Campus View
News for friends of MTSO
June 2017


You're invited to something special

In a time that calls for people to step forward for the good of the planet, MTSO has become a beacon. This school attracts – and sends forth – leaders who are committed to the stewardship of the earth. I’m happy today to offer you a unique opportunity to be part of helping that beacon to shine even brighter.

Step back for a moment and imagine that you’re learning for the first time about a theological school that has emerged as a leader in its community and among its peers in the area of ecotheology. Picture a seminary whose curriculum integrates justice and sustainability ; a school that employs new, green technology to heat, cool and power its facilities; a campus with an organic farm that offers good food, education and inspiration to its broader community.

Is that a place that might be worthy of a special investment on your part?   

MTSO is that place. To celebrate what we’ve achieved and to help us build on this work in the future, we’ve planned a special fundraising event for Wednesday, July 19, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. We’re calling it An Evening on the Farm, and it will be unlike anything this school has hosted before.

Come enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres featuring fresh food from Seminary Hill Farm and other local sources. Take a tour led by our farmers. As live music plays in the background, talk with people who came to MTSO specifically to engage ecotheology as part of their teaching and learning. And be among the first to learn about our next steps in this important work.

Find out more about An Evening on the Farm and to register to be a part of it.

Many of you have seen – and tasted – for yourselves the things that are setting MTSO apart. Now I hope you’ll come and share in the satisfaction of contributing to something special. Reserve your place today. See you on July 19.

–​ Jay Rundell

Chloe's Circle

Theological Commons hosts two-day WomanPreach! Inc. event

Women ​from ​diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds are invited to ​work ​together on ​the ​practice ​of ​prophetic ​public ​speaking ​and ​preaching at MTSO Sept. 29 and 30. Chloe's Circle, presented by WomanPreach! Inc. and MTSO's Theological Commons, will explore ​the ​ways ​in ​which ​preachers can ​share ​truth ​in ​the ​face ​of disparity and injustice. The theme is "If You ​Consider ​Me ​a ​Believer: ​A ​Witness ​to ​God's ​Justice ​for ​the ​World."

The program will be led by:

Valerie Bridgeman, associate professor of homiletics and Hebrew Bible at MTSO. In addition to her work at MTSO, Dr. Bridgeman is the founding president and CEO of WomanPreach! Inc. She is in demand as a speaker and preacher throughout the country.

Yvonne Zimmerman, associate professor of Christian ethics at MTSO. Her areas of expertise include feminist theory; gender and sexuality studies; social theory; U.S. human trafficking policy; and liberationist ethics. She is the author of Other Dreams of Freedom: Religion, Sex and Human Trafficking.

Jaha Zainabu, a literary poet, spoken word artist, storyteller, visual artist and motivational speaker from Long Beach, California. She has been featured in venues throughout the country, including the Getty Museum, the World Stage and the Nuyorcian Cafe. 

Tuition for Chloe's Circle is $150 for non-students and $100 for students. This covers all sessions, along with Saturday's breakfast and lunch. Learn more and register here.

Graduation news, photos and video

Congratulations, class of 2017

Forty-three graduate degrees were awarded at MTSO's 55th commencement May 20. Rev. Traci Blackmon, senior pastor of Christ the King United Church of Christ in Florissant, Missouri, and acting executive minister of justice and witness ministries for the UCC, addressed graduates.

The degrees awarded:

  • Two Doctor of Ministry.
  • 10 Master of Arts in Counseling Ministry.
  • Three Master of Arts in Practical Theology.
  • Three Master of Theological Studies.
  • 25 Master of Divinity.

Baccalaureate was held May 19, with graduating senior Beth Staten delivering the sermon.

Photos and video of Graduation Weekend 2017 - as well as photos from past years - are available here.

Supporting the mission

New graduates commit to recurring donations

At our commencement ceremony in May, graduating senior Joel Wildermuth presented Board of Trustees Chair Sandra Lutz with a new kind of senior class gift: He and his classmates invested directly in the mission of the school. Individual seniors chose to give to the Seminary Scholarship Fund, Methesco's Greatest Needs or Seminary Hill Farm. In addition, many of those who gave signed up for recurring gifts that will continue to support the school's mission into the future.

The school's fiscal year ends June 30. If you've been among our many generous donors over the past year, we thank you for your faithful support. If you haven't yet given, we invite you to join our newest alumni in helping to fund the vital work of theological education.

Online giving is easy and secure. By visiting our giving page, you may choose either a one-time or recurring gift. 

We are currently compiling our 2016-17 Donor Honor Roll, which will be published in the upcoming issue of The Story Magazine and Annual Report. We hope your gifts will be among those the honor roll celebrates. 

Ordained and commissioned

Students and alums celebrate ministry milestones

MTSO alumna Jessica Stonecypher was among MTSO alumni ordained at the West Ohio Annual Conference. (Photo by Derkworks Photography, courtesy of the West Ohio Conference.)

Annual conference season brings major vocational steps for those entering ministry. MTSO students and alumni around the country are celebrating those steps.

Within Ohio's two United Methodist annual conferences, MTSO is very well represented among those ordained or commissioned as deacons or elders. In East Ohio, where candidates hailed from five seminaries, seven of 13 candidates ordained or commissioned are from MTSO. In West Ohio, with 11 schools represented, 21 of the 46 who were ordained or commissioned are from MTSO. 

A listing of those with MTSO connections who are being ordained and commissioned is here

Updates for The Magazine

Alums, share your news

When The Story Magazine and Annual Report publishes Alum News this fall, we'd like your news to be a part of it. Please take a moment to update us on any activities, adventures and milestones over the past year. 

It’s easy to share your news and update your contact information at You’re also invited to share an optional photo to go with your news.

Our Alum News is an ongoing record of the meaningful lives MTSO’s alumni are leading. Thanks for your contribution to it.

A few hours very well spent

Admissions Open House is July 25

If you or someone you know is considering graduate theological education, MTSO's Summer Admissions Open House promises a useful, efficient and invigorating use of five hours. The event is free and open to any prospective graduate theological student.

The Summer Admissions Open House is Tuesday, July 25, 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, talk with current students, faculty and admissions counselors, and learn about Seminary Hill Farm.

Lunch is provided, and overnight housing may be available. Registration is quick and easy. Here is the form and more information.