January 18, 2011

Speaker series addresses disabilities and the church

Methodist Theological School in Ohio invites those interested in the theological implications of disabilities to attend its speaker series, "Disabilities, Theology and the Church," on four consecutive Wednesday evenings Feb. 9 through March 2. All four programs will be held at 6 p.m. in the Alford Centrum on the MTSO campus, 3081 Columbus Pike in Delaware. Admission is free. Those who plan to attend any or all of the events are asked to contact Leslie Taylor, MTSO director of student life, at 740-362-3126 or ltaylor@mtso.edu. This will help ensure that there are adequate resources for those in attendance.

Disabilities, Theology and the Church, the keynote address, will be presented Feb. 9 by Deborah Creamer, author of the book "Disability and Christian Theology: Embodied Limits and Constructive Possibilities," which encourages fresh thinking about ability and disability. Creamer is associate dean for academic affairs at Iliff School of Theology in Denver and co-chairs the Religion and Disability Studies Group of the American Academy of Religion.

Disabilities, Theology and the Church: Physical Disabilities, held Feb. 16, features Rev. Robert Molsberry, who leads the Ohio Conference of the United Church of Christ as conference minister, and Dr. Scott Lissner, ADA coordinator for the Ohio State University. Molsberry, who was struck by a hit-and-run driver in 1997 and left paraplegic, has authored the books "Blindsided by Grace: Entering the World of Disability" and "Tour de Faith: A Cyclist's Lessons for Living." Lissner, who has held his position at Ohio State since 2000, also serves on the Central Ohio Transit Authority's Mobility Advisory Board and the City of Columbus's Advisory Committee on Disability.

Disabilities, Theology and the Church: Cognitive and Developmental Disabilities, on Feb. 23, features Al Herzog, who will discuss his work assisting churches in serving people along the autism spectrum, and Rick Hatem, who will talk about his experience working with the people of L'Arche Canada, a community in which people with and without developmental disabilities live together. Representatives of the Delaware County Office of Developmental Disabilities also will participate in the discussion.

Disabilities, Theology and the Church: Mental Illness and the Church completes the series on March 2. The evening's speakers are Beth Lauer of the Delaware and Morrow Counties chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Megan Coggins, a senior at MTSO who is a disability and mental health advocate, focusing her studies on the theological, ethical and social issues surrounding mental illness.

Located in Greater Columbus on U.S. Route 23, Methodist Theological School in Ohio is an ecumenical graduate school, preparing transformational leaders for service to the church and the world. MTSO offers master's degrees in divinity, counseling ministries, theological studies and practical theology, as well as a Doctor of Ministry degree. For more information, visit www.mtso.edu.

Danny Russell, director of communication
drussell@mtso.edu, 740-362-3322