Methodist Theological School in Ohio has been awarded a $30,000 grant to fund a two-year project, “Theology, Ecology and Race: Crucial Intersections for Innovative Education.”
The project is made possible by a grant from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, which is funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. and located at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana.
With funding from the grant, MTSO will expand and enhance its teaching and identity around sustainable environmental justice. The project’s goals include:
• Raising consciousness among students, faculty and staff about the interplay of race and ecology.
• Meeting with students and alumni focus groups to develop a vocational vision for ecology in the classroom, parish and broader community.
• Inspiring faculty to encourage engagement with issues of ecology and racism across the curriculum.
• Identifying and challenging environmental racism, food insecurity and the impacts of climate change on marginalized communities.
• Encouraging students to make engagement with ecological ideas central to their work after graduation.
• Inviting representatives from other theological schools to explore ways to weave commitments to racial and ecological justice throughout courses and degree programs.
“This grant allows us to do significant work within the institution to ground our mission in core values, which we hope will increase our contribution to conversation and action beyond our campus,” said project director Timothy Van Meter, associate professor in the Alford Chair of Christian Education and Youth Ministry at MTSO.
Over the coming two years, MTSO will design new ways of integrating learning with the school’s Seminary Hill Farm and its staff, and it will offer stipends for faculty members to develop curricula that intersect ecology and race with more traditional courses. MTSO also plans to offer teaching-learning sessions for pastors, community activists and nonprofit leaders, bringing together ecology, anti-racism and theology.
The grant period will culminate in the publication of articles and perhaps larger publications featuring the work of MTSO faculty members and colleagues from partner schools.
Methodist Theological School 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.