiritual mother and are reborn and saved in spirit. (EDP 177, 280-81)[15]

The Offering of True Parents

The Blessing sacrament is rooted in this work of God as described in biblical history. The first stage of religious offerings was the offering of the creation. This was followed by the offering of the son and finally to the present age, the offering of the parents. The priesthood in ancient Israel and in the Catholic tradition center on the shedding of blood necessitated by the pollution of the blood. Reverend and Mrs. Moon's priesthood eradicates this blood pollution and, in an act of rebirth, changes the origin of the recipient's blood lineage.

Thus we move from the Hebraic shedding of the blood of a sinless creature, to the Christian shedding of the blood of a sinless man, to the Unificationist engrafting into the bloodline of those understood to be sinless parents.[16] The Blessing and prerequisite Holy Wine Ceremony are under­stood to eliminate the original sin by an act of God's grace. The recipient couple is released from the lineage of Satan and engrafted into God's holy lineage.[17]

The Blessing Sacrament and Ordination

The Blessing is a sacrament, with prescribed actions, invocatory words and holy elements that lead to an eternal transformation in the recipient. Hence the officiator of the Blessing has a priestly role, mediating the work of God in the tradition of ancient Israel and the Catholic traditions. The Blessing integrates several elements of the Christian tradition-penance, communion, baptism and marriage. Then, returning to the matter of ordination, who is qualified to make this offering-to change the elements secured from the fallen world into elements fit for the original order of creation, to carry out the holy acts and speak the divine words? This is the task of the priest; it is the sine qua non of Catholic priesthood. Only the priest has the power to transubstantiate the ordinary bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, and the power to do so is granted through ordination. The correlative Unification substance is the Holy Wine, which Reverend Moon has explained has 21 elements. If the priest is the one who can create the sacrament, then who in the Unification world has the power to transubstantiate ordinary wine into Holy Wine?

From this viewpoint, Reverend and Mrs. Moon is the messianic root. They create "seed" Holy Wine and it is distributed throughout the world. Blessed Couples are authorized to purchase secular wine, sanctify it with prayer and holy salt (also seeded by Reverend and Mrs. Moon's original holy salt), mix it with seed Holy Wine to multiply Holy Wine for ceremonial use, and invoke God's power through spoken words. Thus the creation of Holy Wine by Blessed Couples is a priestly activity. A Blessed Couple multiplies the Holy Wine.[18] In large ceremonies it is distributed by attendants who would be equivalent to Catholic deacons, able to distribute the elements consecrated ceremonially by the priest.

The Blessing is not a symbolic event, as with Protestant communion. The wine is changed from normal wine to Holy Wine, effecting an ontological change that gives Blessed Couples authority to receive and distribute the elements. The implementation of this power began in 1997 with the dispensation of the "pre-blessing," which is deemed to effect the change of lineage to hundreds of thousands of couples, few of whom were UC members or even had much of an inkling of what they were doing. Since then, a number of Blessed Couples in leadership positions have officiated the Blessing, and clergy of non-Unification Church traditions, who themselves received the Blessing upon their marriages, have served as Blessing "co-officiators."[19] This is the sense in which all Blessed Couples are priests and the Blessing itself is, theologically, an ordination into the priesthood.

But a theological ordination does not guarantee that the couple has the knowledge and practical skills necessary to serve as a spiritual leader. In addition to a ceremony there needs to be education and training. Most Blessed Couples do not create Holy Wine, much less perform the myriad tasks of a clergy person. We recall the scandal of medieval Catholic priests who could recite the Mass but had no idea of what the words meant (the origin of the saying, "mumbo jumbo"). Unificationists will be reminded of non-Korean speakers who regularly recite by memory the core doctrinal statement called the "Family Pledge" in Korean but have little idea of what the words mean. For this, formal education is required.

The conclusion is that in the Unification Church tradition there are two roles for clerical leadership, the priestly and the professional. Every Blessed Couple is a priest, or priest couple, by virtue of the Blessing. The church could provide professional training for Unification ministry along the lines of the Jewish, Muslim and Protestant model. The remainder of this paper will be devoted first the question of how the Church could establish a professional ministry, and second to the future of the Unification priesthood, which I will argue is an eschatological category.


The Unificationist as Professional Minister

Clergy in all traditions, whether priests or ministers, are expected to provide religious context for the natural fundamental events of human life: birth, coming of age, marriage, illness and death, and other events that place stress on the individual, such as unexpected transitions, imprisonment, unemploy­ment and the like. This could be the job description of the UC pastor, a professional vocation distinct from the ontological change in the Blessed Couple that enables them to be ordained into the Blessing diaconate.

The founding corporate document of the HSA-UWC, mentioned above, provides grounds for an ordination process: "the primary purpose of this corporation shall be the worship of GOD and the study, teaching, and practical application of Divine Principles." The ordination of Dr. Porter authorized him "to solemnize Marriages, to officiate at Funerals, to conduct all Worship Services, to teach the Holy Bible and the Divine Principle, and to perform all duties that may devolve upon him as a Minister of the Divine Word of the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity."

Dr. Stewart's dissertation gave the following job description: "They [Unification clergy] are responsible for keeping before the members the vision of building God's kingdom on earth; for conducting worship services and fulfilling other pastoral duties toward individuals and families in local Unification church communities; for coordinating the contribution of families and members to projects and activities designed to proclaim the message of Completed Testament Age Christianity; for cooperating with clergy from other faiths and denominations in addressing moral and social problems in the community; and for promoting interfaith and ecumenical harmony."[20]

Job Description for a Unification Church Minister

The UTS group of Winings, Wilson and myself created the following job description: "The pastor embodies the love of God and True Parents as an instrument for creating and serving a community of blessed central families, models the life of the blessed central person and family and inspires, equips and liberates others to do the same, leads the community in evangelism, ecumenism and the exercise of social responsibility, and serves a vision of God's kingdom as a preacher, teacher, counselor, organizer and resource provider." We then outlined qualifications both internal and external to be considered for the pastoral vocation in the Unification Church. The internal qualifications are "a living faith in God and True Parents, personal integrity, confidence and humility, a calling for the ministry, a personal vision for success," and one more having to do with the individual's blessing status. This led to a good deal of discussion among the committee of three, who set forth a compromise statement on the qualification in this area: "a stable Blessing, or a strong personal commitment to blessed marriage and family life." Below I will return to the matter of the marriage Blessing in relation to ordination in the Unification Church.

In terms of external qualifications, the team identified a Masters of Divinity degree, which entails study of the world's religions, the Bible, Christian and Unification Church history, Christian theology and Unification Church denominational requirements. We also identified abilities to communicate the faith, lead and work as a team, and work effectively across cultural, racial and religious boundaries. These we defined for ordination broadly defined. We then defined two general areas of ministry, each with specific external qualifications: one, congregational leadership or sub-leadership, and two, "specialized teaching and counseling ministries" such as chaplaincy, interfaith work and counseling.

The Process of Ordination

­­­­­­The committee also proposed a process of ordination, with the Unification Church or Family Federation as the ordaining body articulating the standards based upon which the seminary would create its curriculum. Father Moon has repeatedly stated that a UTS degree is a required qualification to be a Unification Church leader, and it would seem that this would imply that he has formal educational qualifications in mind as prerequisite for spiritual leadership. Naturally we included the UTS degree as one of the qualifications for Unification Church ordination. By serving this specific function for the church, that is, training its next generation of leaders, the seminary's accountability to the church is made explicit and transparent. The seminary provides education and training according to church guidelines.

In our proposal, the process begins with the applicant applying to UTS, with appropriate recommendations indicating local spiritual and, ideally, financial support. UTS studies ensue, in the context of which the candidate develops a plan for their ministry through the UTS program for new students, academic advisement, mid-program review, field education and internships and placement colloquium.

This should move seamlessly into the church credentialing process. We propose that this begin with a meeting with an assessment committee made up of representative(s) of the national church and seminary. The meeting would include discussion of life mission and vision, a personal and family reflection, inquiry into the candidate's life of faith, theological commitments and spiritual readiness, and interviews about the student with faculty and student life leaders. There could be a written test, a testimony or confession of faith. Such a meeting could take place twice-at the start and at the end of the seminary career. This robust church involvement would strengthen the students' seminary experience immensely.

Ordination would require that the church, represented by leadership on a level it specifies, conduct the ordination ceremony. The church would have the opportunity to establish a liturgy, or at least a traditional procedure, for the ordination ceremony.

Ordaining Incumbent Pastors

UTS could facilitate the credentialing of incumbents, i.e. current church leaders without a seminary degree and perhaps even without undergraduate degree. It is impractical, sometimes unfair, and often unnecessary to demand this cohort return to school. Still, there is no reason they should not benefit from skill-development and collegiality afforded by seminary education. To resolve this, UTS would create and provide credit-bearing intensives for incumbents, to be given at various locations and via distance learning.

Institutional Benefits

Based on the above being established, it makes sense to have a seminary that can work with the church leadership to develop academic and spiritual formation programs aligned with the explicitly stated needs of the church or churches. Seminary training would impart the skills the church as a whole and individual congregations in particular are willing to pay people to have. This integration of the seminary with the church created by the ordination process is a major institutional benefit to both church and seminary.

I will now introduce the three areas in which the seminary team could not come to a consensus: ordination and blessings status, ordination and placement, and the matter of timing and entitlement.


Ordination and Blessing Status

A major philosophical question raised among the group at UTS had to do with the relationship between ordination and Blessing status. Are UC clergy required to have a stable Blessed marriage?

One position is that, while exceptions can be made, the public standard should be that a stable Blessing is a requirement for ordination. After all, the key theological and providential paradigm for the church and its theology is that of marriage, the union of heaven and earth in the husband-and-wife bond of love and creation of the God-centered four-position foundation. Since a primary role of the pastor is to Bless and to exemplify the Blessing, s/he ought to be Blessed.[21] We considered the fourth article in the heavenly constitution set forth by Rev. Moon on January 13, 2001, that leaders be examples to others.

The opposite position was that Unificationism should not require that a person be in a Blessed marriage in order to be ordained. Some of our churches' most successful leaders have been single people; one thinks of Dr. Young Oon Kim and Onni Durst, not to mention the hundreds of leaders who planted and led churches prior to their own Blessing. These unmarried leaders, whether by choice or circumstance, had spiritual prowess and could express God's heart. The only function a single pastor would not be able to fulfill liturgically would be that of giving the Holy Wine Ceremony and Blessing. In such as case, a local Blessed Couple could fulfill sacramental functions. Allowing for the ordination of singles would broaden the opportunity for the unmarried and yet-to-be married to attain professional certifications that require ordination.[22]


Ordination and Placement after Seminary

The importance of a congregational call as an ordination requirement was a second area of divergence. One position is that we do not want individuals ordained without the readiness of a community, church or parallel organization to hire them. With ordination, we are assessing the person's ability to work with a community, to be trusted, to win hearts. The best way to ascertain that is by the person actually having the call. The argument is that this, and only this, shows us that this person is able to win the confidence of real people to the point that they will pay them to do ministry and entrust a ministry to them. It means that the graduate has to go one extra mile, and actually find a placement in a ministry, or be in a recognized program toward chaplaincy certification, or that the church in the area in which they want to plant a new ministry supports the mission. We do not want to ordain pastors in the abstract and we do not want a surplus of unemployed, perhaps unemployable, ordained people.

Others believe that this is too stringent and presented the alternative proposal that we require that the candidate complete all UTS requirements and any other church requirements and obtain letters of recommendation from recognized church leaders, but not require that they be hired or be in a recognized certification program. After all, the position that God has in mind for that person may not have opened up nor have been advertised. There may be no appropriate position available at the time that a person graduates. The argument is that withholding ordination from graduates who do not have a job lined up, or who are not in a certification track, will discourage people from undertaking the study altogether and hence will have a serious adverse effect on the interest to become a minister.

A practical compromise would be that the national church endorses graduates even if they are not already hired for ministry. This would take people out of the limbo of having fulfilled all requirements except having been hired. Endorsement would be a formal, recognized commendation valid for all chaplaincy positions. It verifies that this person achieved their degree, served in an internship successfully, is trustworthy, etc. And that is not insignificant.

As a next step, the UC could look at the practice of one congregational-based faith tradition, the Unitarian-Universalist community. That national body grants an aspirant to what is called fellowship once s/he has completed a rigorous process of education and internship. The actual ordination, how­ever, is granted only by a local congregation. A congregation usually ordains a person who is chosen to serve as their pastor, but in can also ordain a person who has their confidence but is pursuing a para-church vocation such as chaplaincy.


Timing and Entitlement

Unificationism features a lofty vision of every Blessed family generating their own house church on the basis of the spiritual grace to conduct the sacraments of the Blessing. This is the position of Tribal Messiah or Blessed Central Family and it is a priestly position. Then should all Blessed Couples have the title "reverend" on the basis of having received the Blessing? At what point does leadership of a house church transition from a priestly role to a professional one?

This leads to the question of whether formal education is helpful for spiritual leadership, and churches divide over this. Gifted but independent-minded leaders do emerge who decline the benefits of seminary education and ordination. What if an incumbent lacks the resources, time or interest to obtain an undergraduate degree? What if a gifted couple is capable to minister effectively without going to seminary? Our committee affirmed the option that based upon life achievement, a person whose leadership in the faith developed outside formal institutions can be granted the title, reverend. We would be foolish to suppress independent leaders, for it is at times through such that the Holy Spirit works, as She did through Reverend Moon himself who never sought ordination.

Historically, designation of Unificationist leaders with the title "reverend" has not been rewarded based upon the recipient's achievement in terms of building a local community church, blessing one's relatives or friends, and so forth. And it has not hinged upon earning a Master of Divinity degree. Historically, appointment by a superior to a position of church leadership automatically brings with it the title "reverend." Such appointment takes place for a variety of reasons, with the underlying basis being one of trust between the appointer and the appointee. Other factors, including race, achievement of a seminary degree, achievements in the mission field, recommendation of others, interest in the position and, as lotteries are sometimes used, fate (some would say chance), have served as the basis for the title of "reverend."

I propose that formal recognition as a reverend should accompany the transition from a house ministry to wider public activities, indicated by steps such as procuring a facility for regular spiritual activities, announcing public worship services, charging for ministerial services, or joining a local church council. The church should determine the evidence of piety, knowledge and skill set required. But at that point, the leader would be required to embark upon the ordination course. As long as that course is being pursued at a reasonable pace, the leader should be authorized to continue the local ministry. It would be a separate question whether the church would want to involve UTS in this ordination course, one that I will address below.

The best way to minimize division between the formally educated and those who are not is to maximize access to ordination and strengthen the benefits of the associated education and training. The stronger the incentives and the more effective the education and spiritual formation, and the more convenient and non-disruptive to one's schedule the program, the fewer will be the leaders who reject the ordination course.

Assuming the church establishes such a course, the title "reverend" should be bestowed only upon those who complete it. Ordination should be a public act. While the transition with reference to titles should be managed sensitively, I stand against the undisciplined dispersal of the titles, "reverend" and "bishop." The church should honor its offices and their titles and, thereby, those who earn them and fill them. This is also essential with respect to the public cache of Unificationist ministry.

This leads into a discussion of the larger social issues that impinge upon ordination and the creation of a professional ministry.


Three Considerations with Respect to Long-Term Implications

In relation to the question of ordination, I want to raise three considerations with respect to long-term implications. One has to do with transparency in an open society. The second has to do with the bureaucratization that ordination can bring. The third has to do with the economics involved with ordination.

Transparency in an Open Society

The Unification Church, if it is to endure and expand as it hopes to, needs to create structures that will allow it to operate beyond the family level. The family level is that at which the church president personally knows almost all the members in the country, or has perhaps one degree of separation-i.e., knows someone who knows them. Ordination is critical to the Unification Church organizing itself beyond the family level. Vocational advancement within the Unification Church must go beyond personal acquaintance. It must be public, transparent and formal, imbued with accountability.

We live in a liberal society that contains institutions that regulate institutions. The Anglo-American civilization has generated a diversity of regulatory institutions with voluntary membership; the presence of such is implicit in the principle of self-government. A society in which people and institutions self-govern has minimal need for state regulation. The American society has spawned myriad self-regulating organizations that regulate other organizations: societies for any vocation you can think of: The American Gem Society, National Association of Flower Arranging Societies, National Christmas Tree Association, The Tug of War Association, and so forth. In the world of seminaries, the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) is this regulatory association, established to set standards, share best practices and certify performance to the broader public. In this society, churches are voluntary, self-governing associations.

Voluntarism works if and only if the participants police themselves. One purpose of associations is to establish standards. A group of craftsmen or women who are dedicated to quality in their trade will join together to create shared norms, procedures and standards. They then will create a system to train or educate individuals who seek to join their craft and to certify those who master the trade. For the craft of ministry, this certification is called ordination. Thus, from the point of view of society as a whole, establishing ordination would make the Unification Church a more professional body. It would show that the movement is self-regulating, self-disciplined and fully participatory. It would evidence that it is planning for the future and for its public role. This means that the church is establishing its long-term identity, for ordination requires a job description with theological underpinnings tied to and constitutive of its public role.

An ordination policy would enhance Unification Church standing with peer institutions and their leadership, enhancing its ecumenical prowess and foundation to attain membership in contemporary religious associations. It would do so because it would expand the Unification Church's common base with its societal partners, which means it would make the Unification Church intelligible to other religious bodies, not so foreign and confusing. For instance, when asked by a bishop from another church to what position in the Unification Church a degree from my seminary leads, instead of struggling to figure out an answer, I would be able to respond that it leads to ordination as a pastor and qualifies its possessor to assume the pulpit, officiate at Blessings, conduct church ceremonies of baptism and seung hwa (funeral), participate in church governance, and the like. With that, my bishop friend would recognize me as a colleague in a profession of which he is a part. Without that, our conversation devolves to matters such as, well, what is the purpose of your seminary? What are your graduates going to do? What is the nature of this entity you call a church? And so forth, questions that I may answer one way and the next Unificationist answer another way.

By calling this approach liberal, I am referring to the classical notion of liberalism that is the basis of the American Christian democratic republic. The notion of a free people self-governing on the moral foundation of self-discipline, living for others, family coherency and civic virtue has a decided optimism about it. In such a society, institutions arise through voluntary association. The entire nation and its religious, economic, educational, political and cultural organizations are products of voluntarism. Organiza­tions thrive in such settings when their purpose is simple, clear and public. Organizations that are not simple, clear and public in their purposes do not advance in an open society. People ignore, avoid or, at worst, fear the unknown.

Liberal society, classically defined, maintains a positive view of one's fellow person and fellow institutions, because of the underlying Judeo-Christian ethic of service and value. But this is on the assumption that all are doing good and have nothing to hide. Americans recognize that teamwork is essential, that the butcher, baker and candlestick maker need each other, and the banker, mayor and carpenter add value to society. After centuries of fighting, even the Christian communities that differentiated along cultural, economic and theological divides recognize each other as allies, through voluntary associations such as local councils of churches and, now, interfaith councils. Classical liberalism banks on the proposition that, while people have both good and evil tendencies, most people most of the time want to be thought well of by others and hence to do good, and that enlightened institutions that prevent accumulation of power and promote transparency insure that the good will out. This is consistent with Reverend Moon's criticism of individualism and privacy. The primary role of the media, he teaches, is to serve as a watchdog to expose immorality, crime and abuse.

From this point of view, the liberal worldview is rejecting the position that "he who is not for us is against us." This is called Manichaeism. The Manicheans were Christians who went to the extreme in dividing the world into good and evil camps, the children of light and children of darkness. Groups that display this trait have a hard time forming partnerships, because those who are not of them are of the devil, and one cannot partner with the devil. Whether intentional and conscious or not, the Unification Church has displayed Manichean characteristics, speaking typically of non-members as "outside" people, society beyond its perimeters as the "fallen world," abjuring "humanistic" or "Cain-type" thinking, and so forth. Perhaps this is typical of all new religious movements, and yet, current trends have the church moving toward professionalism and the transparency this brings.

The point I'm making here is two-fold. One, by setting forth its standards of ordination, the Unification Church would be telling the world what it is about. It would be more transparent and in the long run have a greater chance of success. Without a public and transparent ordination policy, leadership in the movement is based upon personal relationships, and these vary with personalities. Here, Mormonism, which has no ordination other than "all males above 13 are elders," is a mystery to the public, lacking transparent procedures for advancement in the institution. The mystery surrounding Mormonism hurt Mr. Romney in his bid for the presidential nomination. Second is that having ordination would normalize the Unification Church, and this in turn would strengthen its potential to form partnerships to advance shared goals with other "normal" organizations-organizations that share the same cultural world. Unification Church leaders would benefit by the ability to compare notes with leaders of other churches and expand the scope of Unificationist work to include non-UC partners.

Ordination, Bureaucracy and the Loss of Fervor

Would ordination tend to improve the overall quality of Unification Church pastoral leadership? The answer is, "maybe." Evidence is that there is not a simple cause-effect relationship between having an ordination program and generating high-quality leadership that brings church health and growth. A bishop of the United Methodist Church in Alabama, observing a group of seminarians in his own tradition, writes that "we desperately need people who can take risks, develop new churches and new ministries, and help lead us out of our current malaise. These seminarians seemed most interested in being caregivers to established congregations, caretakers of ministries that someone else initiated."[23] Ordination can lead to an emphasis upon doctrines, order and rules, bureaucratization, over-regulation, position-consciousness, payroll benefits and stagnation. In Reverend Moon's own words, "Nowadays, even religious people tend to lead a very habitual life. A routine life of faith is dangerous. Such a life of faith becomes a major factor presenting Satan with the conditions for accusation."[24] Such woes beset mainstream Christian bodies and always have.

On behalf of the case against ordination, I note that evangelical and Pentecostal churches have grown powerfully over the past century without much concern for seminary-based ordination. In fact, a major segment of mega-church leaders echo the centuries-old Pietist, Puritan and Awakening denunciations of seminary training. Typical is contemporary mega-church leader Bill Hybels' statement to a gathering of seminary presidents, "why would we want to send our best and brightest young leaders to you?"[25]

But this observation needs to be tempered. Every church tradition educates its pastors in some way. Even if it is less formal, evangelicals and Pentecostals have educational methods and standards. Schools for clergy training do appear in response to market needs. For every Billy Sunday, Charles Finney and Rev. Moon, whose shadows never crossed a seminary door, we have thousands of churches growing under the guidance of graduates of Bible schools and in-house apprenticeships. This is the kind of church leadership training from which the UC can benefit.

Here we note that Reverend Moon historically was committed to provid­ing formal training for his movement's leaders. The movement's sudden expansion in the 1970s was accompanied by intensive leadership training. For that purpose he developed or authorized the development of a formal set of workshops beginning at three days in length, then moving to 7, 21, 40 and 100 or 120 days long. For the longer workshops, educational venues were purchased around the world, including Sutaek Ri outside of Seoul, New York's Belvedere, Barrytown and Camp Happy Lake, Holland's Glory House, Brazil's Sao Paulo Center, England's Cleeve House and Livingston House, California's Boonville, Aetna Springs, "Camp K" and Camp Mazumdar properties, and many more. The time of these programs added together with the usual field mission work in-between would take a candidate 1-2 years to complete, even moving at a fast pace. These trainings, at least in America, had a profound impact on the students. They went out on missions with no money; they fasted and prayed extensively; they learned to lecture and witness; they planted churches throughout the country.

However, they did not learn how to build communities of families. This is to be expected; leaders reproduce themselves and all these trainees were unmarried. They didn't know what to do with married people, especially those with children.[26] The movement never evolved into a family community with even a fraction of the creative vitality it had as a movement of single people. This is another story, but the point I need to make is that an effective ordination program built with an eye to the strengths of the growing evangelical churches would have enabled the movement to transition from the pastor as the single missionary to the pastor as a family-supportive community builder.

An ordination program also can impact the younger generation in a church in different ways. On the one hand, organized paths toward vocational employment often attract young people. Ordination can increase the value of the pastoral vocation, allowing the church to attract the best and brightest who, in this day and age, expect to serve in the context of a career track. Having a career track allows church leadership and parents to make long-term plans. They can identify youth with potential and begin the nurturing years in advance, knowing that the programs will stay in place and that these programs will lead to meaningful employment down the road.[27]

To establish such stability, a church requires complete buy-in on the program and this requires thoroughly reviewed, consensus-based theological grounding. Long-term practices cannot stand on responses to short-term needs and exigencies. They arise from the unchanging, trans-generational spiritual life of the church, grounded in revealed truth. Hence the Catholic and Orthodox priesthood and Protestant ministry requirements and even ontological affirmations are based in Holy Scripture interpreted through the wisdom of the church over generations.[28]

But there is another side of the story. A lengthy ordination track can suppress ministerial vocations. The builders of new growing churches are typically entrepreneurial couples. Such people usually are not willing to sit through years of classes. Evangelical churches provide direct tracks to church planting through in-house education, apprenticeship, intensive interviews by various stakeholders and, finally, the dictum to let the market decide. They deem that God's anointing is revealed by the results. All things equal, those whose ministries grow are viewed as blessed by God. It is deemed that God has other plans for those whose ministries do not grow. After all, the argument is, they put their lives in the hands of God, so blessed or not, it is God's doing. In the enlargement of the deaconate, the Catholic Church also has created a quicker, simpler track toward formal ministry.

Ordination as Qualifying One to Earn a Living in the Unification Religious Economy

We cannot escape the mundane question of cost-benefit for those who are not independently wealthy. Why invest the time and money to obtain ordination if it is not necessary for one to earn a living as a minister? This takes us back to the nation of Israel and how God took care of the physical needs of the priestly tribe-how they made a living. They were the only tribe that did not possess land, for they were to receive their living from the hand of God through their priestly functions. (Num. 18:20-32, Lev. 21:22) All the offerings of grain, meat, wine and so forth went through their hands, and God allowed them to keep a portion as their sustenance. I would argue that the issues of ordination and of how one earns a living are intertwined. In virtually all cultures there is a priestly class or vocation, a clergy, people whose job and role in the economy is to provide religious services. I say "virtually" all, because I am aware of one exception in the American experience, and I will mention it here because I am not sure that Unificationism is entirely committed to financial support of its clergy.

The exception is the Latter Day Saints. Mormons do not earn a living by serving as clergy. According to a Mormon blog, "Tithing does not pay Church leaders. Nobody acquires wealth at the hands of a Mormon congregation. Bishops, stake presidents, and all other leaders in the Church serve willingly without wages... They support themselves by working in their chosen professions during the week. My dad is a bishop, but on weekdays he also works as a high school counselor. The bishop of my congregation in Logan, Utah is an orthopedic surgeon. They both pay tithing too." Mormons are expected to tithe, and "The money goes toward maintaining Church operation, such as constructing temples, chapels, and other buildings, funding day-to-day Church functions, funding the missionary program, preparing materials used in Church classes and organizations, performing temple work, family history, and many other important Church functions, education (Church-owned universities, seminaries, and Institutes of Religion)."[29]

In the Mormon Church, we do not see professional educational requirements. The church education and nurture given all Mormon males leads to their entering the priesthood. "The Mormon Church does not have paid professionals as church leaders. It is a lay clergy. All worthy male members of the church are ordained to the priesthood and have the authority to officiate and the leaders are called to serve from the general membership." Advancement to more specialized roles in the "Melchizidek priesthood," that of patriarch, evangelist or apostle, inter alia, is not based on formal education or training, but rather upon character and faith witnessed through personal relationships: "There is no general age at which one is ordained to offices higher than that of elder. Rather, this is at the discretion and inspiration of the presiding priesthood leaders."[30]

Despite the Mormon appeal to various Christian scriptures, the practice of a priesthood or clergy earning their living from the religious vocation is grounded in the Mosaic law and is carried forward by the founders of the New Testament communities. God deprived the Levites of other means of support; they survived by the institutes of his religion alone. While Paul is said to have made his living as a tentmaker, not on the gifts of his fellow believers, he nonetheless did gain support from his followers and approved of Peter supporting his family through the church. (1 Cor. 9:13-14; cf. Matt. 10, Luke 10[31]) It is to be noted that the Lord told Peter to give up making his living as a fisherman. The mainstream Christian tradition fully adheres to its Jewish antecedents in this religious economy. What would be the Unification Church position on this matter?

Rev. Moon devolved priestly functions to the family and seems to expect significant ministry functions to take place in the family as well. Healthy families are expected produce people with strong mental health and public-mindedness, and to guard against sin, neurosis, estrangements and conflict. Pastor care is provided within a robust family and clan network. Healthy families produce healthy individuals; healthy elders police their young ones; the fount of evil-the sexual problem-is, in the ideal, channeled through a culture of courtship that combines parental, grand-parental and youthful energies and interests. The home is the center of spiritual life, and the elder's homes are the center of community life.[32] He did not create a weekly worship format; in fact he declared that God's Sabbath comes every eight days. Celebration of it is minimal, taking place at home at 5 a.m. and consisting of children bowing to parents, a prayer and readings. Though this sets in place a vision for the sinless world in which prayer, repentance and churches are not necessary, we are not there yet and the emerging second generation leadership is affirming the role of the Unification Church in the future of the movement.


Two Unification Ordinations

Benefits of a Professional Ministry

Assuming we follow the Protestant model, in the United States, the "rights and privileges thereunto appertaining" the UTS degree could be significant. They could include the right administer the sacraments associated with the Blessing, to assume the public position of member of the Unification Church clergy, to join and speak in appropriate national and international associations and forums of peers, and to write and speak on behalf of the church, its founders and its theology. The privileges could include access to specific ministerial livings within the global body of the True Parents' ministry. Ordination bespeaks an organized church, and an organized church will value an ordained clergy, provide a career track with salary, insurance, pension, housing, tax benefits, educational benefits and retirement plans. Ordination comes with the security of a living.

Ordination grants an individual recognition of the community that grants that ordination. At the same time, the more similar any particular certification is to that granted by other religious organizations, the more access the ordination will provide into occupations in the larger society, and here is a benefit of including the accredited UTS degree as part of the requirements because it is a professionally accredited degree. If the Unification Church establishes formal ordination, its recipients will gain further benefits that are available and recognized in civil society. The ordained individual will be able to join professional and civic associations, take leadership in community affairs (for example, suicide prevention), and access vocations that require ordination from a publicly recognized church or religious body. These include chaplaincy and various types of professional counseling certifications. Ordination opens access to continuing professional education and development, and licensing to perform weddings and other civil society functions.

UTS is setting up paths for its students to get certification from public institutions such as the Red Cross and Association of Clinical Pastoral Education as part of their Masters degree course. This will help them enter into professional bodies such as clergy associations, governmental and community institutions, to apply for grants, qualify for further certifications and gain tax benefits. It also enhances job satisfaction through a publicly acknowledged achievement and the honor befitting having fulfilled publicly-validated standards to achieve one's title and status. Unificationist in professional chaplaincy can broaden their ministries into government-level peace building between religions. The way that Unificationism can broaden its ministry is to develop a "certification for interfaith peace builders." UTS adjunct professor Dr. Ronald Brown suggests "ordination as a 'Global Minister' to a 'Peace Ministry.'"[33] This would entail an elucidation of standards that UTS would use for the design of its academic and spiritual formation program for its interfaith students, in particular advanced education and training for Ambassadors for Peace.

For the church, ordination is a means to review and assess its leadership, to exclude "free riders" and guarantee return on investment, that recipients are "worth their salt." In a sense, ordination is an intensive vetting. It assures that advancement as a spiritual leader is based upon education, training, experience and merit in a transparent process.

By the Unification Church training and ordaining a professional clergy it will field benefits of two kinds. One is to develop and lead congregations with ministries and education that strengthen the society of believers, to help believers establish ideal families and to create a model for godly structures in all walks of life.[34] The second is to provide Unificationists with credentials that are recognized by the institutions of society for the sake of serving in ministry in the larger society.

To substantiate the Blessed society on a worldwide scale, tools, skills and knowledge are needed. To educate and Bless all people will require a massive cadre of trained, disciplined teachers and counselors reaching with inclusive love to people of all faith traditions. The training and ordination of a professional ministry is necessary for this. This ordination will serve the interfaith purposes of peacebuilding;, it will enable young Unificationists to exercise their spiritual prowess throughout society as ministers, chaplains, service leaders and peacebuilders.



I have distinguished between two Unification ordinations. The Blessing bestows a priestly ordination upon all Blessed Couples to share the Blessing and develop home-based ministries. Formal education and training leads to ordination upon those called to professional, public ministry.

The ordination to priesthood gives rise to community in the neighborhood, workplace and extended family. The movement refers to this as being a Blessed Central Family or Tribal Messiah. This is not a paid position; it does not come with a title. Education to this Blessing priesthood is part and parcel of general Blessing education. Additional ministry skill development is valuable, but the Blessing priesthood is a charism more than a formal skill set. The most important education would be that of marriage, parenting and community-building skills.

Ordination as a professional minister, on the other hand, grants public religious authority. It is a profession with a title and financial support. It is a vocation for professionals with a seminary education who serve local peace communities, minister to the sick, impoverished and imprisoned, provide counsel for marriage and family life, and work for social justice and racial and religious harmony.

To maintain balance between these two ordinations is vital, and we need to recognize the benefits and drawbacks of each in order to balance them. On behalf of formal ordination to the ministry, individual excellence is an order of creation, and there will be individuals called to public spiritual leadership. Public celebration of and worship of God requires gifted, trained leaders, preachers and teachers to articulate and impart the community's identity and values, and these are worthy of professional training and certification. The local folk religion of family-communities needs to be vivified on a global scale by the public discipline, focused leadership, and sustained theological exploration and explication provided by a professional ministry. Society should have a mechanism to form spiritual leaders imbued with its highest values and inherited wisdom, to give proper voice to the prophetic, abundant, diversifying spiritual creativity each generation manifests. To achieve these purposes, professional training, collegial examination and public ordination are essential.

But overemphasis upon the professional dimensions of ministry can lead to bureaucratization, loss of fervor, the creation of a "spiritual class" and even a single-payer system, a state church, historically the deathblow to vital spirituality. To guard against this, society must acknowledge and honor the freely bestowed priesthood of all Blessed believers, based on the theological affirmation that the household is the locus of God's presence in the world. Authentic living arises out of the divine power bestowed upon and through husband-wife, parent-child and sibling love. The people of the Book know that God did not create a church, or a state, in the Garden; He created a family. The family, not the church, is the vehicle of salvation in the Unification system.

In the final analysis, excellent ministry unites the professional and familial. Parental heart is the standard by which the quality of professional ministry is measured. The family ideal is what congregations strive to emulate, as manufactured formula strives to emulate mother's milk. The very purpose of the professional ministry is to support, enrich and protect the true tabernacle, the root of the universal church: the family and household. The ultimate value is not the church, it is the family; it is, not the guild, it is the household. The prophets of Israel understood this, the teachers of the church did as well, and Reverend Moon has made it even more plain. With this non-negotiable truth as its foundation, the profession of ministry is an honorable estate, one most essential to the fulfillment of God's ideal of the family. With this firmly in mind, the Unification Church should establish the process of ordination for a professional clergy.



[1] The early transcripts of Rev. Moon's talks in America were distributed under the title "Master Speaks." This illustrates that the perception of American converts leaned toward viewing Sun Myung Moon as a sage from the East, not a Christian minister. The poster for his first American speaking tour identified Sun Myung Moon as a "Christian Master from the East."

[2] Therese Marie Klein Stewart, "The Challenges to Sustaining Unification Faith and the Spiritual Quest After Seminary," Doctoral Diss., Teachers College, Columbia University, 1996, p. 9.

[3] At least one seminary graduate has engaged deeply with another church in order to obtain that church's ordination for the purpose of career advancement as a military chaplain. His is an unusual case, but he is but one of three who have had to appeal for letters of endorsement from the UC that are required because the church does not grant ordination.

[4] The Unification Church has established a strong accountability structure of authority down from the global to the level of local church leader, based on the Cain-Abel paradigm. Cain-Abel is a critical piece of Unification theology; I would venture that the practical Unification system stands or falls on the effectiveness and persuasiveness of the Cain-Abel relationship. The Unification system is a hierarchy of Cain-Abel relationships. This subject deserves a separate article.

[5] For Protestants, the core of ministry is not the sacraments but the effective preaching of God's word. Luther defended the position that the bread and wine are indeed transformed in the Eucharistic celebration even without the officiator possessing supernatural power; his Calvinist and Zwinglian successors dropped the claim.

[6] Job Description of an Imam (edited for brevity): The primary responsibility of the imam is to lead the community in its regular prayers and preach Islamic doctrine to the community. He will perform his responsibility by doing the following: 1. The Imam should normally lead all prayers... 2. arrange for... men, women, teens and children [to] become knowledgeable about Islam. 3. [arrange] "Family Circles"... 4. [attend] to the needs of the Muslim Youth... 5. help families get knowledge about ...the Qur'an and the Sunna regarding family life... 6. help in administering funerals and in other occasions... 8. interact with the Non-Muslim community on different occasions including giving talks on Islam to other groups... 11. interact with Muslim patients in the local hospitals.... (http://www.kingstonmuslims.net/formsandposters/Imam_Job_Description.htm)

Job Description of the Rabbi (edited for brevity): All rabbis preserve the substance of Jewish religious worship... Rabbis... are responsible directly to the board of trustees of the congregation they serve... considerable time in administrative duties... play a role in community relations... may write for religious and lay publications and teach in theological seminaries, colleges and universities.(http://www.worldwidelearn.com/ career-planning-education/social-science/rabbis.htm)

Job Description of a Roman Catholic Diocesan Priest (edited for brevity): Diocesan priests commit their lives to serving the people ... and generally work in parishes, schools, or other Catholic institutions as assigned by the bishop of their diocese. Diocesan priests take oaths of celibacy and obedience. Diocesan priests attend to the spiritual, pastoral, moral, and educational needs of the members of their church... direct and serve on church committees, work in civic and charitable organizations... counsel parishioners preparing for marriage or the birth of a child... may hold teaching and administrative posts in Catholic seminaries, colleges and universities, and high schools. (http://www.worldwidelearn.com/career-planning-education/social-science/roman-catholic-priest.htm)

[7] I am indebted to Dr. Andrew Wilson for this clarifying insight.

[8] Discovering God: The Origins of the Great Religions and the Evolution of Belief, Ch. 3: "Rome: An Ancient Religious Marketplace" (New York: HarperCollins, 2007).

[9] It is worth noting that synagogue Judaism and Islam had broken down this wall centuries prior to Luther; Luther's advance was in the denomination of all believers as priests, something foreign to those faith traditions.

[10] Martin Luther, Weimar Ausgabe, vol. 6, p. 407, lines 19-25 as quoted in Timothy Wengert, "The Priesthood of All Believers and Other Pious Myths," page 12, from Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priesthood_of_all_believers#cite_note-1

[11] Ibid.

[12] Reverend Moon underlines this when he calls us even to be repentant as we consume the creation for physical sustenance.

[13] "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul." (Lev. 17:11, KJV)

[14] Likewise, the Qur'an teaches that Satan touches each fetus in the womb, but that Satan could not touch Jesus in Mary's womb.

[15] Cf. Theodore Shimmyo, "Unification Christology: A Fulfillment of Niceno-Chalcedonian Orthodoxy," in Shimmyo, Theodore and David Carlson, eds., Explorations in Unificationism (New York: HSA-UWC, 1997), pp. 17-36.

[16] In Reverend Moon's words, "The value of Jesus' precious blood and the ceremony of the Eucharist are symbolic and figurative expressions of the dispensation aiming to make people God's children through the change of lineage." Cheong Seong Gyeong: Selections from the Speeches of True Parents (Seoul, Korea: Sunghwa, 2006) p. 1159. I note that this speech was given before 1,700 clergy and others at a banquet in Washington, DC, held on August 20, 1985 on the occasion of Reverend Moon's release from Danbury prison.

[17] For a concise explanation of this, see Reverend Sun Myung Moon, "The Change of Blood Lineage: The Ultimate Experience of Salvation" in God's Will and the World (New York, NY: HSA-UWC, 1985). One might ask whether this is claimed to be a symbolic event or a substantial change in the recipient's blood. Unificationism views the spiritual and physical as distinct realms of the creation order that nonetheless stand in relationship with each other. Thus this event, as do all, has correlative physical and spiritual effects. Spiritually, it operates in the realm of symbol and meaning. Physically, it operates in the blood and cells of the body.

[18] Is the multiplication the same as transubstantiation? Into that I will not delve. This act of creating the holy wine is not, as in the Mass, a formal part of the public ceremony. Nonetheless, it is carried out according to a formal procedure established by the church. It is analogous to the multiplication of holy salt, presented in the church's one book of rituals, The Tradition, Book One (New York: The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, 1985), p. 49.

[19] In Roman Catholic tradition, the betrothed man and woman serve as priests in their own marriage, with the ordained priest serving as a witness. In Eastern Orthodoxy, this is not the case; the ordained priest conducts the sacramental ceremony.

[20] Stewart, op. cit.

[21] That the Unification Church should maintain this standard in its policy for granting ordination would not make it a great exception to American norms. The United Presbyterian Church in Red Bluff, California, which is my hometown, in 2005 dismissed their pastor because she and her husband divorced.

[22] For this option, the committee agreed that any church that is hiring a pastor would have the right to consider the marriage status as part of the job description for their particular church. This allows singles to access professional certifications in counseling and chaplaincy, and to serve congregations that desire them. Congregations that desire to have a Blessed person or couple in the leadership would have that prerogative. I note here that in the 2006 survey that my local church, the Mid-Hudson Valley Family Church, carried out during its pastor search, we queried as to the qualifications that the community wanted to see in its pastor. The number one qualification was that the person have a strong blessed marriage.

[23] William H. Willimon, "First Call," Christian Century, June 17, 2008, p. 12.

[24] Moon, Cheong Seong Gyeong, p. 1225.

[25] Bill Hybels, "Defining Moments: The Seminary of the Future," audio tape, October 2000, copyright Willow Creek Association, Barrington, IL, 60011.

[26] A study of the demographics of church recruitment in the 1970s would reveal this. The experience of a personal friend of mine is typical. He attended a weekend retreat at my request, was powerfully transformed by the experience, but no one in the church followed up or invited him to join. There was no role for him, a married man with a young child, to play. He was not part of the target market.

[27] The Young Oon Kim (YOK) Project of UTS is a case in point. We sought to generate local recruitment and financial backing for the sake of developing future leaders.

[28] Thus we can validate the unwillingness, or inability, of the UC to make a rapid response to the seminary ordination proposal. On the other hand, we note that a church unable to establish and proclaim, with one voice, its theological fundamentals, its kerygma, its core message to the world, and build social structures that embody it does not have much chance of long-term success.

[29] Care for the poor, the sick and widows is covered through "separate funds (fast offerings and humanitarian aid)." http://whatdomormonsbelieve.blogspot.com/2008/07/tithing-and-unpaid-clergy.html

[30] http://www.familiesforever.com/article_faith_6_mormonism

[31] For an interesting exposition on the contemporary "tentmaker" movement of unpaid clergy among evangelical Christians, see http://www.globalopps.org/papers/whydid.htm

[32] The traditions spawned by both Luther and Calvin led to house-church movements-Pietism among the Lutherans and patriarch-led house church among the Reformed. Thus the impetus within the Unificationist eschatological norm arose and flourished, but never attained normative status. The parish church led by an ordained minister maintained its unquestioned supremacy; the house church was adjunct to it. Reverend Moon seems to see the house church as ultimately prevailing. We see this trend in the "family church" movement among American Christians such as Ben Freudenberg, Kerry Ptacek and Eric Wallace.

[33] E-mail from Ronald Brown to the author, April 23, 2009.

[34] A proviso: this leadership can in theory be exercised under any traditional religious form. This seems to be a premise of the view that there can be Catholic Unificationists, Muslim Unificationists, etc.