By Bailey Basham
A PBS documentary aired last week on sex trafficking which included a lengthy report on trafficking in Trevecca’s neighborhood.
By Bailey Basham
By Bailey Basham
For five years Jason Adkins has been running a farm at Trevecca and teaching social justice majors courses on environmental justice.
Now, the wider Nazarene church will have access to some of this training.
Adkins, environmental projects coordinator and manager of the urban farm, and Jamie Casler, director of the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice have teamed up to write a small-group curriculum for churches and missionaries about the theology of creation care.
“It’s all online, and it is free so anyone can access it. It’s just another way we at the university are able to serve as a resource to the Nazarene denomination,” said Casler.
The program is in the final development stages and will consist of a video series and discussion-generating study guides.
Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, Inc. will provide any churches, missionary organizations, nonprofits and other interested groups with course materials outlining the basics of the creation care theology and what needs to be done to start and maintain a community garden.
Creation care is a form of ministerial evangelism with a focus on stewardship of the environment, the reconstruction and preservation of the world, and environmental sustainability from a theological standpoint.
“It’s about being part of God’s life-giving works,” said Adkins. “It’s to help people understand discipleship as the business of the church.”
Taken from the NCMI website, the care of creation is as fundamentally important as the care of physical bodies. “These are the vessels and dwelling places that God has given us to inhabit, and just as we are only given one body in which to live we are also only given one earth.”
Adkins developed a curriculum by which the targeted reconstruction and preservation objectives could be met. He said the program came about as an outgrowth of personal vocation to creation and farming.
“For the past five years, I’ve been looking at the ways the environment is evolving. Thinking on and writing curriculum for students, and teaching and learning about how they respond; what works and what doesn’t,” said Adkins. “In the classroom, we look at the ways humans presently support their basic needs. In looking at these life systems, we find that they are in crisis. We explore the ways in which they are in crisis and the ways in which we can change that by choosing to live responsibly for the benefit of creation and future generations.”
This model requires personal and societal changes. The focus of the curriculum is on what those changes might entail, said Adkins.
“Four years after the program was started, the NCMI board toured the farm, and it was decided that a partnership would benefit in informing the Nazarene people about discipleship and the discipline of caring for creation,” said Adkins. “We created a program with a theological foundation of practical ways for people to enact the creation care model where they are.”
The goal of creation care is to educate the public on the understanding that it is a Christian responsibility to be good stewards of the environment.
“A lot of times, the things we relate to environmentalism are things that we see as being very remote to us; the polar bears, chaining ourselves to trees, etc. One of the things we want to encourage is the breakdown of the idea that we’re not a part of everything else. There can be a harmony. We can be a part of the world and make it better. All we have to do is start where we are,” said Adkins.
By Bailey Basham
The community is invited to join the conversation Friday, Nov. 14 in Boone Convocation Center.
The goal of the program “Current Issues in Human Trafficking: Policies and Treatment” is to serve as a catalyst to create dialogue both on campus and in the community, to raise awareness for the issue, and to educate students, community members, and professionals on the policies and treatment concerning human trafficking.
Speakers at the workshop will include Jill Robinson of Vanderbilt University, Matt Dixon of the Metro Police Department, Antoinette Welch from the District Attorney’s office, intervention specialist Sheila McClain, Lizedny De la Rosa of End Slavery Tennessee, and founder of Freedom’s Promise, Amber Barron.
To reserve your place at the workshop, register here. This event is free for all Trevecca students, $10 for all non-TNU students, and $35 for professionals looking to earn CEU credits.
By Bailey Basham
Every summer high school students from Nashville Metro Public Schools spend their days on the Trevecca Urban Farm.
The goal is to introduce students to farming as a way of life.
By demonstrating for the students ways in which they could enact the model of farming as a livelihood in their own communities, fresher foods and healthier options are no longer as difficult to find locally.
“It’s easier to find a gun in this neighborhood than it is a tomato, or at least it used to be,” said Jason Adkins, manager of the Trevecca urban farm and environmental projects coordinator for the university.
The goal of the program is to educate these students on farming practices and to show them practical ways in which they could apply what they had learned to better their communities and lives.
Over the summer, 18 student participants represented nine nations.
With hands on experience on the farm and classroom education by way of videos and discussions, the students who participated left with a new understanding of farming as a vocation and with new connections in the Nashville area.
“A lot of these students had a really hard time in their countries of origin and came as immigrants off their farms into America. It was the hope of the camp to facilitate a reconnection with the soil and animals, a chance to put down roots in a new place by connecting to their agricultural past,” said Adkins. “We spent 5 days teaching them everything we know.”
Coming from different places around the world, each student had a different perspective to offer on farming practices.
“We got to learn from them about international farming and teach about nutrition, the way the American food system operates, and how and why it works or doesn’t work,” said Adkins.
Goats, chickens, pigs, worms, fish, bees, and guard dogs provided the students with lessons in animal husbandry alongside the experience of working in the gardens composting the soil and harvesting produce.
“There were a variety of projects for the students to work on. They planted trees and worked with the animals, in the gardens, and with composting. There was some sort of project and chore for them everyday. This way, they were able to get an overall feel,” said director of the J.V. Morsch Center of Social Justice, Jamie Casler.
At the end of the week, campers got the chance to reap what they had sown. Cooking demonstrations with the produce they had helped grow and family-style meals that allowed them to taste the freshest foods available provided the chance for the students to see and experience the benefits of a hard day’s work in the gardens.
by Rebekah Warran, Staff Writer
This summer, the Urban Farm received a $25,000 grant from Nazarene Compassionate Ministries (NCM) to serve the local Nashville community.
NCM is an organization that partners with the Nazarene churches around the world to help those in need.
The region that surrounds Trevecca, particularly the Napier and Chestnut Hill areas, are considered to be a food desert,” said Jamie Casler, director of the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice.
“The people in our community do not have access to healthy foods within three to five miles,” he said.
The money donated with go to multiple projects that are taking place in the farm.
Some will go to green house development and expansion and the majority will go to camps that bring high school students from around the area and around the world to learn about farming in an urban setting.
“We are seeing to educate and inspire people to understand issues surrounding nutrition and health,” said Jason Adkins, environmental projects coordinator and overseer of the Urban Farm.
Local students will have the opportunity to learn how to grow their own crops and take care of them. The funds will help with staff support, especially in the summer.
“It will also pay high school students to work part time… learning how to farm and leading others,” said Adkins.
For the local community, the work of the urban farm will have a long-term impact with the potential to shape the way future generations handle food consumption and how well they care for themselves.
“We surround them with the resources, love and care that they need to grow their own food,” said Casler.
By Bailey Basham
Compassion currently provides food, education, and security for nearly 1.6 million children living in poverty around the world in 26 different countries.
This experience is designed to show its participants a world that is unlike any other they have been exposed to before.
“The Compassion Experience allows people of opportunity to see what life was like for these Compassion graduates and will hopefully spark some ideas for how they might be able to work towards a solution,” said Heather Daugherty, associate chaplain at Trevecca.
As a part of this experience, visitors are given an iPod and pair of headphones through which the true stories of Compassion graduates are shared.
The mobile experience at Trevecca offered two tour options: a walk through the life of Julian Alum, a young girl from Kampala, Uganda whose family fell into poverty after the death of her father, and Ruben, a boy who grew up in Bolivia in a broken home ravished by poverty and abuse.
Once inside the mobile replicas, visitors get to explore the homes, the Compassion schools, and the streets where the children worked.
At the end of the tour, a video is shown on each person’s iPod showing just how much Compassion benefited Julian and Reuben. Julian was able to attend university where she earned her master’s in social work, and Ruben was able to escape poverty and graduate from high school.
“It was a really cool experience, especially since we each got to hear and see the things that Reuben did,” said sophomore Abigail Larimore.
For more information about Compassion, child sponsorships, and their mobile ministries, visit their website by clicking here.
By Abigail Larimore
On a stage that was mostly bare, save an armchair, a coat rack and a bench, a survivor of human trafficking told the dramatic story of her kidnapping, drug use and eventually redemption through a one-woman play.
Stacy Jewell Lewis, a survivor-activist, poet and playwright of Washington D.C., presented her show, “7 Layers Captive,” detailing her experiences in the sex industry, Friday Sept. 19 as part of Trevecca Nazarene University’s annual social justice conference on campus.
Audience members were given an all access pass inside the thoughts and feelings of a 19-year-old Lewis as she detailed how a seemingly harmless elderly man offered her a ride home, and instead took her to meet her new pimp. Or what it was like to see girls much younger than she, learning the same trade. Perhaps the most heart wrenching piece of the story, was learning that her captors had been following her for weeks , and threatened to kill her son if she attempted to escape.
Lewis became addicted to drugs after her pimp introduced her to pills to help curb the emotional pain. In addition, he would force Lewis to do drugs before taking her to visit the family. When her own family rejected her, it only drove her further into the arms of the man who set the trap in the first place.
In the second act of the show, Lewis discussed some common misconceptions about prostitutes. Instead of believing that trafficked individuals choose to be where they are, Americans must remember that this industry is first and foremost slavery, and no one chose to be there, she said.
Lewis is the first human trafficking survivor to share her story on campus.
Coordinators of the fifth annual social justice conference tried to chose and address topics that students are passionate about, said Jamie Casler, director of the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice.
“Students help to drive this issue,” said Casler.
The show starred Lewis, who had the only lines spoken aloud, as well as other silent characters including Andrea Richardson, a Trevecca dramatic arts major.
Richardson landed the role after being approached by Jeffrey Frame, professor of dramatic arts and communications.
“He approached me and asked me if I would help out, because they approached him asking if he could find an African American female to portray her younger self in the show. I was really excited to do it,” said Richardson.
Hilary Frame, also a Trevcca dramatic arts major, worked as unofficial stage manager for the show, as well as a liaison between Lewis’s stage crew and Trevecca’s departments.
“There are so many more passive ways to share her life, but it wouldn’t get the same message or emphasis across. Plenty of people share stories that sound like fairy tales. But when you see someone act it out for you who did experience it, it creates a new level of reality,” said Frame.
By Bailey Basham
Trevecca Nazarene University was selected to host the Compassion Mobile Experience from Sept. 25 to Sept. 29.
Change The Story: The Compassion Experience is an interactive journey that allows its participants to experience cultures different from their own in ways they likely would not have considered before.
This free and all-ages appropriate mobile experience takes you through the lives of children living in Bolivia, the Philippines, Uganda, and Kenya by immersing you in their worlds via narration and the chance to explore the lives of the people in these developing countries through replicas of their homes, markets, schools, etc.
The Compassion Experience is sponsored by Compassion International, a Christ-centered child sponsorship and preventative justice organization that is dedicated to providing food, education, and security for children living in poverty around the world.
To experience another culture and better understand the realities of global poverty, reserve your place in the Compassion Experience by visiting their website or feel free to walk up and take part as you can.
This past September over 100 church leaders and students gathered on Trevecca’s campus for the inaugural Mobilizing the Church for Social Justice Conference. The conference was hosted by the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice and featured speakers such as Dr. Dan Boone, Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, Dr. Carla Sunberg, James E. Copple, and Jennifer Roemhildt Tunehag.
The event included workshops lead by experts in the field, collaborative discussion on pressing topics, tours of local ministries, and a viewing of the film “Trade of Innocents”
By Brennen Finchum
Sunsets in the garden, a homeless man under an overpass, and Trevecca President Dan Boone teaching a class all set the scene for a new promo video for Trevecca’s Social Justice program.
“The purpose of the video is for recruiting purposes,” said Betsy Harris, Trevecca marketing coordinator. “It will also go into helping fundraise money for scholarships.”
The idea began this past summer at the initiative of Boone, University President, who wanted to promote the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice.
“He wanted to make Trevecca distinct from other universities,” said Harris.
The social justice program does just that.
There are only a handful of universities in the nation who offer degrees in social justice, including Hamline University and Marquette University.
The promo is being directed and produced by Nashville’s own Barry Simmons, founder of Stone Castle Pictures.
About six months ago, Simmons reached out to Trevecca and started the filming process. They interviewed people, researched and planned for months before the filming began near the beginning of September.
“We couldn’t be happier with the way it’s turned out. Can’t wait to show it to everyone,” Simmons wrote in an e-mail.
This isn’t Stone Castle’s first social justice minded project.
Among an assortment of films, Stone Castle produced feature length “Sons of Lwala” for some friends who were trying to fund a village’s first clinic in Kenya. The film raised $500,000.
In 2009, Stone Castle filmed a “dry run” to help organize a global event called “Help Portrait.” The event gathered more than 8,000 photographers in 42 countries to capture the portraits of the homeless, the oppressed and the overlooked people of the world.
“This is all about people just giving what they have,” said Jeremy Cowart, celebrity photographer and the events founder.
A rough cut of Trevecca’s film is out now and the official release date is expected in early October, said Casler.
Welcome to micahmandate.com, the online magazine for the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice.