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March 2017

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Last chance to register for Schooler Institute on Preaching


Late registrations for MTSO's Schooler Institute on Preaching will be accepted through Thursday of this week. Information and an online registration form are available here

Anna Carter Florence, the Peter Marshall Professor of Preaching at Columbia Theological Seminary, will lead the Schooler Institute Tuesday, March 14, and Wednesday, March 15. The theme is “Come Back When You’ve Found Something True: New Ways to Encounter Scripture.” Sessions run from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday. A complimentary lunch will be served both days.

Thanks to the generosity of the Schooler Family Foundation, the event is offered to the public without cost. MTSO is offering one CEU credit for a $25 administrative processing fee, available on the registration page.

Florence will invite Schooler Institute participants to consider the world of theater as a model for how we read scripture together. In addition to delivering three lectures and leading workshops, she will preach at chapel both days.

A sought-after preacher, teacher and lecturer in this country and abroad, Florence is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She holds a Master of Divinity degree from Yale College and a Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary. 

Before joining the Columbia faculty in 1998, Florence served as associate pastor for youth and young adults at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis. Her books include Preaching as Testimony and Inscribing the Word. Her current project is “A” is for Alabaster: A Preacher’s Alphabet.

Project studies space sharing

Louisville Institute awards research grant to Numrich


MTSO Professor Paul Numrich has been awarded a research grant by the Louisville Institute to develop space-sharing principles for religious organizations and groups.

The Louisville Institute is a Lilly Endowment-funded program based at Louisville Seminary supporting those who lead and study North American religious institutions. It has awarded $17,635 to Numrich, who holds the Snowden Chair for the Study of Religion and Interreligious Relations at MTSO and also serves as professor of world religions and interreligious relations at Trinity Lutheran Seminary.

Numrich is studying space-sharing arrangements by religious organizations and groups of many kinds, including multicultural temples, mosques and dual Ashkenazi-Sephardic synagogues. The specific project funded by the Louisville Institute will focus on space-sharing between Christian churches and groups.

In the video below, Numrich discusses his research.

“Space-sharing arrangements – including host/guest agreements, co-proprietorship of a facility, negotiating space usage for congregational subgroups, and sharing a third-party venue – have become common in the U.S. in recent decades, though they have met with mixed success,” Numrich said.

Numrich will work to establish a set of principles conducive to relatively conflict-free space-sharing arrangements. He plans to publish at least one summary of his findings and share them with students and faculty colleagues at MTSO and Trinity.

John Kampen faculty lecture

Matthew and the Pharisees: History or Fake News?


John Kampen will present a faculty lecture, “Matthew and the Pharisees: History or Fake News?” at 7 p.m. March 29 in the Alford Centrum.

Kampen, professor in MTSO’s Dunn Chair in Biblical Interpretation, will apply a sectarian analysis to portions of Matthew Chapter 5, which chronicles the Sermon on the Mount. He will show that common perceptions of Pharisees, rabbis and synagogues in first century Judaism are inaccurate.

An eminent scholar of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the New Testament and Jewish history, Kampen is published widely on subjects as diverse as the Gospel of Matthew, anti-Semitism and African-American use of the Bible.

Live video of this lecture will be offered on MTSO's Livestream page. 

This lecture is presented by the Theological Commons at MTSO.

A second pickup location and more

Seminary Hill Farm offers new CSA options

Central Ohio fresh-food lovers will enjoy new food and location options for participation in community-supported agriculture through Methodist Theological School in Ohio’s Seminary Hill Farm. Registration is now open for 2017 CSA shares, available weekly in three sessions spanning the months of May through October. Information and online registration are available at

This year, CSA members may choose where and when to pick up their weekly shares: Tuesdays from 2 to 6 p.m. on the MTSO campus or Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Mirada apartment community, 1 Mirada Drive N., in Lewis Center, 2 miles north of I-270 on U.S. Route 23.

CSA members will have new flexibility in assembling their weekly shares in 2017. Each week, an average of 12 seasonal varieties of fresh, hyper-local ingredients from the farm will be offered, with portions of each ingredient assigned values ranging from three to six credits. A member is free to choose more of one item and less of another. A CSA Full Share provides a member with 40 credits per week to spend; a Half Share provides 25 credits.

Each of the three 2017 CSA sessions is eight weeks long. Summer Session 1 runs May 4-June 27, with ingredients including carrots, lettuce mix, turnips, radishes, spinach, new potatoes, scallions, garlic, asparagus, onions and fresh herbs.

Summer Session 2, July 6-Aug. 29, will feature tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, tomatillos, eggplant, cucumbers, summer squash, watermelon, onions, salad mix, sweet corn, and fresh herbs such as basil, cilantro and dill. The Fall Session, Sept. 7-Oct. 31, will include turnips, kale, Swiss chard, pumpkins, winter squash, kohlrabi, cabbage, carrots, beets, spinach, radishes, parsnips, parsley, thyme and sage.

Full Shares for each session are $320, payable online at Half Shares are $200.

March 30 seminar, online and in person

Mindful Social Media for Ministry and Nonprofits


MTSO Educational Technology Coordinator Shannon Harper will lead a seminar, "Mindful Social Media for Ministry and Nonprofits, Part 1,” at 1 p.m. March 30 in Gault Hall Room 145.

The one-hour seminar will include both live and Internet-based options for participation. It is free and open to the public. To participate online, visit MTSO's Livestream page. Those who have joined Livestream and logged in will have an opportunity to contribute questions in real time via Livestream's chat function.

Social media has been a catalyst for social change for over a decade and has become an everyday tool for many people in ministry and nonprofit agencies. While the basics of social media usage can be found easily on a variety of online platforms, its responsible use is not discussed as widely. Harper’s seminar will help ministerial and nonprofit leaders to reach people where they gather in an effective and healthy way.

Harper holds a bachelor's degree from DeVry University and a Master of Arts in Practical Theology degree from MTSO.

The second of two parts of the seminar will be offered at 1 p.m. April 27. This seminar is offered by the Theological Commons at MTSO.

Conference sponsored by MTSO

Thrive registration open through April 10

The conference Thrive: Ministry on the Edge will offer pastors and church leaders new ideas and tools for ministry. Thrive will be held April 30-May 2 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Pittsburgh-Green Tree. MTSO and the Western Pennsylvania Conference Committee on Higher Education and Campus Ministry are primary sponsors.

Registration is open for the conference, with a price of $400 through April 10. Groups of four or more may register for $375 each. Two continuing education units are available to each participant. Online registration and conference details are at

Christianity grew up on the edge of society, and ministry was shaped in dangerous places. Thrive offers inspiration and practical help for those who continue to minister to those on the edge.

Running from Sunday evening through Tuesday afternoon, Thrive features keynote speaker Sara Miles, director of Ministry at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco and author of Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion. Other speakers include MTSO Associate Professor of Christian Education and Youth Ministry Timothy Van Meter.

March 30 event

Deffenbaugh delivers world religions lecture


Ralston Deffenbaugh, a human rights lawyer working for the Lutheran World Federation, will speak on what it means to be Lutheran in today’s multi-religious world during the 13th Annual Lecture on World Religions and Interreligious Relations, sponsored by the Theological Consortium of Greater Columbus. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. March 30 at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, 2199 E. Main St. in Bexley.

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

Deffenbaugh’s presentation, “Liberated by God’s Grace: What It Means to Be Lutheran in Today’s Multi-religious World,” comes as the church in 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Deffenbaugh is assistant general secretary for international affairs and human rights at the Lutheran World Federation, where he coordinates the LWF’s international affairs and human rights advocacy and policy development, advises the general secretary, and serves as the LWF’s main representative to the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland.

For 18 years, Deffenbaugh oversaw the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, the U.S. Lutheran churches’ agency for resettling refugees and working with asylum seekers, unaccompanied refugee children and persons in immigration detention. He received Trinity’s Sylvester C. Michelfelder Award for Christian Service in 1995.

Event includes public panel discussion

MTSO hosts international conference


MTSO will host the 2017 Annual Conference of the Pacific, Asian and North American Asian Women in Theology and Ministry March 23-25. The public is invited to a free panel discussion on the conference theme “When Women Lead,” at 7 p.m. March 23 in the Alford Centrum. No advance registration is required for the public panel discussion.

The discussion will be moderated by Grace Y. Kao of the Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, California. Panelists are Kwok Pui-Lan of Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Seung Ai Yang of Chicago Theological Seminary; and Mai-Anh Le Tran of Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis.

Those attending the panel discussion are invited to a dessert reception immediately following the event.