Micah Mandate

The Magazine of the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice at Trevecca Nazarene University.

Social Justice Club educating students at Trevecca

Posted by admin October - 26 - 2014 - Sunday ADD COMMENTS

The social justice club at Trevecca Nazarene University is working toward bridging the gap between issues in social justice and Christian-oriented solutions.

The club is made up of about 25 students from all disciplines who share a common passion: to enact social justice where justice is due.

Previously known as the International Justice Mission Club, the name was changed as the focus of the club was broadened, said Jamie Casler, Director of the J.V. Morsch Center of Social Justice.

“The purpose of the club is mainly to educate students, make them more aware of social justice issues, and to engage them in social justice opportunities for service,” said Taylor Flemming, social justice major and member of the club’s leadership team.

In the past, the club has worked to organize events that educated on issues like slavery, immigration, human trafficking, homelessness, HIV/AIDS, and the water crisis in Africa.

This semester, it is the hope of the club and leadership team to participate in the End It movement to raise awareness for the nearly 27 million men, women, and children that are trapped in slavery and to provide students with involvement opportunities by way of film forums, guest speakers, clothing drives, and service projects.

“We want to try to educate students on issues that are often neglected or forgotten about. There is still so much injustice, and we want to get students thinking about it,” said Flemming.

Trevecca Urban Farm gets a grant

Posted by admin October - 9 - 2014 - Thursday ADD COMMENTS

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.

This story first appeared in the October issue of the TrevEchoes, the student newspaper of Trevecca Nazarene University.
 

Compassion mobile experience comes to Trevecca

Posted by admin October - 3 - 2014 - Friday ADD COMMENTS

By Bailey Basham

Compassion International’s mobile experience “Change The Story” recently made a visit to the campus of Trevecca Nazarene University .

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.

Rev. Gabriel Salguero speaks at the annual social justice conference.

By Emily Mowry

On the last day of Trevecca’s annual Social Justice Conference, the speaker gave attendees a reason to go home.

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, pastor of the Lamb’s Church of the Nazarene in Manhattan, challenged conference participants to begin the work of justice by listening in their communities.

“The first job of justice workers is to listen,” Salguero told attendees. “Because to respond to a challenge that is nonexistent… or to defend where the devil is not attacking, is to become an ally of the devil.”

Salguero, as president of National Latino Evangelical Coalition, has spent hours listening to immigrants as he’s led efforts to welcome and care for the 52,000 immigrant children who have poured across U.S. borders this year.

His work with the coalition focuses on poverty, immigration, and education and landed him an invitiation over the summer to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss how the should respond to immigration issues.

His advice?

“To learn is to invite people in. To invite people in churches, have listening sessions, have dialogues, have forums,” he said.

He suggested bringing in immigrants and undocumented students at Trevecca and giving them a chance share their stories.

Just before Salguero spoke, he was presented with the J. V. Morsch Center for Social Justice Award. Each year the center gives this award to someone who has been a catalyst for social justice. Jamie Casler, director of the center, explained his reasons for choosing Salguero this year.

“He is an outstanding model of biblical social justice, someone I’d like our students to look up to and to follow in his footsteps,” Casler said.

By Brennen Finchum

Trevecca commemorated Dr. Charles Johnson, a Nazarene pastor and civil rights activist with the third annual J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice award for his advancement of social justice.

 

Pulled from brodartvibe.wordpress.com

Along with Johnson, Chet Bush, a Nazarene pastor and Trevecca alumnus was interviewed in chapel concerning Bush’s recently published book, “Called to the Fire: A Witness for God in Mississippi; the Story of Dr. Charles Johnson.”

 

Bush and Johnson answered questions as about 900 people listened. They shared about Johnson’s real experience of hesitantly answering the call to share the gospel in Mississippi during the early 1960s.

 

Johnson spoke of the fear that he felt as he was on his way to Mississippi. Yet the moment he set foot on Mississippi ground, he heard God’s audible voice say, “I am with you.”

 

Once he arrived, he was there to stay.

 

“The same thing it took to get me there way is the same thing it’ll take to get me out,” said Johnson.

 

They also answered questions concerning how the two ministers met and how Bush decided to write a book of his friends’ story.

 

Along with Johnson and Bush was the gospel choir from Johnson’s church in Meridian, Mississippi.

 

 

Johnson received multiple standing ovations, once when he was receiving the award, once as a thank you from Trevecca and the audience and once after he sang with his choir.

 

 

A recording of the service is available on Trevecca’s website under the Spiritual Life tab.

 

To read the full story of Dr. Charles Johnson, get “Called to the Fire.” It’s available on Amazon.com (from $12.69 for hardcover and $10.99 for Kindle), Barnes & Noble ($17.35) and a host of Christian bookstores.

Video Highlighting Social Justice Program Goes Live

Posted by admin February - 7 - 2013 - Thursday ADD COMMENTS

By Brennen Finchum

 

A professional video featuring President Dan Boone, some Trevecca students and a local homeless man is up on the Trevecca website.

The video was produced in the fall as part of an initiative to present Trevecca as distinct among its peers because of the Center for Social Justice.

The Center, started in 2009, offers a major in social justice with three possible concentrations including; non-profit management, environmental justice and public policy.

The Center also hosts multiple events and speakers on campus.

The video was produced by local production company Stonecastle Pictures.

 

Sex Trafficking Film Attracted Hundreds

Posted by admin February - 1 - 2013 - Friday ADD COMMENTS

By Christy Ulmet

About 625 people filled the Courts at Trevecca Community Church to watch a story on the reality of human sex trafficking in our world today.

“Trade of Innocents,” directed by Christopher Bessette, was shown on campus Monday night.

The event, hosted by the center for social justice, was designed to open the eyes of its audience to the morbid reality of human sex trafficking.

“The purpose of bringing this film to Trevecca is to highlight a major social justice issue of our day,” said Jamie Casler, director of J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice.

Human trafficking is considered number two on the World Crimes list and Casler said the medium of film was a great venue to reach multiple age groups, so that the problem could be easily understood as it was portrayed in the movie.

Opening the screening to the community helped accomplish many of the goals that the social justice department has, and to challenge its viewers to take action.

Showing the film challenged students, even non-social justice majors, to do what they could to help.

“I was trying to think of ways that being a musician could make a difference in that area. Whatever your opinion on the film was, there’s no way you can know about this and not care, and want to do something that’s more than thinking about it. We’re really good at thinking about things but not doing anything,” said Cory Williams, a sophomore music major.

Trevecca was able to host the event because of a marketing competition that three recent graduates won in the spring of 2012.

One of the students, Gregory Steward, admitted that he initially went into the competition for the scholarship money, but it quickly became about much more than that for him.

“It’s one of those things that you can’t turn your eyes away from,” he said. “It’s hard to look at because of how much of a tragedy is involved in it, but at the same time it is such an eye opening experience.”

The movie stars four main American actors: Dermot Mulroney as Alex Becker, Mira Sorvino as Claire Becker, John Billingsley as Malcolm Eddrey, and Trieu Tran as Duke.

The rest of the characters were chosen by casting agents in Bangkok, Thailand, where the film was shot.

The story is set in Siem Reap, Cambodia, where trafficking happens daily. In this buzzing city, people are often silent about the things that they see and turn their heads, rather than report what they witness.

“This is not a superhero movie,” said Bessette. “These are things that I lived through and witnessed put to life.”

Many of the lines that the Cambodian locals said in the movie were direct quotes from real life situations that Bessette witnessed firsthand. In telling the story of his journey with the movie, Bessette said that God set up a years-long journey that culminated in the production of the film.

The film was a personal project for Bessette, as he had to encounter situations when he was with an investigator trying to scoop out some details and ideas for the film.

For instance, in one scene a mother refers to her daughter saying, “When pig is small, it is worth so much. But when pig is bigger, we can still sell it.”

Bessette said he implemented many different symbols into the film, including the color red to represent redemption.

Bessette left viewers with a challenge at the end of the film, urging them to join the fight in combating human trafficking.

For more information, or to see where you can view the movie, visit www.tradeofinnocentsthemovie.com.

Trevecca to host “Trade of Innocents” on monday

Posted by admin January - 25 - 2013 - Friday ADD COMMENTS

By Brennen Finchum

 

The Center for Social Justice at Trevecca will be hosting the first Nashville-based screening of “Trade of Innocents,” a full-length drama-thriller about human trafficking.

 

The film is free and open to the entire Nashville community, with special invitations being

Photo pulled from www.kget.com

extended to local Nazarene churches.

 

“I’d like to see 500-600 people there,” said Jamie Casler, director J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice.

 

It will be held in the basketball courts of Trevecca Community Church at 6:30 PM and will be followed by a film forum with Christopher Bessette, screenwriter and director.

 

The film, starring Academy-Award winner Mira Sorvino and Dermot Mulroney, has a two-fold purpose:  to bring awareness to those who know nothing about human trafficking and to be used as a tool in promoting advocacy.

 

“Trade of Innocents is the fruit of ordinary people who found out about human trafficking and decided not to be overwhelmed, but instead to use what’s in their hands to come together and proverbially cross the street, reach out and make a difference and be like the ‘Good Samaritan,’” said Christine Caine, founder A21 Campaign.

 

Rated at PG-13, the film shows some of the traumatic realities of the sex slave industry.

 

“It is a compelling story and it does have a thread of hope through it,” said Rose Corazza, the film’s marketing director.

 

Even with the horrific crimes the film is portraying, it does not intend to leave its viewers emotionally overwhelmed, said Corazza.

 

She said some people have been inspired by it, some have appreciated the cultural perspective as it is set in Bangkok, Thailand, and others have left the film in anger and horror.

 

The film has been critically acclaimed by numerous sources.

 

“Trade of innocents does an incredible job of being a powerful, tense drama. This is an important movie and not only worth seeing but also entertaining,” said Movie Guide.

 

Not all critics were in favor of the film though.

 

“Aside from an additional 30 minutes or so of plot, “Trade of Innocents” offers no more than a middling episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” said Farran Smith Nehme of the New York Post.

 

In the end, the “Trade of Innocents” team hopes to produce a successful film that did not just entertain people, but also inspired them, maybe even to take action, said Corazza.

 

To see the movie trailer, click here.

Symphony helps fight human trafficking at Trevecca

Posted by admin December - 6 - 2012 - Thursday ADD COMMENTS

The Center for Social Justice and The Center for Worship Arts joined up to host the Song of Freedom, a benefit concert to fight human trafficking on December 1.

 

There were about 100 attendees in Boone Convocation Center to watch The Nashville Praise Symphony, an orchestra of 50 musicians who all play in churches around Nashville.

 

Photo pulled from Christian News Wire

The concert was benefitting Free for Life International, a non-profit who is working to rescue and restore girls who have been victims of human trafficking.

 

Holding back tears, Colette Bercu, CEO and founder of Free for Life, said how grateful she was to Trevecca, to the symphony, to the artists, to the attendees, and to her staff.

 

The performance was free, but attendees were encouraged to pledge or donate money and to participate in a silent auction of donated paintings from local Nashville artists.

 

The total amount of donations reached over $2,000, all of which went directly to Free for Life.

 

Since their inception in 2006, Free for Life has rescued over 300 girls in five different countries and has had 17 traffickers arrested.

Students live voluntarily in poverty for two hours

Posted by admin November - 14 - 2012 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

92 students participated in a pretend situation where students acted out what a month of life in poverty could be like.

 

“There was a little bit of stress, a lot of scaredness. There was a lot of crazy stuff going on. A lot of robberies and drug selling around us. And, um, hunger. We all felt hungry for a while,” said Aubrey Wessel, a freshman.

 

The simulation, held in the Tarter Student Activity Center (TSAC) was to give students a place to have a very mild experience of what families in poverty go through on a weekly

Brent Tallman giving instructions to the participants.

basis.

 

“I think this simulation allows us in a very brief and over simplified way to experience what living in poverty might feel like in our culture,” said Brent Tallman, director of campus spiritual formation and overseer of the simulation, in an e-mail.

 

Students were grouped as multiple families and had to act out their role in four 15-minute segments, which were each representing one month.

 

The families had to try and live their life with resources they given, like food vouchers, bus passes and money.

 

14 volunteers each day, consisting of students and faculty, ran different social agencies and business for the families to go to. Some of these were a grocery store, a pawnshop, a school, a welfare office, a food pantry and a drug dealer.

 

“I didn’t really act like a three year old,” said Zach Blackmore, whose role was a 3 year old son.

 

“He did everything for me,” said Zade Gundling, who was initially the mother of the family but gave the role to Wessel because it was so stressful.

 

At first, students were trying to live in a way that was responsible and moral, but as time went on, they became more willing to do things they wouldn’t ever believe they would do to make money.

 

“It was scary because of the place I was in and the people surrounding me and how I scare myself because of what I would succumb to to get money. I made him buy me cocaine. My three year old son,” said Wessel.

 

This wasn’t the first time Trevecca has hosted a poverty simulation.

 

The first was held in 2007 and was led by Patsy Watkins of the Williamson County Extension Service, a subsidiary of the University of Tennessee.

 

The last one was held in 2009 and had 159 students participate.

 

“When we offer it in the future we are going to try another evening slot to see if that allows more students to participate versus the Tuesday morning session,” said Tallman.