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News for friends of MTSO
March 2022

Four virtual sessions

Schooler offers conversations on preaching in a unique time

The first session features Nathan Adams and Colleen Ogle

MTSO’s Schooler Institute on Preaching will feature four virtual conversations with MTSO alumni serving in a variety of church contexts. The theme is “Conversations on Preaching in a Unique Time.”
Gathering online from 3 to 4:15 p.m. Eastern over four Wednesdays – March 16, 23 and 30, and April 6 – Schooler Institute participants will hear MTSO President Jay Rundell and two-person panels discuss how the events of the past two years have shaped their sermons, their worship services and the congregations they lead. They will discuss what was lost, what was gained and what will never be the same, along with theological insights and changes to their sense of vocation.

Thanks to the generosity of the Schooler Family Foundation, the Schooler Institute is offered to the public without cost. Advance Zoom registration is required for each of the four sessions.

Registration links and additional information are available here.

The schedule is as follows.

March 16: Nathan Adams (M.Div. ’09), lead pastor of Park Hill United Methodist Church in Denver, and Colleen Ogle (MTS ’85, M.Div. ’87), senior pastor of Bexley United Methodist Church.

March 23: Chris George (D.Min. ’15), pastor of Smoke Rise Baptist Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and Grace Imathiu (M.Div. ’87), senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Evanston, Illinois.

March 30: Andy Call (M.Div. ’13), lead pastor of Church of the Saviour United Methodist Church in Cleveland, and TaNikka Sheppard (M.Div. ’10), executive pastor of the Fountain Church in Miami Gardens, Florida.

April 6: Emanuel Cleaver III (M.Div. ’99), senior pastor of St. James United Methodist Church in Kansas City, and Kathy Dwyer (M.Div. ’98), senior pastor of Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ in Arlington, Virginia.

The Schooler Institute offers 0.5 continuing education units for a $25 processing fee. To qualify for CEU credit, participants must attend all four sessions in their entirety. CEU certificates will be sent following the April 6 session.

Register now.


Student groups present ‘A Space-Making Gospel,’ led by Olu Brown

MTSO welcomes Rev. Olu Brown, author of Normalizing Next: A Post COVID-19 Resource for Church Leaders and former pastor of Impact Church in Atlanta, for a virtual event, “A Space-Making Gospel,” at 7 p.m. Eastern March 31. Brown’s appearance is presented by two MTSO student groups, the Black Seminarians’ Network and Love Is for Everyone (LIFE).

The event is free and open to the public. Advance Zoom registration is required and available here.

Olu Brown is a graduate of Gammon Theological Seminary. During his time at Impact Church, it became one of the fastest-growing United Methodist churches in the country.

In an interview for an October 2021 article in Atlanta publication The Reckoning, Brown spoke about his belief in a social-justice framework that includes support of the LGBTQ+ community: “If you're going to fight for Black Lives Matter and say that you got to get your foot off my neck, and then in the next breath you tell your own brother and sister that they can't get married because they're in a same-sex relationship—that's an injustice. If you're going to fight for justice for one, you've got to fight for justice for all.”

Those who plan to participate in “A Space-Making Gospel” are encouraged to read the full Reckoning interview here.

Eight weeks on campus

MTSO co-sponsors AmeriCorps team

MTSO has been chosen to sponsor an eight-member team of the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps in partnership with Stratford Ecological Center this spring. The group, known as Oak 1, arrives March 4 and will live on campus through April 28.

AmeriCorps NCCC is a full-time service program that covers lodging and travel expenses, allowing young adults to serve on a team and make an impact in communities across the country while gaining leadership skills. Oak 1 team members range in age from 19 to 25 and represent hometowns from Massachusetts to California.

At both MTSO and Stratford, the team will assist with trail improvements and expansion, invasive species removal, and farming operations, among other tasks.

First on-campus commencement since 2019

Grace Imathiu will address the class of 2022

Rev. Grace Imathiu, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church, Evanston, Illinois, will deliver the 2022 commencement address at Methodist Theological School in Ohio. The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. May 21 in Dickinson Courtyard on the MTSO campus, 3081 Columbus Pike in Delaware. Guests are welcome. Tickets are not required.

A sought-after preacher who earned her Master of Divinity degree from MTSO in 1987, Imathiu has pastored congregations from Green Bay, Wisconsin, to Nairobi, Kenya. Long an ally and activist for the LGBTQI community, she uses sermons as tools of justice at the intersection of religion, race, sexuality and gender.

Among her many professional roles, Imathiu has served as a church planter in Kenya, a superintendent minister overseeing 68 rural churches in Nkubu, and an urban minister to an ecumenical congregation in Nairobi with strong outreach to the neighboring slums of Kawangware.

She has preached in Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Togo, Liberia, Denmark, Australia, Malaysia, Brazil and throughout the United States. A founding member of Kenya Methodist University, she is the author of the books Matthew’s Message: Good News for the New Millennium and Words of Fire, Spirit of Grace.

Imathiu was scheduled to deliver the 2020 commencement address before the 2020 and 2021 commencement ceremonies were moved online due to COVID-19 precautions.

“Rev. Imathiu is a preacher and activist of impact whose work spans the globe,” said MTSO President Jay Rundell. “We’re excited to welcome her back to our campus – finally – to share her considerable wisdom and inspiration with our graduates.”

MTSO will award master’s degrees in divinity, counseling ministries, theological studies, social justice and practical theology, as well as the Doctor of Ministry degree, at the May 21 ceremony.

The long and short of it

Virtual Open Houses and Info Sessions scheduled

MTSO is offering prospective students two ways – and seven different opportunities – to connect online with the school’s admissions staff this spring.

Virtual Admissions Open Houses are scheduled for March 15 and May 3, from 2 to 4 p.m. Eastern both days. Open Houses offer those considering graduate theological education opportunities to hear live from faculty, current students and alumni, in addition to the admissions staff. The sessions also include a virtual tour of the MTSO campus, including on-campus housing, and a discussion of generous financial aid options.

Register now for an Admissions Open House.

New in 2022 are Admissions Info Sessions. In these 45-minute gatherings, admissions staff will offer a brief overview of the school and answer all questions from prospective students. Info sessions are scheduled throughout the spring:

  • March 10, 10 a.m. Eastern
  • March 24, 4 p.m. Eastern
  • April 7, 1 p.m. Eastern
  • April 21, 11 a.m. Eastern
  • May 12, 1 p.m. Eastern

Register now for an Admissions Info Session.