Campus View
News for friends of MTSO
March 2016


MTSO launches Community Food and Wellness Initiative


Thanks to a generous grant from the Harry C. Moores Foundation, MTSO has developed the Community Food and Wellness Initiative, an educational program that engages Central Ohio churches and community groups on the topics of food and wellness.

The project offers unique educational experiences at Seminary Hill Farm that celebrate the land, sustainable agriculture, food and community. It also provides various community-based services to support the development of community gardens, urban farms, and other projects that increase food access and environmental resiliency, promote nutrition and active living, and create fair employment.

MTSO alum Patrick Kaufman (MTS ’15), is the project coordinator. A community organizer who lives and works in Franklinton, a historic urban neighborhood on the west side of Columbus, Kaufman has served as director of Franklinton Gardens, project manager of Fresh Foods Here, and coordinator of the Dakota Garden and Gathering Space.

Through the Community Food and Wellness Initiative, MTSO will host Farm Field Days and Community Garden Training Sessions, offering experiences such as hands-on gardening instruction, faculty lectures, cooking demonstrations, farm-to-table meals and kids’ activities.

Visit the initiative’s web page to learn more about its offerings and objectives.


Event focuses on organizing and preaching for justice

MTSO will host a day devoted to equipping and inspiring faith and nonprofit leaders, community organizers, and activists for prophetic ministry Monday, April 4: Prophetic Ministry – Institute on Organizing and Preaching for Social Justice. A $50 registration fee covers all sessions, including lunch and dinner, and provides one continuing education unit. Advance registration is required and available at

Presented by the Theological Commons at MTSO, the institute will feature workshops with five activist scholars: Valerie Bridgeman, MTSO faculty member and founding president of WomanPreach!; Angela Cowswer, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary faculty member and director of the Center for the Church and the Black Experience; Ray Pickett, faculty member at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago; Gerald Taylor, who served as national senior organizer for the Industrial Areas Foundation; and Yvonne Zimmerman, MTSO faculty member and author of Other Dreams of Freedom: Religion, Sex and Human Trafficking.

This event is made possible by the generosity of Ray and Phyllis Sells. Ray, a community organizer and social justice activist, graduated from MTSO in 1963.

The day begins with registration and refreshments at 8 a.m., and it will conclude with a 6:30 p.m. coffee shop program, “The 1960s Anti-War and Civil Rights Movements: Songs that Moved a Nation,” by folk singer Bill Cohen. More information about the schedule and presenters is here.


UCC Learning Network serves students, clergy and laity

MTSO has formed the UCC Learning Network at MTSO, a house of studies serving students, clergy and lay leaders who are members of the United Church of Christ.

The UCC Learning Network will support MTSO’s UCC students throughout their theological education and help them become familiar with the denomination’s ordination processes. It also will serve UCC clergy and lay leaders with opportunities for lifelong education through MTSO’s Theological Commons.

As part of the UCC Learning Network, MTSO is augmenting its academic offerings in UCC history and polity by creating affinity groups of UCC students. They will meet together under the guidance of UCC Central Southeast Ohio Association Minister Janine Wilson and MTSO Professor of Worship and Music Robin Knowles Wallace, a UCC authorized minister. Affinity groups will have additional opportunities to meet with UCC clergy and denominational leaders.

“We’ve had a long affiliation with the UCC on our board of trustees, in our teaching and in our student body, and we welcome this intentional partnership for the education and formation of UCC ministers,” said MTSO Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs Lisa Withrow. “Our history and polity courses will be enhanced through affinity groups with UCC students so that they begin to live and breathe their denominational ethos.”

Learn more about the UCC Learning Network at


Earth Day observance includes faculty lecture and tree planting

Van Meter

MTSO will observe Earth Day two days early with a faculty lecture by Timothy Van Meter, associate professor of Christian education and youth ministry. The lecture, “Millennial Dreaming: Cultivating Hope and Ecological Vision,” begins at 1 p.m. April 20 in the Alford Centrum on the MTSO campus, 3081 Columbus Pike in Delaware. Presented by the Theological Commons at MTSO, it is free and open to the public.

Immediately following the lecture, all those in attendance are invited to gather for the ceremonial planting of fruit trees at Seminary Hill Farm. Those who wish are welcome to help in the planting. The fruit trees are a gift of the graduating class of 2015.

The lecture will be preceded by a noon lunch in Dunn Dining Hall, featuring produce from Seminary Hill Farm. The price of the lunch is $5.

Van Meter is the author of the 2012 book Created in Delight: Youth, Church, and the Mending of the World, which outlines an approach to youth ministry that puts humans’ relationship with all of creation front and center. His April 20 lecture is inspired by scientists’ call for faith communities to join them in the work of building communal responses to climate change and other ecological challenges. He will explore how theological education and faith communities might respond to this invitation by recreating our common life in the midst of ecological disruptions.

April 20

Admissions open house includes Earth Day events

MTSO’s Spring Open House for prospective students will feature opportunities to participate in Earth Day events on campus. The open house will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 20. 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 enjoy a delicious lunch featuring produce from MTSO’s Seminary Hill Farm.

Open house visitors also will have the chance to participate in campus events commemorating Earth Day. (See story above.)

Open House is free to anyone considering graduate-level theological education. Lunch is provided, and overnight housing may be available. To reserve a spot or just learn more, please email


Counseling symposium capped MACM 30-year celebration

MTSO marked three decades of counseling ministries education March 16 with a day-long symposium: “Integrating Clinical Wisdom and Spirituality in the Teaching and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy in a Diverse World.”

Keynote speakers were Professor Emeritus Vergel Lattimore, former director of the MACM program, and Jill Snodgrass, assistant professor of pastoral counseling at Loyola University Maryland. Members of the current Master of Arts in Counseling Ministries faculty led workshops as well.

A photo gallery from the day is on MTSO’s Facebook page. (You don’t need to be a Facebook member to view the gallery.) As part of their registration for the day, some MACM students and alumni shared reflections. A few of note:

“I am very proud to be a graduate of MTSO. I was already a professional social worker in the field when I was called to come to seminary. The professors reshaped my thinking about helping others and also gave me a clear understanding of who God is in my life.”
-Ben McDay

“I see my work as a mission and ministry. My time at MTSO was a very important part of my spiritual journey.”
-Jean Hoitsma

“I am currently attending MTSO in the MACM program. The decision to come and be a part of this community is one of the very best I have ever made. The intersections between spirituality, psychology, social justice and personal growth in this program feed my soul and meet my need for knowledge.”
-Brandi Lust

Printed materials from the day, including a history of the program by Dr. Lattimore and MACM Director Fulgence Nyengele, are included in MTSO’s event archives.


A perspective from Pakistan on Christian-Muslim relations


The Rev. Canon Dr. Titus Presler will give the 12th Annual Lecture on World Religions and Interreligious Dialogue, sponsored by the Theological Consortium of Greater Columbus. The topic is “Challenges and Opportunities in Christian-Muslim Relations: A Perspective from Pakistan.” The lecture begins at 7 p.m. April 13 at All Saints Episcopal Church, 5101 Johnstown Road in New Albany. It is free and open to the public. No registration is required.

Presler has wide experience in theological education and cross-cultural mission in the Episcopal Church and the global Anglican Communion. He has served as president of the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas; academic dean of General Theological Seminary in New York City; and principal (president) of Edwardes College in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Presler is the author of “Going Global with God: Reconciling Mission in a World of Difference” and “Transfigured Night: Mission and Culture in Zimbabwe’s Vigil Movement.” Among his recent articles is “Why Has Pakistan Become So Intolerant?” in The Daily Beast. He blogs at

The Theological Consortium of Greater Columbus is a collaborative effort of Methodist Theological School in Ohio, Bexley Hall Seabury Western Theological Seminary Federation, Pontifical College Josephinum and Trinity Lutheran Seminary.


Thrive conference offers help reaching millennials

MTSO and the Western Pennsylvania Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry are primary sponsors of Thrive: Ministry in the New Millennium, offering pastors and church leaders new perspectives and tangible ways to enhance 21st century ministry. The conference will be held April 10 and 11 at the Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh/Southpointe in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.

One continuing education unit is available to each participant. Online registration and conference details are at

Running from Sunday evening through Monday evening, Thrive features keynote speaker Joel Comiskey, an internationally recognized cell church coach and consultant, and worship leader Joshua Price, who leads worship at the Woodlands United Methodist Church in Texas. Breakout sessions will offer leading-edge approaches to reaching the next generation, covering topics including children’s ministry, college ministry, technology and worship service design.

“Our school is excited to support Thrive’s goal of helping participants better intersect with young adults,” said April Casperson, MTSO vice president of institutional advancement. “People under 30 expect ministry rooted in social justice and world transformation. They are drawn to communities rooted in authenticity, well-designed worship and asking the hard questions. Helping those who long to reach the church’s next generation is a natural extension of the work we do on the MTSO campus every day.”


Seminary Hill Farm CSA spring term begins May 10

Seminary Hill Farm has announced the 2016 schedule and membership options for its community-supported agriculture program. CSA members take home a generous supply of organic produce each week during spring, summer and fall terms.

The new year brings a number of updates to the CSA program:

  • Tuesday is the new pick-up day.
  • New, expanded pick-up hours are 2-6 p.m.
  • The new pickup location is the MTSO Coffee Shop porch, near the campus’s Route 23 entrance.
  • Half shares will be available for the first time. Half shares include 6-8 items per week; full shares are 10-12 items.

This year’s spring term begins May 10, with registration open through April 26. Pricing details and online membership registration are available at