Campus View
News for friends of MTSO
December 2019

‘Students are thrilled’

Tejai Beulah appointed to MTSO faculty

MTSO President Jay Rundell has announced the appointment of Tejai Beulah as assistant professor of history, ethics, and black church and African diaspora studies, effective July 1, 2020.

Beulah has served as MTSO’s coordinator of partnerships and the Black Church and African Diaspora Specialization since 2017 and has taught as an adjunct professor since 2015. She earned her doctorate in American religious history from Drew University. Her dissertation examines the theological writings of black evangelical preachers and activists in the black power era.

Beulah received a Master of Theological Studies degree from MTSO; a master’s degree in African American and African studies from Ohio State University; and a bachelor’s degree in English, history and gender diversity studies from Xavier University.

“Dr. Beulah has already been a valuable member of our learning community,” said MTSO Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs Valerie Bridgeman. “Students are thrilled to see this evolution from staff and adjunct faculty to appointed faculty, offering a more direct relationship with students as advisor and mentor. I personally am very proud to have her become the first faculty appointment under my deanship. She will continue to add to the school's legacy to build community and curriculum rooted in justice and the Gospel.”

Preaching Mark as a Parable

O. Wesley Allen Jr. to lead Schooler Institute on Preaching

Preacher, educator and widely published author O. Wesley Allen Jr. will lead the 2020 Schooler Institute on Preaching at Methodist Theological School in Ohio.

The two-day event will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 3 and 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 4. Thanks to the generosity of the Schooler Family Foundation, the Schooler Institute is offered to the public without cost, as is lunch both days. Advance registration is required and available at One continuing education unit is available for a $25 processing fee.

Allen, the Lois Craddock Perkins Professor of Homiletics at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology, has chosen the theme “Preaching Mark as a Parable” for the Schooler Institute.

He argues that the author of the Second Gospel wrote the entire narrative as a parable to challenge and change the way the original audience thought about Christ, the reign of God and their roles as disciples. The first day of Schooler will focus on this reading and techniques for preaching individual Markan passages in light of the parabolic nature of the whole document. On the second day, Allen will present strategies for preaching through Mark cumulatively, especially for (but not limited to) those following the Revised Common Lectionary.

The Synoptic Gospels are among Allen’s areas of specialization. He wrote his 1996 dissertation on Luke-Acts; authored an exegetical textbook titled Reading the Synoptic Gospels: Basic Methods for Interpreting Matthew, Mark, and Luke in 2000 and revised it in 2013; and contributed the volume Matthew to the Fortress Biblical Preaching Commentaries series in 2013. He is currently working on a critical preaching commentary on the Gospel of Mark.

Allen holds a Ph.D. from Emory Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School and a bachelor’s degree from Birmingham-Southern College. An ordained United Methodist elder, he is past president of the Academy of Homiletics.

Apply today

Premier scholarship competition slated for February

MTSO has opened its national premier scholarship competition for students who plan to enroll in the fall of 2020. The application deadline is Jan. 17. Details and an application form are available at

The average non-loan aid award for MTSO’s master’s degree students is $13,000 per year. Half of all MTSO master’s students have earned full-tuition scholarships.

“We’re committed to making graduate theological education affordable, practical and relevant for our students,” said Benjamin Hall, MTSO director of enrollment management. “With the support of generous donors, we’ve assembled an outstanding array of scholarships. We’ve developed innovative class schedules that fit busy lives. And our degree programs continue to evolve and innovate, most recently with the introduction of the Master of Arts in Social Justice.”

Premier scholarship candidates will be evaluated based on academic achievement (an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher is required) and potential for leadership. Applicants must be available to participate in the scholarship interview process Feb. 17 and 18.

“Our scholarship interview process is valuable in a number of ways,” Hall said. “Prospective students often form friendships over those two days that last through seminary and into their careers. We're excited to welcome this year’s candidates to campus.”

Julia Watts Belser lecture

Reading Noah’s Ark in the Age of Climate Change

The Theological Commons at MTSO welcomes Georgetown University Associate Professor of Jewish Studies Julia Watts Belser for a public lecture, “Reading Noah's Ark in the Age of Climate Change: Jewish Stories on Gender, Disability, and the Politics of Survival.” The lecture begins at 7 p.m. Feb. 25 in the Alford Centrum. It is free and open to the public. No registration is required.

Belser’s talk grapples with disability and climate change, reading Jewish traditions about Noah and the biblical flood into conversation with queer feminist ethics, disability studies and environmental justice work. Through the ambivalent portrait of the man and his ark, as well as tales of individuals who survive the flood and those who are left behind, Jewish tradition reckons with questions of human hubris and the politics of survival.

In addition to her teaching position, Belser is a senior research fellow at Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. She is the author of two scholarly books, Rabbinic Tales of Destruction: Gender, Sex, and Disability in the Ruins of Jerusalem and Power, Ethics, and Ecology in Jewish Late Antiquity: Rabbinic Responses to Drought and Disaster.

Belser earned her Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley, a master’s degree from the Academy for Jewish Religion and a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University. She has held faculty fellowships at Harvard Divinity School and the Katz Center for Advanced Jewish Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. As a rabbi and a longtime advocate for disability and gender justice, she is passionate about bringing feminist, queer and disability culture into conversation with Jewish tradition.

Jan. 21

Winter Open House will welcome prospective students

Are you considering a graduate theological degree? Is someone you know? A half-day at MTSO will offer a real sense of what prospective students can expect, from academics to generous scholarships.

MTSO will host its Winter Admissions Open House Jan. 21 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Highlights include opportunities to sit in on a class, tour apartments and residence halls, explore MTSO’s many financial aid options, and talk with current students, faculty and admissions counselors.

The Open House is free. Lunch is provided, and overnight housing may be available.

Learn more and register here.