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News for friends of MTSO
September 2021


Pastors, Pandemics and Public Health

How do pastors and congregations engage science when making public health decisions concerning COVID-19 prevention? How can they keep the faith while keeping congregations and communities safe from COVID-19? Panelists will unpack these questions during the first event of MTSO’s virtual series, Science and Religion Digital Dialogues.

“Pastors, Pandemics and Public Health: Building Collaborative Responses to COVID-19” begins at 7 p.m. Sept. 16. It is free and open to the public. Advance Zoom registration is required and available here.

This multi-professional conversation will offer responses to the COVID-19 pandemic through scientific, social and pastoral lenses. Noted experts will discuss responding to immediate pandemic concerns and propose approaches to dealing with longer-term issues.

The panelists are Emanuel Cleaver III, senior pastor of St. James United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Missouri; A. Oveta Fuller, associate professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Michigan Medical School; and Rachel Schneider, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Religion and Public Life Program at Rice University. The discussion will be moderated by John W. Dickhaut Library Director Elonda Clay.

This event is made possible through the Science for Seminaries project of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Dialogues on Science, Ethics, and Religion program.

Read more.


‘Reading Paul in Prison’ marks release of Schellenberg’s latest book

MTSO Associate Professor of New Testament Ryan Schellenberg will participate in an online conversation, “Reading Paul in Prison: A Book Launch and Colloquium,” at 7 p.m. Eastern time Sept. 28. The colloquium marks the publication of Schellenberg’s book Abject Joy: Paul, Prison, and the Art of Making Do, published by Oxford University Press.

He will be joined in a discussion of Paul’s letter to the Philippians by three scholars and theologians with extensive experience working alongside incarcerated persons. The group will discuss what prison tells us about Philippians and also what Philippians has to say about prison.

The event will be presented free of charge by the Theological Commons at MTSO. Advance Zoom registration is required and available here.

Schellenberg will begin “Reading Paul in Prison” with an overview of Abject Joy before inviting responses from his colleagues: Douglas Campbell, professor of New Testament and director of the prison program at Duke Divinity School; Willie Dwayne Francois III, assistant professor of liberation theology at New York Theological Seminary, where he also serves as director of the Master of Professional Studies Program at Sing Sing Correctional Facility; and Sarah Jobe, a prison chaplain through Interfaith Prison Ministry for Women and a prison educator through Duke Divinity School.

An MTSO faculty member since 2015, Schellenberg was awarded the 2015 F.W. Beare Award for an outstanding book in New Testament and Christian Origins by the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies for Rethinking Paul's Rhetorical Education.

Read more.


Religious belief shouldn't be a solely individual experience

The Columbus Dispatch invited MTSO President Jay Rundell to write a Sept. 5 column for its newly restored Faith & Values section.

He addresses his sense that religious belief is increasingly forsaking community engagement in favor of a hyper-individualized expression of faith.

“To the extent that religious belief and practice are germane to contemporary issues — and I believe they are — a growing focus on the individual and self rather than community and society is highly problematic," Rundell writes.

Read the full column here.

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Pizza party

Classes of 2020 and 2021 belatedly celebrate graduation

MTSO had the honor of hosting a long-delayed graduation celebration for the classes of 2020 and 2021 the evening of Sept. 12. There were no caps or gowns, but plenty of smiles, stories and delicious food from our Seminary Hill Farm chefs.

See a gallery of photos on MTSO’s Facebook page.

Congratulations once again to two classes of distinction.