Campus View
News for friends of MTSO
January 2024


Students wrap up a two-week trip to South Africa

MTSO’s January Term cross-cultural immersion drew to a close Jan. 19 following two weeks in South Africa. Led by Assistant Professor of Practical Theology Kate Common and adjunct faculty member Taylor Denyer, students have shared a wide variety of experiences.

Among the many highlights were visits to the Nelson Mandela House and historic Regina Mundi Church in Soweto (pictured); Robben Island, where Mandela was imprisoned; Prestwich Memorial in Cape Town; the Lesedi Cultural Village in Lanseria; and the Bezvalley Food Garden Project in Johannesburg.

Additional photos are on MTSO’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

Cross-cultural immersion is an integral part of an MTSO education and is covered by tuition. A requirement for all master’s degrees, it is an opportunity to learn from and fully experience another culture, rather than attempting to “help” or impact other cultures different from one’s own.

Trips are scheduled twice a year, giving students an opportunity to explore intersections of economic, ecological, racial, gender and LGBTQ+, and justice issues.


Register by Feb. 19 for Schooler Institute on Preaching

The Schooler Institute will bring preachers together Feb. 28 and 29 under the theme “The Gift of Lament: A Journey from Struggle to Hope.”

Schooler will be held on the MTSO campus, led by three members of the faculty: Professor of Worship, Music and Spirituality Lisa Allen-McLaurin, Assistant Professor of Homiletics Eugene Gibson Jr., and Associate Professor of New Testament Ryan Schellenberg.

As an added component, Schooler will welcome leaders from MTSO’s partner organization WomanPreach! Inc., including founder and CEO Valerie Bridgeman, who also serves as MTSO’s dean and vice president for academic affairs. WomanPreach! Artist-in-Residence Jaha Zainabu will participate in Schooler and compose a poem for closing worship

The registration deadline is Feb. 19. Thanks to the generosity of the Schooler Family Foundation, the Schooler Institute is offered to the public without cost. One continuing education unit is available for $25.

Learn more and register here.


Claudine Leary departing MTSO for UM Discipleship Ministries

MTSO Director of Development Claudine Leary has accepted a position with the General Board of Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church. Her last day at MTSO will be Feb. 16.

Leary, who holds an MTSO Master of Divinity degree, will serve as fund development director for Discipleship Ministries. In sharing the news of her departure with the MTSO Administrative Council, she reflected on her time at the school.

“I love this place. This was like a promised land,” she said. “If I started sharing stories of how this place has been a blessing, we would be here the whole semester.”

“Claudine has been a wonderful asset to MTSO and will be for Discipleship Ministries as well,” said MTSO President Jay Rundell. “She worked in the development office as a student and has driven our development efforts for nearly 10 years. We will miss Claudine’s excellent work, and yet we know that her efforts are something we can build upon going forward.”

FEB. 15

WomanPreach! event honors the legacy of Jarena Lee

MTSO’s partner organization WomanPreach! Inc. will present its annual Jarena Lee Legacy Event, “Living into Our Call,” Thursday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Lee was the nation’s first woman preacher and the first Black woman to publish an autobiographical memoir. She served as a clergy person within the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The event will feature a conversation between Anne Henning Byfield (left photo), presiding bishop of the 13th Episcopal District of the AME Church, and WomanPreach! founder and MTSO Dean Valerie Bridgeman (right photo). Register for this free online event here.

Growing opportunity

Seminary Hill Farm seeks paid interns

MTSO’s Seminary Hill Farm is seeking full-time, paid farm interns. The intern experience is open to applicants 17 and older who have a calling to steward the land and engage in justice-oriented personal and community development. People from diverse life paths and of non-traditional ages are welcome to apply.

Compensation includes pay of $13 per hour, campus housing, lunch in the MTSO dining hall and a free weekly share of produce grown on the farm. Start and end dates are flexible. The season for internships spans March through mid-November annually.

More information and instructions for applying are here.