Campus View
News for friends of MTSO
October 2014

From The President

An opportunity to invest in campus solar energy

I write to you from a seminary campus that has just passed the mid-point of the fall term. In this issue of Campus View you will get a brief glimpse of campus activity. Many of you were here for Alumni Day, when we celebrated Mount Award recipients, heard from Dr. Eberhart and Dr. Van Meter, and installed our new dean, Dr. Lisa Withrow. It was a wonderful day. You can also read about several upcoming events and about a recent graduate who has taken an unexpected turn as she moves into ministry.

The MTSO strategic plan that was adopted in 2008 includes an Identity and Purpose statement which concludes with a phrase referencing our “commitment to a just and sustainable world.” As you know, after several years of taking important incremental steps with the academic programs and the physical campus, last year we took a big leap of faith in our ecology and theology commitment by starting Seminary Hill Farm. It has raised energy on campus as well as our profile in the world around us. I have been asked about next steps in our sustainability work as well as about ways to support the work. I have a response and a proposal.

While we continue to encourage annual fund giving and scholarship support, we have a bid to install a grid-tied solar electric (photovoltaic) array on campus that will generate 16.2 kilowatts of electricity and thus reduce our dependence on conventional electric service. Like many things at the school, as well as in our churches, this project will have both practical and symbolic value. Due to current construction incentives, we can get a good price if we move now.

I am attaching an aerial Google campus photo that shows the proposed placement of the array. If you click this link or the picture, you'll see a much larger version. We believe we have selected a location that allows the substance and symbolism of our commitment to be visible without being obtrusive.

We have identified current funds to offset some construction costs so that a per-panel price for sixty 270-watt panels will be $750. This provides an opportunity to get a lot of people on board with a meaningful project - either with a single $750 payment or three annual $250 payments. In the hopes that some of you will be among the first to participate by giving a panel, I am offering this link to a special donation page. I invite you to consider responding in the next few days.

To get things started, my wife, Kristen, and I will commit to matching the first 30 panels for a total of 60 panels. Thank you for considering an investment in this next step toward campus sustainability at MTSO.

Jay Rundell

Save The Dates: Feb. 23 and 24

Schooler Institute features Bridgeman and Lockward

Valerie Bridgeman and Jorge Lockward will lead the Schooler Institute on Preaching Feb. 23 and 24 on the MTSO campus. 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.

Valerie Bridgeman is visiting associate professor of homiletics and Hebrew Bible at MTSO. She is the founding president of WomanPreach!, an organization bringing preachers to full prophetic voice. She has taught in some of the nation’s premier seminaries and divinity schools. Before coming to MTSO, she was a tenured associate professor of Hebrew Bible and homiletics and worship at Lancaster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. Ordained in the Church of God, Bridgeman holds a doctorate from Baylor University, a Master of Divinity degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and a B.A. from Trinity University.

Jorge Lockward is director of global praise for the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, he was a committee member of the Spanish Language United Methodist Hymnal and has served as consultant on other denominational hymnals. Among other contributions to worship, Lockward has served on the executive committee of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada and the board of directors of Choristers Guild. As a song leader and workshop leader, he models a passion for the ways congregational song both reflect and shape the theology and praxis of the assembled community.

More information will be available and registration will be open in coming weeks.

An Alum Overseas

Caulk seeks to fill a need for the Methodist Church in Britain

When Debbie Caulk became a student at MTSO, she had more than a degree in mind. She wanted to prepare for Methodist ministry outside the United States, especially in a place struggling with a shortage of ordained clergy.

Now Caulk, who earned her Master of Divinity degree from MTSO in May 2014, has moved to that place: Great Britain, the birthplace of Methodism, where she and her husband, Rev. Robert L. Roberts, moved in July. During this summer’s annual conference of the Methodist Church in Britain (MCB), the conference approved Caulk’s transfer into the MCB as a student presbyter/probationer and approved Roberts, an elder with West Ohio Conference, to be “recognized and regarded” as a presbyter.

They now live in Norwich, England, where Roberts is serving three Methodist congregations. Caulk has been linked with Chapel Field Road Methodist Church in Norwich for her ministry assignment, while also working on a research Ph.D. in Methodist history at the Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education.

Caulk, who previously had a career as a religious news journalist and editor, began studying at MTSO in September 2010. She and Roberts had recently returned to Ohio after four years of ministry in Britain.

“At that time, it was an adventure,” she said. “I was there as the minister’s wife and as a super-volunteer.” Roberts was appointed with one other minister to serve seven – you read that right - congregations in Yorkshire. In other areas of the U.K., presbyters were serving even more congregations.

“As I learned about the great need and heard about people waiting months for Holy Communion, for baptism, weddings, memorial services, I felt called to study for ordained ministry myself,” Caulk said. “As a child, I had heard that call to ministry, but my pastor told me that girls are called only to be preachers’ wives. Unfortunately, I believed that for a long time. When I knew differently, I had to act.”

As she works to fill Great Britain’s need for more clergy, Caulk is grateful for the preparation that her seminary provided. “MTSO’s ecumenical environment was a great transition for me,” she said. “All of my professors at MTSO cheered me on and always expected the best from me.”

Oct. 29-Nov. 13

MTSO hosts 'Liberation from Bondage' art exhibition

"Blue Boy Unbound" by Lynda McClanahan

MTSO will host a four-artist exhibition titled “Liberation from Bondage” Oct. 29 through Nov. 13. Paintings and sculptures by Columbus-based artists Lynda McClanahan (a 2000 MTSO graduate), Sarah Hahn, Sherry Farris and Ellice Park will be displayed in the Gallery. It will be open to the public 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 2-6 p.m. Sunday.

Curated by Park, an MTSO student, “Liberation from Bondage” is an interfaith display of works inspired by the journeys people take to reclaim their basic human freedoms. Those freedoms span emotional and cognitive processes, multigenerational heritage, and theological and sociological cultural dynamics in a diverse society.

A public panel discussion with artists and MTSO faculty will be held at 2 p.m. Oct. 29 in the Alford Centrum. Refreshments will be served.

Alumni Day

Dean Withrow’s installation highlights a time of celebration

More than 180 members of the MTSO community gathered Oct. 6 for the second annual Alumni Day. Former students, faculty and staff returned to campus for the day's events, which began with "More Than the Farm: Ecotheology at MTSO," a discussion led by faculty members Tim Eberhart and Tim Van Meter.

The John and Ruth Mount Alumni Awards for Distinguished Service were presented at a luncheon featuring a farm-fresh, family style meal. April Blaine, the lead pastor of Summit on 16th UMC in Columbus, received the Mount Award for Parish Ministry.

"April received her M.Div. from MTSO just five years ago, and in that time, she has led the transformation of a struggling urban congregation into a center of servant leadership for its neighborhood," said President Jay Rundell in presenting the award. "She has found a way to expand her church’s membership and reach while making sure existing members remained invested in an evolving mission."

Roy Mitchell (M.Div. and MTS '05), chaplain and director of church relations for Columbia College in South Carolina, received the Mount Award for Specialized Ministry.

"It’s gratifying to see how Roy's ministry as a college chaplain has come to embody many of the values we hold dear," Rundell said. "At Columbia, he has taught classes on food and faith, on immigration, and on world religions. He does these things in addition to his chaplaincy work with students, faculty and staff of more than 20 different Christian denominations – plus those of other faith traditions or no faith tradition."

The day culminated with the installation of Dean Lisa Withrow. Her installation featured charges from Director of Academic Affairs Sue Lamphere on behalf of the administration and staff; Professor Robin Knowles Wallace on behalf of the faculty; Kenya Cummings of the Black Seminarians' Network on behalf of students; Bishop in Residence Judith Craig on behalf of the church; and Board Chair David Wilcox on behalf of the trustees. Video of the ceremony, including Withrow's installation address, titled "Choices," is available in the Theological Commons archives.

Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed dessert and coffee as a harpist and flutist played Celtic music – a favorite of the new dean. Many more photos of Alumni Day are available for viewing on MTSO's Facebook page.


New video covers Seminary Hill Farm and why it matters

In summing up the energy behind MTSO's Seminary Hill Farm in a newly released video, President Jay Rundell says, "People are excited because we're doing something no one expected us to do."

The four-minute video reveals the inspiration for the farm, what it means to campus life and how it fits within a broader commitment to sustainability on the MTSO campus. The video, imbedded below, can be viewed and downloaded to disc from MTSO's Vimeo page. All friends of the school are welcome and encouraged to share it with members of their communities.