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News for friends of MTSO
March 2018

Continuing education

Week-long summer courses explore ecology, race and ethics

MTSO will offer two intensive week-long courses exploring theology, ecology, race and ethics. “A Deeper Shade of Green: Black Ecotheology and Ethics” will be taught July 23-27 by Christopher Carter, assistant professor of theology and religious studies at the University of San Diego. “Field Theology: Water and Watersheds” will be taught July 30-Aug. 3 by Timothy Van Meter, associate professor in the Alford Chair of Christian Education and Youth Ministry and coordinator of ecological initiatives at MTSO.

Each class is worth three graduate credit hours and will meet 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday on the MTSO campus. Those who are pursuing graduate degrees at other seminaries or divinity schools are welcome to register for one or both courses as visiting students. Students are advised to confer with their home institutions to verify that the credits can be transferred.

Tuition is $2,145 per course. A single $115 technology fee covers all Summer Term courses. On-campus housing is available for $28 per night. Each course may be audited for no credit for a $200 fee, space permitting.

To learn more or register for either or both of these courses, contact the Admissions Department at or 800-333-6876.

In “A Deeper Shade of Green,” students will explore the intersection between black and womanist theological and ethical discourses and environmental justice literature. The course will begin with an exploration of environmental justice, paying particular attention to environmental injustice on black and brown bodies. It then moves to interpret black and womanist theologies and ethical discourse in light of eco-injustice, and ends with collective discernment on how people of faith might address these global issues.

“Field Theology: Water and Watersheds” will explore place, space, boundaries and possibilities through the reality and metaphors of water. The course will explore two primary watersheds of Ohio – Lake Erie and the Ohio River – as sources for life, commerce, political action, environmental degradation and communal renewal. It will offer both classroom engagement and field work. Students will need to be willing to get wet and muddy.

“We’re excited to offer these two courses at a place with a unique commitment to the issues they address,” said MTSO President Jay Rundell. “Students will be inspired by the passion and insight of Dr. Carter and Dr. Van Meter, not to mention our campus. They’ll meet in classrooms powered by solar energy and cooled by geothermal wells. And outside, they’ll find our 10-acre, certified organic Seminary Hill Farm in peak growing season. These will be two special weeks.”

Workshop April 11 and 12

Building Community Bridges: Conversations on Disability

Even among faith communities committed to social justice, issues around disability can be overlooked. MTSO is offering a workshop to help those communities assess their approaches to welcoming persons with disabilities. “Building Community Bridges: Conversations on Disability” will be held April 11 and 12 on the MTSO campus.

The event opens at 7 p.m. April 11 with a free public lecture, “Practicing What We Preach as Faith Communities: Inclusive Ministries as Expressions of Our Core Vision and Mission,” by William Gaventa, chair of the National Collaborative on Faith and Disability, and director of the Summer Institute on Theology and Disability. Gaventa's recently published book, Disability and Spirituality: Recovering Wholeness, will be available for purchase at the workshop. 

A full-day workshop for registered participants begins the morning of April 12. Tuition is $25 per person. Current MTSO, students, faculty and staff are free. One CEU is offered for a $25 fee. Registration is required. Complete information and registration are available here

The morning will feature talks by Gaventa and John L. Martin, director of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, as well as a panel in which self-advocates and family members will speak on their experiences with faith communities. Afternoon breakout session topics include “Best Practices for an Inclusive Worshiping Community” and “Four Problematic Texts: Scripture and Disability.”

“Building Community Bridges” is presented by the Theological Commons at MTSO.

April 17 event offers CEU credit

Faith, Food and Flourishing: How churches can make a difference


The Theological Commons at MTSO will present Faith, Food and Flourishing, a day of focus and collaboration on food security, April 17. The day will include preaching, networking, and an interactive workshop led by Rev. Dr. Heber Brown III.


Brown will share his insights on creating church-based food networks that lead to long-term health sustainability. He has found that many churches already possess the tools and resources to build a flourishing community that addresses nutritional food security in urbanized neighborhoods. 

Individuals and churches are invited to join in this day of learning and inspiration. Participants will leave this experience with a theological basis for food security, a strategic plan of engagement and a toolkit for leading their community to embrace personal healthcare.

Tuition of $25 per person includes an afternoon workshop and dinner. One-half CEU is offered for an additional $15. An opening chapel service, farm tour and evening lecture by Brown are offered at no cost. Registration is required for the workshop. Learn more and register here.

Rev. Dr. Heber M. Brown III is a community organizer, beginner farmer, social entrepreneur and pastor of Baltimore's Pleasant Hope Baptist Church. For nearly two decades, he has demonstrated a deep commitment to and advocacy on a myriad of social justice concerns. 

In 2015, Brown launched the Black Church Food Security Network, which combats food apartheid by providing seed funding and support to help congregations begin growing food on church-owned land.

Fifty-sixth commencement

Bishop Tracy S. Malone will address graduates


Bishop Tracy S. Malone of the East Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church will deliver MTSO's 2018 commencement address. The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. May 26 in Dickinson Courtyard. Guests are welcome, and tickets are not required.

Malone, who was assigned to the East Ohio Conference in 2016, is president of the denomination’s General Commission on the Status and Role of Women and a member of the board of directors of the Connectional Table. MTSO is one of a number of United Methodist-affiliated colleges and seminaries she serves as a trustee.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from North Central College, a Master of Divinity degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary.

Garrett presented her with its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2016. She also has received North Central’s Outstanding Alumni Award and the Chicago Black Methodists for Church Renewal Distinguished Leadership Award.

“Bishop Malone is a courageous and faithful leader and a compelling preacher,” said President Jay Rundell. “I know her commencement address will inspire and challenge us all.”

MTSO will award Master of Divinity, Master of Theological Studies, MA in Counseling Ministries, MA in Practical Theology and Doctor of Ministry degrees at commencement.

Spring admissions open house

Four hours that could launch a vocation

Are you considering a graduate theological degree? Is someone you know? A half-day at MTSO will offer a real sense of what prospective students can expect, from academics to generous scholarships.

MTSO will host its Spring Admissions Open House April 17 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.

The Open House is free. Lunch is provided, and overnight housing may be available.

Learn more and register here.

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