Sept. 6 conference

Christians and the Disinherited: Toward the Next 100 Years of Ecumenical Ministry

Leonard Pitts Jr. highlights a gathering celebrating the Ohio Council of Churches’ centennial

The Ohio Council of Churches is celebrating its centennial with a conference focused on the century to come, cosponsored by MTSO and the Ohio Conference of the United Church of Christ.

“Christians and the Disinherited: Toward the Next 100 Years of Ecumenical Ministry” will bring together religious leaders and lay people from a host of denominations throughout Ohio. Those who gather on the MTSO campus Sept. 6 will engage in conversations around the social issues that are most pressing for Christians to confront over the next 100 years.

Nationally syndicated columnist, bestselling author and lecturer Leonard Pitts Jr. will speak on the topic “Being White in a Woke World: Things People of Color Wish Other Americans Knew” during the evening session. Pitts, who won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, is the author of nonfiction and fiction books including Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood and the novel Grant Park. His latest is The Last Thing You Surrender, a novel set during World War II.

Sermon/essay contest

We invite laity and clergy to submit sermons or essays on the conference theme, showing appreciation for past and present manifestations of the ecumenical movement while offering a sense of God’s vision for future expressions of Christian unity that reveal Christ’s love and justice ethic in our increasingly unjust and fragmented world. The author of the winning sermon or essay will be invited to present it during the morning worship of this event.

If you are interested in participating in this contest, please submit your original sermon or essay as a Word document, double-spaced in 12-point Calibri font, to Please include a short cover letter and biographical statement. The winner will be announced in August 2019.

The deadline for all submissions is July 31.


Friday, Sept. 6

8:30 a.m. Registration
9 a.m. Opening worship
10:15 a.m.

Opening plenary: “Ecumenism and the Disinherited: Reconsidering Mission”
Speaker: Sarah Lancaster, MTSO professor in the Werner Chair of Theology
Responders: Bishop Abraham D. Allende, Northeastern Ohio Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Rev. Dan Clark, director, Ohio Faith in Public Life; Rev. Marcia Dinkins, executive director, Ohio Interfaith Power and Light; Rev. David Long-Higgins, transitional conference minister, Ohio Conference, United Church of Christ; Bishop Marvin F. Thomas Sr., Second Episcopal District, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church and president of the Ohio Council of Churches Governing Board

Noon Lunch A/Breakouts A
1:15 p.m. Lunch B/Breakouts B
2:15 p.m. Spiritual practices, respite, farm and campus tour
3:15 p.m. Breakouts C
4:30 p.m. Regathering
Moderated by MTSO Dean Valerie Bridgeman
5 p.m. Dinner on your own
7 p.m. Opening with awards
7:30 p.m. Evening session
Leonard Pitts Jr.


“Christians and the Disinterited” will be held on the MTSO campus in Delaware. MTSO is located on U.S. Route 23, exactly 10 miles north of I-270, the Columbus outerbelt. Here’s a Google map. And here’s a campus map and photo tour.


The registration deadline for the full conference has passed. However, if you wish to attend the evening session featuring Leonard Pitts at 7:30 p.m., you are welcome to come and pay at the door. The cost is $20.

We also invite you to attend other upcoming MTSO events.