MTSO Taking Ecology Seriously

 

An ever-increasing focus on ecology and sustainability is evident in a variety of ways at Methodist Theological School in Ohio (MTSO). It begins with MTSO’s statement of Aspiration, Identity and Purpose, which concludes with this affirmation: “We take seriously our responsibility for stewardship of the intellectual life of the church and our commitment to a just and sustainable world.”


MTSO sits on a 70-acre hillside campus, and the school embraces the opportunities the land provides. A prayer labyrinth overlooks a scenic pond, and a tree-shaded prayer garden sits on the banks of a stream. A 1-mile walking path rings the campus, passing by a wind-powered kinetic flame sculpture. The MTSO community garden sprouts each spring, irrigated by rainwater collected from the gutters of a nearby building. Indoors, each office recycles weekly, and the lights in many public spaces have been outfitted with motion sensors to minimize energy use in empty rooms.


In 2011, MTSO became a much greener campus academically, beginning with two green enhancements to master’s degree programs. Students may now pursue a Master of Divinity degree with a specialization in Ecology and Social Change, or a Master of Arts in Practical Theology with an Ecology and Justice specialization. The Dickhaut Library was named an International Society for Science & Religion Library awardee. Students, alumni and faculty now have access to the full 224-volume ISSR Library, which includes 26 books covering ecology, sustainability and environmental ethics.


Eco-theology expert Gregory Hitzhusen, a lecturer at the Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources, visited the MTSO campus to speak on the topic “Resources for Eco-Theology.” He commended the school for its involvement with the Green Seminaries Initiative and other commitments to ecology. “I’m always very excited when seminaries take ecology seriously,” Hitzhusen said. “When faith communities take ecology seriously, then the earth has a prayer.”

 

  • View MTSO's Green Profile here (this link will be restored at a later date.)
  • Story from the GSI Spring Newsletter April, 2012
  • Story submitted by Danny Russell