Campus View
News for friends of MTSO
June 2022

Monday, Sept. 26

Plans are set for Alumni Day, live and in person

MTSO invites all MTSO alumni, students, faculty and staff – as well as former Methesco employees and guests of our Mount Award honorees – to gather for Alumni Day and take advantage of a long-delayed opportunity to reconnect.

Alumni Day begins with a 10:45 a.m. morning chapel service. Bishop C. Joseph Sprague (’65) will preach. The day continues with a luncheon honoring these recipients of the John and Ruth Mount Alumni Awards for Distinguished Service:

  • Paulette Buford-James (’13), superintendent, Starkville District, Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church.
  • Grace Imathiu (’87), senior pastor, First United Methodist Church, Evanston, Illinois.
  • David MacDonald (’02), university chaplain, Ohio Northern University.

As always, lunch will feature Seminary Hill Farm produce and other locally sourced food.

After lunch, we will offer guided tours of the MTSO campus and Seminary Hill Farm.

“Any sense of deja vu that folks are feeling is understandable,” said MTSO President Jay Rundell. “Our 2022 Alumni Day is essentially the celebration we had hoped to host in 2021, before we felt the need to cancel amid renewed COVID concerns. We have high hopes that an improved public-health outlook will allow us to welcome everyone back to campus this fall.”

All events are presented at no cost, though everyone who plans to attend is asked to RSVP here. This advance registration will help with food preparation and other planning.

Recognition for ‘Abject Joy’

Schellenberg wins Beare Award for a second time

MTSO Associate Professor of New Testament Ryan Schellenberg has won the 2022 Beare Award in recognition of his book Abject Joy: Paul, Prison, and the Art of Making Do, published by Oxford University Press. The Canadian Society of Biblical Studies presents the Beare Award annually in recognition of an outstanding book in the areas of Christian origins, post-biblical Judaism or Greco-Roman religions.

This is Schellenberg’s second Beare Award. He won in 2015 for his book Rethinking Paul’s Rhetorical Education: Comparative Rhetoric and 2 Corinthians 10-13.

“When I read Philippians, I try to remember that this was a letter from an imprisoned migrant laborer, a representative of an ethnic minority – the sort of person it was easy for the authorities to lock up and forget about,” Schellenberg said of his work on Abject Joy.

In her review of Abject Joy for Christian Century, Sarah Jobe wrote, “If Paul was actually quite similar to the people currently held in America's prisons, perhaps America's churches should be treating incarcerated people the way that the church at Philippi treated Paul.”

Read more.

A two-year process begins

Native prairie returns to campus land

The MTSO campus has evolved in noticeable ways over the past decade, with 10 acres of fields devoted to Seminary Hill Farm and a solar array providing clean power to academic facilities.

The latest metamorphosis involves lawn mowing – or the judicious lack thereof. Under the guidance of MTSO Land Steward Tim Bachelor, selected campus lawns are being converted to ecologically rich prairie. The project covers a total of 3 acres on the hillside in front of Dunn Dining Hall and a plot near the back entrance to campus.

Bachelor holds a Master of Environmental and Natural Resources degree from Ohio State University. His graduate studies spanned natural resource management, sustainability, resilience, biodiversity, stream and forest ecology, soil science, and common native and invasive flora and fauna. He began his work at MTSO in February.

Bachelor said the transformation from turf to prairie will reduce the need for maintenance and harmful emissions from lawn-care equipment, and it will promote the welfare of native flora, fauna and pollinator species. This spring, he began the first step of the project, leaving the designated areas unmown to “see what we end up with – and we’ve ended up with all kinds of really beneficial species.”

On the hillside, he’s happy to see yarrow, meadow sedge grasses, plantain grass and sorrel – and virtually none of “the nasty, spiny stuff you don’t want to deal with.” Next spring, a native seed mix will be introduced, followed by ongoing maintenance to help native flora displace unwanted plants.

“It’s a lot of maintenance for the first two years,” Bachelor said. “It’s a process.”


MTSO hosts screening and discussion of ‘Finding Fellowship’

Methodist Theological School in Ohio will host a screening of the film Finding Fellowship and a discussion with the director at 4 p.m. Sunday, June 26. The free event, sponsored by the Theological Commons at MTSO, will be held in the Alford Centrum on the MTSO campus, 3081 Columbus Pike, Delaware, Ohio 43015.

Finding Fellowship aired on PBS in November 2021. It follows three racially segregated churches – one Black, two white – in Quince Orchard, Maryland, that had each fallen on hard financial times. In 1968, as members of the three churches debated the consequences of merging, it was announced that Martin Luther King Jr. had just been murdered. Despite King's assassination, the three churches voted to merge their congregations into one.

Following the screening, Finding Fellowship director Jason Green will discuss the film with MTSO Assistant Professor of History, Ethics, and Black Church and African Diaspora Studies Tejai Beulah Howard.

Green is the co-founder, senior vice president and general counsel of SkillSmart, a construction compliance, reporting and tracking technology company. Before founding SkillSmart, he served as associate counsel to President Barack Obama. He is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and earned a law degree from Yale Law School.

Joe Scarborough interviewed Green about Finding Fellowship on MSNBC’s Morning Joe in February. The interview is available here.

Community supported agriculture

Seminary Hill Farm’s CSA shares available for a reduced price

MTSO’s Seminary Hill Farm has launched its ninth year providing sustainably grown seasonal produce through the community supported agriculture program.

The CSA program gives shareholders the opportunity to pick up recently harvested vegetables each week while supporting the farm’s mission: Seminary Hill Farm teaches small-scale farming and produces good food for all in pursuit of a just, sustainable and generative world.

Each share includes up to 12 varieties of produce reflecting what has been recently harvested. Shareholders are emailed a “fresh sheet” prior to pickup each week, letting them know what vegetables to expect.

The 2022 CSA season runs through Oct. 27 at two distribution sites: Tuesdays on the MTSO campus and Thursdays at the German Village Society Meeting Haus. Pickup times are 4:30-6 p.m. at both locations.

Monthly shares are priced at $140 for four weeks ($35 a week). Through July 1, Seminary Hill Farm is offering a full-season share for $30 a week.

The farm’s newly redesigned website,, has complete CSA details.


Commencement was the start of a busy month

MTSO held its 60th commencement – the first live, on-campus commencement in three years – on May 21, awarding degrees across five graduate programs.

Grace Imathiu, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Evanston, Illinois, and a 1987 MTSO graduate, spoke to the class of 2022. She titled her address “God with Us” in a nod to the book of the same name by MTSO’s founding dean, Van Bogard Dunn. View video of commencement and the baccalaureate sermon by graduating senior Kati Glover here.

While commencement marked the end of the academic year, it began several busy weeks as MTSO hosted two significant June events.

The international Institute on Theology and Disability convened June 6-9, with participants gathering both virtually and in person at MTSO. Founded in 2010, the institute celebrates, explores and investigates the ways that:

  • Disability impacts all major theological disciplines as well as the many dimensions of religious life and faith community practices.
  • Theology and practice mutually inform and support one another.
  • Diverse perspectives enrich and inform theological formation and religious practice.

The Jarena Lee Preaching Academy, presented by WomanPreach! Inc., is meeting at MTSO June 12 through 18. Named for the first woman preacher in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the week-long intensive academy empowers and equips women of the African Diaspora to speak in their own prophetic voice whether from the pulpit or other public arenas.

MTSO Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs Valerie Bridgeman is the founder and CEO of WomanPreach! Inc.