Micah Mandate

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

Refugees find hope at urban farm camps

Posted by admin April - 30 - 2016 - Saturday ADD COMMENTS

by Rebekah Warren

For refugee children, fleeing from war and destruction, Trevecca’s urban farm camp can bring the comfort of home.
“Many of the refugees come from agricultural backgrounds,” said Karen Shaw, coordinator for the urban farm. “They come with skills they can use to make ends meet, and that’s the connection we want to make.”
During May and June, high school and middle school students living in the Nashville area will have the opportunity to learn how to care for farm animals, build a garden and learn about healthy cooking and eating.

The goal is that the kids attending the camps will develop a basic understanding of the importance of environmental justice for their local communities as well as the world.
“We want to educate and equip the broader global community,” said Jamie Casler, director of the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice.
This involves understanding the way the health of the environment is directly correlated to the health of entire populations and the potential of humans to alter the course of environmental destruction and injustice.
“We are hoping children will make the connection between the food they grow and equity for people,” said Jason Adkins, environmental projects coordinator.
In addition to the opportunity to use the skills they already have, refugee kids find the program to be healing, helping them recover from the trauma of leaving war-torn regions.
“They have all experienced displacement,” said Adkins.” We are convinced that the emotional and mental health of children is improved by being in the created world…it can be therapeutic.”

10433145_523809674411910_8622517814320953874_n Shaw recalled the students from last summer who brought growing practices with them from their home countries, many of which were in the Middle East and Africa. They were often able to share the knowledge they had grown up practicing.
“Jason always asks, ‘how do you do this where you’re from?’ ” said Shaw. “We want refugees, especially those that come from agricultural backgrounds because we can learn from them.”
To learn more about the farm camps and register online, visit trevecca.edu/urbanfarm

Barnaroo at the farm

Posted by admin April - 20 - 2016 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Square Dancing is coming to Trevecca this Saturday. The Urban Farm is hosting Barnaroo, an event for the local community to come together and spend time at the farm.
“It’s a celebration of urban farm life, to experience the farm and have a lot of fun,” said Jason Adkins, environmental projects coordinator.
The event will feature square dancing lessons with a professional caller who announces and leads the dances.


Two of the urban farm’s goats

For some students, the event will be an opportunity to step out of their comfort zones. Tabitha Sookdeo, a Junior, is excited to try out something new.
“ I have never line danced before primarily because I’m from South America,” said Sookdeo. “I’m excited for the caller and the band.”
In addition to dancing, the event will feature a petting zoo. Attendees will have the opportunity to interact with the farm’s goats and baby chicks. There will be fire pits and smores, and a variety of food and drinks.
“We did this last year and a ton of people came,” said Amber Donat, a student worker at the farm. “This year, we’re hoping to make it even more exciting so it will be a memorable experience for everyone who comes.”

barn 3

A shot from last years barn dance

Barnaroo will take place from 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. and will be held at the barn on campus. General admission is $10.  Students pay $5 and kids under 12 are free.

Spring Break Civil Rights/ Southern Music Tour

Posted by admin April - 6 - 2016 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

On a Friday afternoon in Alabama, Julie Gant stood where Martin Luther King Jr. had heard the voice of God.
“ I was impacted by just being where he was,” said Gant. “We stood where he stood and talked where he talked to people. We were in his home, everywhere that revolved around him and his legacy.”

During spring break, Matt Spraker, associate dean of students for community life, and Jamie Casler, director of the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice travelled with 12 students through Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, experiencing the civil rights and musical history of the south.
Spraker developed the idea for the trip after an important member of the civil rights movement came to Trevecca. Read the rest of this entry »

Cosmos Mutowa speaks on injustice in Africa

Posted by admin February - 18 - 2016 - Thursday ADD COMMENTS

More than 12 million people have benefitted from the work of Nazarene Compassionate Ministries (NCM) in Africa, the NCM coordinator in Africa told attendees of an on-campus social justice conference.

Rev. Cosmos Mutowa, the coordinator for NCM in Africa and a Global Missionary with the Church of the Nazarene, spoke at Trevecca’s Justice and Compassion Conference on current needs and the response of the Nazarene church.

Mutowa discussed the responsibility of Christians to be Christ-like in their empathy and question the dichotomy of self-serving sanctification.

“I loved his idea of holiness,” said Clare Cole, a social justice major. “Holiness without compassion is not holiness that God loves.”

Mutowa provided an overview of NCM’s specific approach to various issues including AIDS prevention and care, disaster relief, and child development.

“Give a man a fish you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” said Mutowa, quoting the well known adage. “We strive for self-sustainability.”

Mutowa hopes to build bridges between people, between people and the environment and between people and God, creating a strong support system that leads to healthy independence.

The undercurrent throughout the talk was one of encouragement. Primarily, encouragement for those who care about the plights of injustice and wonder how the Church of the Nazarene is contributing to crises around the world in a Godly and life-giving way.

“The Church of The Nazarene has been committed to raising up leaders throughout the world but not being colonialist about it,” said Dr. Tim Gaines, assistant professor of Religion. “There is an African leading African ministries and that often does not happen.”

Advancing the global nature of the church is no small feat, and despite the ever-present challenges of injustice, Mutowa’s ministry is founded on a central idea.

“We want to love and value people,” said Mutowa. “ We want to love and value them the way God loves and values them.”

Compassion and Justice kicks off today

Posted by admin February - 17 - 2016 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

God’s role in the politically charged topic of social justice was the focus of the opening session of Trevecca’s Compassion and Justice Conference.

The conference, hosted by the J.V. Center for Social Justice, includes several speakers on issues ranging from caring for the environment to sex trafficking. The goal is to education and equip local justice workers.

Tim Green, university chaplain, presented the first session, exhorting the audience to view social justice as a biblical mandate.

“The whole of Christian scripture boldly insists that justice roll like a river, righteousness like an ever flowing stream,” said Green.

He emphasized the character of God, who he perceives as being founded on deliverance and determined to set the world free.

“God does not stop at deliverance from slavery,” said Green. “But is determined to bring [people] into vitality.”

He discussed the context in which the scripture was written and helped to explain the differences between modern day America, and ancient Israel.

“He specified that an orphan can have still have parents and a widow can still be married,” said Amber Donat, an Environmental justice major.

Green concluded his message by addressing the potential of the audience.

“He defined power as the capacity to act and then gave a definition of all the people who are the closest to God’s heart,” said Ericka Furnish, a Social Justice minor. “We do not only have the capacity to act but [the capacity] to empower [others] to have a voice, to give a voice to the voiceless. “

The Compassion and Justice Conference will continue through Wednesday and into Thursday morning.


Compassion and Justice Conference Schedule

Wednesday, February 17th 

8:30a.m. Doors Open

9 a.m. General Session with Tom Nees

10 a.m. General Session with Bob Broadbooks

11:30a.m. Lunch Break

1 p.m. & 2 p.m. workshops

3 p.m. General Session with Cosmon Mutowa


Thursday, February 18th 

8:30a.m. Doors Open

9 a.m. General Session with Larry Bollinger

10 a.m. General Session with Gary Morsch




Nazarene General Superintendent speaks in chapel

Posted by admin November - 2 - 2015 - Monday ADD COMMENTS
Dr. Gustavo Crocker visited campus on Thursday, October 29.

Dr. Gustavo Crocker visited campus on Thursday, October 29.

By Christy Ulmet

Students who want to make a change in the world must have a sense of urgency and be discontented with the status quo, said Gustavo Crocker, General Superintendent for the Church of the Nazarene.
“We have to be willing to do things that are currently unacceptable to the world, but are acceptable to Jesus,” Crocker said. “We need to be able to ask ourselves, ‘What is not right?’ At times we will have to speak for the voiceless—that’s not popular. At times we will have to challenge the status quo—that’s not popular, but Jesus will honor that.”

Read the rest of this entry »

La Fille Mal Gardee Large 121

By Bailey Basham

Nearly 100 ballerinas will be on Trevecca’s campus this weekend.

The J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice will host “The Art of Justice: Using Creativity to Change the World,” a weekend-long celebration to highlight youth organizations in Nashville who use art to do social justice in youth communities.

The keynote event will be the Rejoice School of Ballet spring recital.

Among the other youth art organizations are Courage UnmaskedHarvest Hands Humphrey Street Coffee Company, local artists and a local community theatre company. These organizations will have booths set up to give out information about their organizations.

“I see many individuals who use different forms of the arts, whether it’s therapeutic writing, painting, or ballet. People use creativity to address social issues,” said Iris Gordon, Nashville business management consultant and adjunct professor in the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice. “I don’t think many people think about the power of creativity, so the goal of the event is to put that on display, heighten the awareness of what is being accomplished, and spark new ideas and interests in how people can utilize their creativity to also address or manage social issues.”

Rejoice School of Ballet is a non-profit dance school in East Nashville. The school, celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, serves nearly 100 dancers a year from diverse backgrounds. All students pay incomer-based fees for training, dance wear, and costumes.La Fille Mal Gardee Large 134

The goal of Rejoice is to serve dancers from diverse backgrounds by hiring professional faculty to teach students who otherwise wouldn’t have access to quality ballet training, said Patricia Cross, executive director of Rejoice.

Rejoice is a client of The Neighborhood Empowerment Program, which is an initiative of the Center for Social Justice that seeks to equip and empower local nonprofits to maximize their work in serving our neighbors, said Jamie Casler, director of the J.V. Morsch Center of Social Justice.

Gordon has been working with Rejoice for about a year through the NEP. She consults with the board of directors, sets up committees and counsels Cross on business methods and efficiency.

“I have seen real impact on how businesses can address social injustices that exist in our world and have a positive effect just in restoring people to wholeness- both in individuals and the community and at large,” said Gordon.

She has energized the board members to do great work to support and promote Rejoice, said Cross.

“Trevecca sends Iris out in the community to walk alongside nonprofits who otherwise couldn’t afford that sort of help, and to have someone with her expertise and knowledge is an amazing gift,” said Cross. “Iris has brought in other local ministries that are using art to promote social justice, so we feel the event is going to be a great way to open people’s eyes to the importance of the arts and promoting social justice in the community.”

The event is open to all Trevecca students, faculty and staff, and neighboring community members.

“It would really serve as a positive exposure on how different arts are being used to empower and address social injustice and could broaden a student’s perspective on what they might be able to do to use their creativity to help address social issues as well,” said Gordon.

“The Art of Justice” will be on May 2 at 6:30 p.m. and on May 3 at 3 p.m. in Boone Business Building. Tickets are $8 and may be purchased here.

Students work to aid in global water crisis

Posted by admin April - 16 - 2015 - Thursday ADD COMMENTS

By Christy Ulmet

Last fall, five Trevecca students were given the task of creating a clean water project idea. The team, led by Stephens Hiland, senior communication studies major, prepared a model for a fundraiser, which will support Nazarene Compassionate Ministries’ Global Clean Water Fund.

Every Nazarene university and college was able to submit an entry for the project, but Trevecca’s group ended up winning, which gave them the funding needed for the school’s idea, which they titled “Drop by Drop.” Read the rest of this entry »

Trevecca’s Urban Farm needs volunteers

Posted by admin March - 19 - 2015 - Thursday ADD COMMENTS

By Montgomery P. Sparrow

Trevecca students, regardless of major, can volunteer on the Urban Farm.
The Trevecca Urban Farm, which includes gardens, animals, fruit trees and aquaponics, is in need of a few good volunteers. This month the farm is starting a new program called Meet and Greet. Every Wednesday from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. students can feed goats and chickens and pigs by hand and help socialize the animals.


There are also other volunteer opportunities and jobs available to interested students. Read the rest of this entry »

Trevecca president book on sexuality due out this month

Posted by admin March - 19 - 2015 - Thursday ADD COMMENTS

By Bailey Basham

Trevecca President Dan Boone wants the church to not be afraid to talk to about human sexuality, and his latest book is an effort to help the conversation.

Human Sexuality: A Primer for Christians, will hit the stands next month.

“I do not believe the current discussion about human sexuality will result in a unified church. I also think the categories of liberal and conservative are not capable of defining where the church might come to rest,” said Boone in the preface of his book. “For that reason, I have tried to write a brief theology of human sexuality in the language of the pew… I believe the discussion of human sexuality needs a fresh start. If we are to be the bearers of good news to a broken world, we must recover a biblical theology of the human body and of our human sexuality.”
In the book, Boone references a model devised by Mark Yarhouse, an author and professor of psychology at Regent University in Virginia.
“Mark Yarhouse uses a model that allows us to treat sexual minorities [identities other than heterosexual and homosexual] as individuals with personal stories,” said Boone in chapter 7 of his book. “His approach seeks to hear the journey of a person based on milestone events along the way.”
Boone said he felt called to write on this subject because of the fact that so many people in the church struggle with gender identity and sexuality issues.
He hopes an initiation of the conversation will benefit members of the Church of the Nazarene.
“I think the church is afraid of the topic, and so until some respected leaders in the church begin to demonstrate that we have nothing to be afraid of in entering this topic, I think a lot of churches just won’t,” said Boone. “What will happen is that people will disagree, and in the process of people disagreeing sometimes, we think we have to stop the conversation. It’s okay that not everybody agrees with one another. Peter and Paul didn’t even agree with one another in scripture, so it’s not like disagreement is the most horrible thing in the world.”
In addition to writing his book, Boone also recently spoke at Mission 2015, a Nazarene youth conference in Kansas City, where he and other pastors addressed the issue of homosexuality in the church.
Boone’s book includes two chapters on homosexuality and also touches on pornography, celibacy, marriage, raising children, the church’s public conversation on marriage rights, and on dating culture in today’s society.
The book is currently undergoing the final stages of the editing process and is slated to be released within the next month.  Students and faculty interested in reading the book will be able to find it both in the campus bookstore and in Waggoner Library.
This post first appeared on TrevEchoes Online.