The Methodist Theological School in Ohio, commonly known by its initials "MTSO," is a graduate theological school and seminary located in Delaware, Ohio. MTSO is one of the 13 official seminaries of The United Methodist Church.

MTSO is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools of the The Higher Learning Commission, and is also accredited the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada to provide post-baccalaureate professional and academic degree programs to educate persons for the practice of ministry and for teaching and research in the theological disciplines.

In addition to The United Methodist Church, MTSO students represent over 20 other Christian denominations and other faith perspectives.


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In April 1958, 48 members of the Provisional Organization for the Establishment of a Methodist Theological School in Ohio signed a document laying the groundwork for the construction of a new educational institution on 70 hillside acres in Central Ohio. Its purpose, they wrote, was “to train, educate and prepare students for the preaching and proclaiming of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the various ministries of the Church.” Later, on a campus cornerstone, they would state it more succinctly: “TO PREACH THE WORD.”

A year later in 1959, $4 million had been raised for the project. A year after that, in the fall of 1960, the first classes met on the scenic new campus.

Rev. John W. Dickhaut was named as the first president of MTSO and Van Bogard Dunn was appointed as the first academic dean. Dickhaut served as president for 22 years. In 1963, the first graduating class of MTSO was all male and included one African-American graduate. The first female graduated from MTSO the following year in 1964.

During the 1960s, MTSO established a legacy of being an institution focused on issues relating to social justice. Many of the faculty and students protested racial discrimination in the United States during these years. In 1973, MTSO joined Trinity Lutheran Seminary and the Pontifical College Josephinum to form the Theological Consortium of Greater Columbus. In 1981, MTSO named Rev. Buford A. Dickinson as the successor to Dickhaut as the president. Dickinson served for five years and was succeeded by Rev. Dr. Norman E. "Ned" Dewire, who would serve for 20 years.

Rev. Jay Rundell was named the fourth president of MTSO on July 1, 2006, and currently serves as president of the institution. Dr. Randy Litchfield is the current academic dean.


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MTSO offers studies in multiple disciplines within the field of theological education. These include Biblical Studies, Clinical and Pastoral Counseling, Historical Studies, Evangelism, Practical Theology, Theological Studies, the Study of Religion, Inter-Religious Relations, and Wesleyan Studies.

Students are required to engage in contextual education including field education, supervised internships, clinical pastoral education (CPE) units, and cross-cultural trips.


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MTSO currently has 19 members of the faculty. Notable ones include:

  • Bishop Judith Craig - Visiting Professor of Leadership
  • Dr. John Kampen - Former Academic Dean and leading scholar on the Dead Sea Scrolls


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The MTSO campus is 70 acres (280,000 m2). Facilities on the campus include:

  • Alford Centrum
  • Burgett Preaching Chapel
  • Dewire Residence Hall
  • Dickhaut Library
  • Dunn Dining Hall
  • Gault Hall
  • Helen Werner Apartment Building
  • Kleist Manor Apartments
  • Werner Hall

Outdoor facilities include a chapel, community garden, disc golf course, spiritual labyrinth and walking trails. In 2013, MTSO announced a sustainability initiative that will make MTSO's campus more environmentally responsible.

Degree programs

MTSO honors alums and emeriti - MTSO
  • Master of Divinity (MDiv)
  • Master of Arts in Counseling Ministries (MACM) (Previously Master of Arts in Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Ministry - MA/ADAM)
  • Master of Theological Studies (MTS)
  • Master of Arts in Practical Theology (MAPT)
  • Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

Non-Degree Programs

  • Course of Study School in Ohio
  • Certificate in Advanced Course of Study
  • Certificate in Basic Theological Education
  • Certificate in Deacon Studies

Lecture Series

  • The Schooler Institute on Preaching
  • Williams Lectures on Theology

Notable alumni

  • Hae-Jong Kim, retired bishop of The United Methodist Church.
  • Joseph Sprague, retired bishop of The United Methodist Church.
  • Dagmar Braun Celeste, former first lady of Ohio
  • James W. Moore (an acclaimed preacher and pastor, and Abingdon Press' top selling author), 1963
  • John B. Ellington, Jr., Air National Guard Major General

External links

  • Methodist Theological School in Ohio


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