Micah Mandate

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

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.

Social Justice Club Looking for Diversity

Posted by admin October - 15 - 2012 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

A club at Trevecca that will spend the year promoting water conservation, hosting a fair trade store and planning projects to become more involved in the local communities is looking for students from several majors and areas of interest to join them.

 

The Social Justice Club, founded in 2010, is hoping future nurses, teachers and business people will get involved this year.

 

“If the club is only made up of social justice majors, it’s no different than having classes. The club thrives off of other majors,” said Isaiah Fish, club president.

 

While social justice majors are encouraged by faculty to be involved, most people don’t realize that every major and occupation can be used to bring justice, said Fish.

 

Some examples are business being used in micro-financing to help pull families into a self-sustaining life, said Jamie Casler, director of the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice.

 

Another example would be using science for things like clean water and urban farming.

 

Students who are studying other disciplines bring new perspectives to the work of the club and the work of the club can help those students see how whatever they’re interested in can be used for justice.

 

Right now there are six officers in the club and around 25 members.

 

The first meeting will be held on October 30, said Fish.

 

To get involved, contact Isaiah Fish at imfish@mail.trevecca.edu or check out the Facebook Page.

Professional Video to Highlight Social Justice Center

Posted by admin September - 20 - 2012 - Thursday ADD COMMENTS

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.