Campus View
News for friends of MTSO
March 2015

From The President

We welcome a new assistant professor of New Testament

Greetings from a campus where students are anticipating the start of their mid-term recess and Holy Week break. Of course, as our alumni will recall, “break” is most likely a misnomer in this context. Along with the reading and writing assignments that they’ll carry through this time away, a good number of our students will be very busy in various leadership and service roles leading up to Good Friday and Easter.

As we enter a growing season, I’m pleased to announce our faculty will soon expand by one member. At its Feb. 27 meeting, the MTSO Board of Trustees voted unanimously to appoint Ryan Schellenberg assistant professor of New Testament, effective July 1.

Dr. Schellenberg comes to us from Fresno Pacific University, where he has served as an assistant professor and program director of Biblical and Religious Studies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto, his Master of Arts in New Testament at Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary and his BA at Canadian Mennonite University. One example of his work is teaching Paul’s prison letters with an eye toward the role of incarceration in the U.S. criminal justice system.

Dean Lisa Withrow, who nominated him for this appointment, said, “Dr. Schellenberg brings a wealth of academic research and teaching expertise to our faculty. He is passionate about cultivating a theological imagination through critical study of the Bible as a catalyst for transformative engagement with the church and the world.”

As you read this issue of Campus View, you’ll see that we have a busy spring planned. I hope you’ll take advantage of opportunities to visit campus for one or more of our special events and engage with your seminary. In the meantime, I welcome your calls and correspondence.

Jay Rundell

53rd Commencement

Bishop Gregory Palmer will address the class of 2015

Bishop Gregory V. Palmer of the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church will deliver the 2015 commencement address at MTSO. The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. May 23 in Dickinson Courtyard. Guests are welcome, and tickets are not required.

Before his assignment to West Ohio in September 2012, Palmer served as bishop in Iowa and Illinois. He was president of the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministry from 2004 to 2008 and president of the Council of Bishops from April 2008 to May 2010. Since 2012, he has served as a trustee of MTSO.

Palmer received his Master of Divinity degree from Duke University Divinity School and his undergraduate degree from George Washington University.

“For those entering ministry, Bishop Palmer models the depth, passion and joy of faithful Christian leadership,” said President Jay Rundell. “I look forward to the wisdom and inspiration he’ll provide when he addresses our graduates and guests.”

Continuing a recent tradition, members of the class of 1965 have been invited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their graduation by attending commencement and marching with the class of 2015.

World Religions Lecture

Vasudha Narayanan speaks on religions of India in America

Dr. Vasudha Narayanan, a past president of the American Academy of Religion, will present a lecture titled “Religions of India in America” at 7 p.m. April 15 in the Alford Centrum. Her presentation is the 11th annual Lecture on World Religions and Interreligious Dialogue, sponsored by MTSO and three other seminaries that form the Theological Consortium of Greater Columbus. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Narayanan is a distinguished professor in the Department of Religion at the University of Florida. She has authored or edited numerous scholarly books and articles, including Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, “Re-imagining South Asian Religions” and “The Cambridge History of Religion in America.”

She was president of the American Academy of Religion in 2001-02 and president of the Society for Hindu-Christian Studies from 1996 to 1998. The University of Florida named Narayanan its Teacher Scholar of the Year in 2010.

Prior to the lecture, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., the MTSO Coffee Shop will be the the site of an open house featuring displays by MTSO students who participated in January's cross-cultural immersion trip to India.

The Theological Consortium of Greater Columbus includes MTSO, Trinity Lutheran Seminary, the Pontifical College Josephinum and Bexley Hall Seabury Western Theological Seminary Federation.

Saturday Workshop

Traci West leads 'Ending Violence Against Women and Children'

Drew University Theological School professor Traci C. West will lead a one-day workshop, “Ending Violence Against Women and Children,” at MTSO April 18. The workshop is presented by the East Ohio Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA), in partnership with the West Ohio MFSA and MTSO. The workshop runs 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. in the Alford Centrum.

A registration fee of $10 includes lunch. Seminary and campus ministry students may register at no cost.

A printable info and registration document is available here. The registration deadline is April 10.

West, professor of ethics and African American studies at Drew, is author of “Disruptive Christian Ethics: When Racism and Women’s Lives Matter.” She is an ordained elder in the New York Conference of the United Methodist Church.

The workshop she leads will focus on how Christian beliefs and social attitudes can both support and help end violence against women and children.

April 18 Event

Open House welcomes all who are considering theological education

MTSO hosts its Spring Open House 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 18. Highlights includes 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.

Open House is free to anyone considering graduate-level theological education. Lunch is provided, and overnight housing may be available.

If you or anyone you know might have an interest in this opportunity to explore MTSO, please email

Voices Lost and Found

Conference at MTSO celebrates the history of UM Women

In preparation for the 150th anniversary of the United Methodist Women in 2019, Methodist Theological School in Ohio will host a conference May 28-30 with the theme “United Methodist Women’s History: Voices Lost & Found.”

The conference will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday and conclude at noon Saturday. Events will be held on the MTSO campus. A registration fee of $90 covers all conference activities, meals Friday and breakfast Saturday. One continuing education unit is available for an additional fee of $25.

Register here.

Dana Robert will be the opening speaker. In addition, papers will be presented covering home and foreign mission, the effect of the work on women and communities, significant figures in the history of United Methodist Women, and deaconess history.

This conference will be an opportunity for considering the current state of historical research on United Methodist Women and for identifying areas in need of further research.

April 22 and 23

TCU's Melanie Harris will deliver 2015 Williams Institute lectures

The Williams Institute at MTSO welcomes Texas Christian University faculty member Melanie Harris for two lectures April 22 and 23. She will speak at 7 p.m. April 22 and 1 p.m. April 23. Her theme is "An Ecowomanist Vision: Planetary Health and Self Care."

The lectures are free and open to the public. No registration is required.

Harris is associate professor of religion and ethics at TCU, where she teaches in the areas of Christian social ethics, womanist religious thought, African-American literature and religion, and media and religion. She is the author of the book Gifts of Virtue: Alice Walker and Womanist Ethics.

An ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Harris received doctorate and Master of Philosophy degrees from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. She also holds a Master of Divinity degree from Iliff School of Theology and a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College.

A former broadcast journalist, Harris combines her experience in communications to lead workshops on church leadership and spiritual direction, and she facilitates consultations engaging race, religion and pedagogy.

MTSO’s Williams Institute was begun in 1981 to honor the late Dr. Ronald L. Williams, professor of theology from 1971 until his death in 1981. The institute has featured speakers from many backgrounds, including theologians, ethicists, poets, biblical scholars, historians, pastoral psychologists and Christian educators.

Theological Commons

Schooler Institute is the latest addition to our online archive

The 2015 Schooler Institute on Preaching, held Feb. 23 and 24, was a very hand-on affair. Led by Valerie Bridgeman, MTSO associate professor of homiletics and Hebrew Bible, and Jorge Lockward, director of global praise for the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church, the two-day event addressed the theme "Beyond Band-Aids: Building the Beloved Community in the Age of Ferguson."

Video of Schooler lectures and chapel services is among the many resources archived online by the Theological Commons at MTSO. You'll find multimedia and participant packets from events dating back to 2012.

For photos from Schooler, check out the album on MTSO's Facebook page.