FROM THE PRESIDENT
With Connections, we offer
a bold new path to an M.Div.
After a long Central Ohio winter, it appears spring has finally arrived on MTSO’s campus. The daffodils have bloomed and the trees are budding. It’s a time of renewal here in other ways, too.
I’m particularly excited to tell you about our new offering for those seeking a Master of Divinity degree. We’re calling it Connections, and it’s designed for busy people who want the invigorating challenges of a classroom but need both a flexible schedule and a clear, time-limited path to a degree.
Beginning this fall, Connections will offer these students the best of two worlds. A Connections student will spend one great day a week on campus each week – we’re calling it Tuesdays Together. That will include up to four classes, along with a chapel service to foster spiritual formation and a community lunch. This on-campus time will be augmented by hybrid online learning, led by the same faculty members who teach the Tuesday classes. This leads to an M.Div. degree in just 33 months.
As you’re likely aware, online education has seen explosive growth in recent years. Quite frankly, we at MTSO have been treading carefully in this area. We aren’t willing to sacrifice the integrity of the education we offer for the sake of convenience. By the same token, we recognize the need to provide an accessible pathway to ministry for busy people who simply can’t afford to put their lives on hold in order to attend seminary several days a week.
Our solution has come in the form of hybrid online courses, some of which we’ve offered for a number of years. These courses provide the best elements of in-person and online education – each of which has unique benefits for various kinds of learners. Connections broadens our commitment to hybrid classes with a creative schedule that we believe is unique in theological education.
It’s important to note that Connections isn’t the only route to our M.Div. degree. We’ll still be offering classes on other days of the week, and more traditional paths to degrees are still available. Connections simply provides a new avenue that we believe addresses a real need for many people considering ministry.
I encourage you to read more about this exciting initiative at mtso.edu/connections. There you’ll find a sample schedule along with details about the MTSO approach to hybrid online learning.
One of the most important things each of us can do is recognize those around us who have something to share with the world and then invite them to consider what that might be. If you know someone who might be called to ministry, your recognition of that and your encouragement to discern that call may well be a part of the Spirit at work in that person’s life. If you think a seminary education is a path forward for them, we hope you will help them connect with Connections at MTSO.
As you’ll see below, this is a very busy spring for MTSO, with perfect opportunities for our alumni and friends to engage. Hope to see you at one of these great events.
SEMINAR BEGINS MAY 4
Learn how to improve your church’s approach to giving
“Generosity doesn’t come down through the genes. Generosity, sharing and values have to be taught.”
It was gifts from Tom and Marjorie Lake and their daughter, Karen Lake Buttrey, that helped create the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, a program of the nationally renowned Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. For the second year, the Theological Commons at MTSO and the Lake Institute have joined together to offer a unique opportunity for church leaders to learn and implement the best faith-based fundraising practices available today.
“Creating Congregational Cultures of Generosity” is a three-part seminar presented on three Fridays: May 3, June 7 and Sept. 13. It provides a safe and neutral environment for religious and philanthropic practitioners, scholars, and the public at large to engage in reflection and conversation about the role of money. This seminar was extremely well-received by our 2012 participants, including Rev. Jay Anderson of Easton Community Church. It inspired him to rethink his congregation’s approach to stewardship.
“Instead of bringing in a guest speaker,” Anderson said, “we have asked a few of our generous givers to share why they are giving to the church mission and vision – and what it does to confirm their faith.”
Tuition is $250 per person, which covers all three full-day seminar sessions, an accompanying notebook, lunch, and two CEU credits. If three or more people from the same congregation attend, each may pay the special rate of $225.
MAY 6 WORKSHOP
For transitioning pastors, a move from a current congregation to a new one brings challenges and opportunities, both professional and personal. Often, it’s hard for a pastor to find a safe space for frank conversations about transitional concerns, including the effects of moving on their families, parishioners and selves.
MTSO’s one-day workshop, “Pastors on the Move: Ending Well, Beginning Well,” provides that space and covers a range of issues, including: leaving or entering conflict; who to talk to about issues; family upheaval; and support for singles.
The workshop’s moderators are Dr. Jim Gebhart, an elder in the United Methodist Church and a licensed psychologist, and Dr. Lisa Withrow, professor of Christian leadership and associate academic dean at MTSO.
A single $20 tuition payment covers all sessions, lunch and 0.5 CEU credits.
LECTURE ON WORLD RELIGIONS
German theologian discusses theology after Auschwitz
German theologian Gunda Werner-Burggraf will present “Theology After Auschwitz: Abrahamic Perspectives,” the Ninth Annual Lecture on World Religions and Interreligious Dialogue, sponsored by the Theological Consortium of Greater Columbus. The consortium includes Methodist Theological School in Ohio, Trinity Lutheran Seminary, the Pontifical College Josephinum and associate member Bexley Hall Episcopal Seminary.
The lecture will be held at 7 p.m. April 17 in the Jessing Center at the Pontifical College Josephinum, 7625 N. High St. in Columbus. It is free and open to the public; no registration is required. The lecture is coordinated by Dr. Paul Numrich, an expert on world religions and interreligious relations and a tenured member of the MTSO and Trinity faculties.
Dr. Gunda Werner-Burggraf is a faculty member of the Department of Dogmatic Theology at Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany, a position she has held since February 2012.