FROM THE PRESIDENT
Remembering Flo Gault
Spring is always an inspiring time on our campus, with a group of our students completing their passage through seminary and embarking on vocations as graduates. Naturally, that makes this a season of reflection as well.
If we’re not careful, it can become too easy to travel through life without reflecting on the people who have made our journey possible. Here at MTSO, we worship, study, dine, socialize and live in facilities named for people who have contributed enormously to the church, the community and, specifically, this school.
For many years, our students and faculty have shared the classrooms and offices of Gault Hall, a gift of the family of Stanley C. and Flo K. Gault. Their generosity has deeply enhanced the programming and administrative work of the seminary as well.
It was clear during Flo’s April 22 memorial service at Wooster United Methodist Church that MTSO is one of numerous organizations that are richer for her devotion to the church and her passion for education.
Flo joined the board of MTSO in 1987 and was named an emeritus trustee in 2010. Throughout that time, we benefited from her insight, her commitment to our mission and her interest in the future of theological education. Gault Hall was built as a state-of-the-art learning center, and the many ways we’ve worked to apply the latest educational technology in recent years have had her enthusiastic support. She understood what it means to hold MTSO in trust.
I’ll personally miss Flo’s friendship and counsel, and I extend my condolences again to Stan and the rest of her loving family. I trust it gives them some measure of comfort to know future generations will be served by the seminarians who prepare for ministry within Gault Hall, a vibrant symbol of her investment in the work of this place.
OCT. 7 EVENT
New Alumni Day includes
Mount Awards and more
MTSO will begin a new tradition this fall with the launch of Alumni Day, a celebration for all former and current members of our campus community on Monday, Oct. 7. The day-long event will offer opportunities for worship, fellowship, learning, and recognition of outstanding alumni and emeriti.
Planned happenings include:
- Continental Breakfast
- Faculty lectures (eligible for 0.5 CEUs)
- Mount Alumni Awards Luncheon
- Jazz Vespers
Another MTSO tradition, the Schooler Institute on Preaching, will be held in February, as it was this year.
“Our post-Epiphany, pre-Lent timing for the Schooler Institute proved very popular,” said MTSO President Jay Rundell. “At the same time, we know what a special season fall is on this campus, so we’re happy to be able to bring everyone together for Alumni Day as the leaves start to turn.”
Mark Oct. 7 on your calendar now, and plan to help celebrate this new MTSO tradition. More details and registration information are coming soon.
Van Meter’s book blends
youth ministry and ecology
Tim Van Meter finished writing his newly published book in December. But the core of its message came to him more than 20 years ago, when he was in the midst of a different career.
The book is “Created in Delight: Youth, Church, and the Mending of the World,” published by Wipf and Stock. Van Meter, assistant professor in the Alford Chair of Christian Education and Youth Ministry, uses it to outline an approach to youth ministry that puts humans’ relationship with all of creation front and center.
“I worked as an environmental planner for an engineering firm,” Van Meter said. He spent time walking a road corridor in advance of an interstate project in Indiana, comparing the wildlife he found to what was recorded in historical ecological data from the region. And he was struck by the loss of diversity over the decades.
“I realized that a stream where I found just three minnow species once had 65 species of fish,” he said. “I’d been in youth ministry prior to doing this work. And it occurred to me that ecological questions and the ecological stress I was seeing firsthand – faith wasn’t removed from those questions. A sense of who we are in this place was important both to faith and to ecology.”
Van Meter calls that realization “the reason I went to seminary.” And it’s the driving idea behind “Created in Delight.”
“Youth ministry is too often conceived as a way to save the church going forward,” he said. “I think ministry with youth should be: Let’s engage the big questions together, about God, about faith, about the world we live in. And ecological questions are big questions.”
He’s aware that some might see wrestling with climate change and other ecological concerns as a niche within the world of youth ministry, not a guiding force: “Quite honestly, I think that’s the response most folks have. But this is one of the most significant issues that future generations will continue to be affected by.
“Food, climate, soil, water – ecology’s at the forefront of all the things we’re concerned about. It affects how we deal with poverty and how we deal with other areas of social justice. When we have a serious heat wave, when we have blizzards, when we have hurricanes hitting major metropolitan areas, folks without resources are adversely affected at a much higher level.”
In writing “Created in Delight,” Van Meter worked to temper his passion for the subject, aiming to be more useful than preachy.
“I don’t want to be one more ecological scold or one more moral scold in the faith community,” he said. With that in mind, he ends each chapter with suggested sustaining practices for three audiences: the reader, the youth and the full faith community. For instance, at the end of Chapter 3, “On Earth as in Heaven,” he suggests talking with youth about climate change and ecology, and asking them where they see hope and where they “pray for hope to be revealed.”
Rather than seeking “some sort of purity,” Van Meter said, his advice is, “Let’s do our best to know our world and live into solutions.”
“I’m not trying to speak about big solutions for big problems but about small groups of committed people changing the place in which they live. If people decide their parish will be a place where people, other creatures, and the general environment are healthy and thriving, that can be a powerful way to change a city block.”
Graduates of 2013
embark on ministries
Members of the class of ’63 – the school’s first graduating class – reunited to celebrate 50 years since their own commencement and to process with this year’s class. They gathered for several meals and to have their photo taken on the steps of Werner Hall, just as they had half a century ago.
Edgar, who is founding pastor of the United Methodist Church for All People and executive director of Community Development for All People, urged graduates to “commence creating an authentic, inclusive body of Christ, a church that’s a front porch to the kingdom of God.
“Yes, sadly, many of us as soon as tomorrow morning will return to congregations to worship God that are incredibly monolithic – one class, one race, one culture,” he said. “But right outside your door there is a world of difference in your backyard. There always has been, and there always will be.
“Part of the beauty of this institution is inviting you to face that, embrace it and be transformed by it. So I ask you: Are you willing to spend your life in ministry finding ways to create unity from diversity to build the body?”
Video of the entire ceremony, including Edgar’s address and remarks by Board Chair David Wilcox and President Jay Rundell, was streamed live and is still available on MTSO’s Livestream page. More photos from the day are on MTSO’s Facebook page.
Bob Miller receives inaugural
Wilcox Leadership Award
MTSO’s Closing Convocation May 7 was enhanced by the presentation of a new award. Emeritus Professor Bill McCartney and his wife, Judy, founded the David Wilcox Leadership Award this year to honor a graduating senior who reflects characteristics of servant-leadership within the MTSO community and in church ministry, and who shows promise to become a leader in judicatory connections.
The award honors the service and leadership of the Rev. Dr. David Wilcox within the United Methodist Church and as a trustee of MTSO. Wilcox is senior pastor of Wooster United Methodist Church and chair of the MTSO Board of Trustees, on which he has served for 34 years.
The first recipient of the David Wilcox Leadership Award is Bob Miller, who received his Master of Divinity degree May 18 and is appointed to Milan Marble Memorial United Methodist Church. He was one of 16 honorees at Closing Convocation this spring. Here is a complete list of awards and their recipients.
Another legacy realized
By Rev. Stan Ling
Director of Development
Last year, a longtime friend of MTSO succumbed to a lengthy illness, and that generous person’s dying ensured a lasting and consequential legacy.
Twenty years ago, that donor made plans for Methodist Theological School in Ohio and several other non-profit organizations to share a percentage of the estate. Last week, we received a $20,000 check for our Seminary Scholarship Fund. This gift will have real and immediate impact in the lives of those who are heeding a call to ministry.
As you think about your legacy, I hope you might consider the lasting good you can do for those we prepare for service to our churches and communities by including MTSO in your estate plans. We recently published a booklet, “Gifts of Lasting Significance,” to help our donors and their advisors consider which approach to planned giving best suits them.
If you’ll contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 740-362-3130, I’d be happy to send you a copy of the booklet and assist you in this process. Thank you for considering how your legacy gift can enrich the lives of our future students and those they’ll go on to serve.
KNOW A POTENTIAL SEMINARIAN?
Fall Open House welcomes
At the Fall Open House Oct. 1, prospective students will have a chance to sit in on classes, tour apartments and residence halls, learn about MTSO’s many scholarships and other financial aid opportunities, and meet with current students.
If you’re considering theological education or know someone who is, we invite you to read more about campus visits.
SHARING ALUM NEWS
What’s new with you?
We always want to hear the latest news about the ministry of our alumni. We’re currently compiling alum news for the fall issue of “The Story Magazine and Annual Report.” If you haven’t brought us up to date recently, please take a few moments to visit this page and share your news with the wider MTSO community. Thanks.