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ONU students explore ministry

Two ONU students, Andy Burns, a sophomore in music education from Circleville, Ohio, and Alex Wiles, a sophomore in management from Cridersville, Ohio, along with Rocky Riddle of Ohio State University, took part in 12-week paid summer internships as part of the Next Generations Leadership Ministry Interns program sponsored by the West Ohio Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. As part of the internships, the students served under a mentor in a host church while exploring a call to ordained ministry. The three interns also visited several seminaries and participated in nearby mission and justice ministries.

During their time on the Methodist Theological School in Ohio (MTSO) campus, the interns met with current students and admissions counselors.

“We talked about the unique way our degree programs are structured to give students the flexibility to pursue specializations and focus on areas they find particularly interesting,” said Admissions Director April Casperson. “And we were able to make them aware of our financial aid options. The number of offerings at MTSO – particularly all our full-tuition scholarships – is really a pleasant surprise for quality students like Andy, Alex and Rocky.”

The interns also met with Academic Dean Randy Litchfield – both formally and informally. Their visit coincided with school ice cream social at the dean’s home, where they had the chance to mingle with MTSO students, faculty and staff.

Recruiter David Allen, who was himself a Next Generations intern before earning a Master of Divinity degree at MTSO, said he enjoyed discussing a wide range of subjects with the visiting students.

“A lot of the conversation was about the church in general. ‘Where is the church headed? What is my role in the church in the bigger picture?’” Allen said.

During their time at MTSO, the interns also visited Community Development for All People (CD4AP), a United Methodist organization serving the south side of Columbus, where they helped to sort clothing donated to the United Methodist Free Store. The trip highlighted a unique partnership between MTSO and CD4AP, which joined together to offer a certification in Engaging in Ministry with the Poor, a program approved by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church.

“It’s MTSO’s mission to prepare transformational leaders for the church,” Casperson said. “That fits pretty nicely with the goal of the Next Generations program. We’re pleased to join with West Ohio in helping such promising students engage in the discernment process.”


Photo: Recruiter David Allen and West Ohio Program and Resource Assistant Tiffanie Shanks share a laugh with interns Andy Burns, Alex Wiles and Rocky Riddle on the MTSO campus.