May 10, 2017

Students honored at closing convocation

Melissa Fuson receives the Pastoral Counseling Service and Achievement Award from MTSO President Jay Rundell

Methodist Theological School in Ohio celebrated student achievement in scholarship, leadership and service at the school’s Closing Convocation and Awards Ceremony May 9.

Ten awards were presented to graduating seniors.

The Bishop Judith Craig Prize in Christian Education honors Bishop Craig, whose ministry began as a Christian educator. It recognizes academic excellence; a solid record of service in the local church in a field placement; positive contributions to campus life, the district or the conference; and potential for significance in professional ministry. Recipient: Hope Hutchison.

The Fellowship Seminarian Award recognizes a graduating senior who displays outstanding leadership in music or worship arts, including but not limited to dance, drama, fabric art and liturgical writing. Recipient: Kyle Gould.

The Gindlesperger Bible Award recognizes a graduate who has demonstrated competence in biblical studies and who is humble, diligent and anxious to learn and grow in grace. Recipient: Joel Wildermuth.

The Hoyt Hickman Award recognizes a graduating student who has given evidence of high-quality scholarship in the study of liturgy and who is an effective leader of Christian worship. Recipient: Joel Wildermuth.

The Matey Janata Freedwomen Award honors the memory of Matey Janata, a trustee and 1976 graduate of MTSO who distinguished herself through her work within the church and the broader community. It is awarded to a graduating senior who has submitted a paper that deals with women’s issues in a significant way. Recipient: Kathryn Kuntz-Wineland.

The Pastoral Counseling Service and Achievement Award is presented to a Master of Arts in Counseling Ministries senior who embodies the quest for excellence in professional counseling development. The recipient also demonstrates significant involvement in community service, while maintaining high standards of academic achievement. Recipient: Melissa Fuson.

The Servant Leader Award recognizes a graduating senior who has given exceptional and sacrificial service to MTSO, and has inspired others to do the same. The award consists of a water basin and a towel, evoking Jesus’ washing of his disciples’ feet. Recipient: Kyle Gould.

The C. Everett and Mary Milburn Tilson Social Justice Grant honors the lives and legacies of C. Everett and Mary Milburn Tilson. This award honors the Tilsons’ lifelong devotion social justice, most notably in the civil rights movement. The grant is given to a graduating senior who has demonstrated, both in practice and profession, a commitment to a prophetic vocation of compassionate justice. Recipient: Joel Wildermuth.

The David Wilcox Leadership Award honors the service and leadership of the Rev. Dr. David Wilcox within the United Methodist Church and as a trustee of MTSO. The award recognizes a graduating student preparing for ministry in the context of the local church. The recipient must reflect characteristics of servant-leadership within the MTSO community and in church ministry, and show promise to become a leader in judicatory connections. Recipient: Sara McSwords.

The Ronald L. Williams Book Prize in Theology and Ethics honors the memory of MTSO Professor Ronald L. Williams. It is awarded to a student with extraordinary potential in theological and ethical studies and reflection. Recipient: Jennifer Bass.

A number of returning students and a recent graduate also were honored at Closing Convocation.

The Nystrand Award in Homiletics honors the Rev. Dr. Philip O. Nystrand and encourages excellent preaching. It is given to a rising senior in the Master of Divinity program who demonstrates promise in homiletics. Recipient: Robert Blanchard.

The John W. and Mary Alford Family Awards are presented to students who distinguish themselves through academics, promise for pastoral ministry, ability to articulate the Christian faith, and potential for preaching. Recipients: Robert Blanchard, Jessica Cavinee, Nicholas Gliha, Mimi Luebbers and Anthony Thomas.

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry Seminary Awards are presented to returning students who are full and active members of the United Methodist Church for three years; full-time degree candidates planning to enter the parish ministry; have a grade average of B or better; and show leadership ability. Recipients: Patricia Friel and David Smithey.

The Methesco Community Award is presented to a returning degree-seeking student who makes an important contribution to ministry and the MTSO community. Recipient: Jennifer Fowler.

The United Methodist Higher Education Foundation Scholarships are awarded to returning students who are active members of the United Methodist Church for one year; full-time degree candidates; and have a grade average of B or better. Recipients: Mimi Luebbers and Hyeran Yu.

The Werner Merit Awards are presented to returning students who demonstrate excellence in theological studies, demonstrated in part by achieving a grade point average of 3.5 or higher. Recipients: Troy Braswell, Holly Brown, Christine Burns, Jenn Fowler, Nettie Ferguson, Richard Hinkelman, Rebecca Hug and Tom Taggart.

The Zook Family Awards for Competence in Parish Ministry are presented to continuing students on the basis of promise, ability, gifts and graces for strong Christian ministry. Recipients: Mar Bruner, Nick Shaw, Shannon Trenton and Hyeran Yu.

The Charles A. Dice Fellowship encourages and assists exceptional students and MTSO graduates in continuing their theological education beyond the Master of Divinity at another institution of recognized excellence. Selection is based on academic excellence, personal character, professional competence, and promise of usefulness in Christian ministry or the teaching profession. Recipient: Jess Peacock.

Methodist Theological School in Ohio provides theological education and leadership in pursuit of a just and sustainable world. In addition to the Master of Divinity degree, the school offers master’s degrees in counseling, theological studies and practical theology, along with a Doctor of Ministry degree.

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Danny Russell, communications director, 740-362-3322