Guest post by Methodist Theological School In Ohio
We’re from Ohio.
Thomas Edison was born here before his family moved to Michigan to follow the railroad. The Wright Brothers developed the first airplane in their Dayton bicycle shop before their historic sustained flight, which took place in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. It’s a point of contention between Ohio and North Carolina, even now.
A simple place.
Still, many world-changing events have taken place here. While Edison was moving to Michigan to embrace the future, abolitionists were secretly moving enslaved people across the Ohio River, along the Underground Railroad and toward the hope of freedom. And, 100 years later and 30 miles to the north of the river, 800 volunteers met in Oxford, Ohio, to train for the violence they would face during the Freedom Summer of 1964.
With great significance.
Also in 1964, just north of Columbus, four professors at a brand new seminary, Methodist Theological School in Ohio (MTSO), were packing for a trip. It was Holy Week, but they were leaving for Jackson, Mississippi, to accompany black worshippers into the Easter service of a white Methodist church. On Easter morning, all nine members of the group were arrested during a dramatic encounter in front of Capitol Street Methodist Church on the charge of “disturbing divine worship.” Well, that started it.
A deep tradition of justice.
A few weeks later, the first graduates of MTSO earned their degrees, beginning a tradition of ministry and justice in Ohio and beyond. To this day, deep theological refection and social justice advocacy are at the core of MTSO’s cultural identity and work. As you are reading this, MTSO students and graduates are initiating and leading a network of Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools throughout Ohio, in direct succession of the original Freedom School movement.
In partnership, MTSO and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center are developing and teaching freedom theologies in the areas of race, gender and economics, and engaging churches and the public in conversation and action. MTSO will offer select for-credit courses at the Freedom Center in Cincinnati, develop certificate programs and seminars for theologies of freedom, and host traveling exhibits from the Freedom Center in the Columbus area.
Ecology. Theology. Good food for all.
The MTSO campus is located on 70 beautiful rolling acres just north of Columbus, and we’re putting those acres to good use in the movement toward ecological, economic and food justice. MTSO’s Seminary Hill Farm is a USDA-certified organic farm, offering a community-supported agriculture program and supplying our dining hall, local restaurants and social service agencies with fresh, local, organic produce. Also, our Community Food and Wellness Initiative supports the development of community gardens, urban farms, and other food projects, which increase food access and environmental resiliency, promote nutrition and active living, and create fair employment and just community.
Welcoming and affirming.
MTSO’s campus is both welcoming and affirming for those who might be excluded elsewhere. And our course content embraces theological reflection beyond the intersections of gender and sexuality. We strive to welcome all perspectives. It’s just who we are.
Come visit us.
We invite you visit with us, either in the Spirituality Tent at the Wild Goose Festival or on our campus in Central Ohio. You can also learn more about us on our websites and through Facebook and Twitter. Here are the links: