Micah Mandate

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

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.

PBS Documentary showcases hidden part of Nashville

Posted by admin February - 6 - 2015 - Friday ADD COMMENTS

By Bailey Basham

A PBS documentary aired last week on sex trafficking which included a lengthy report on trafficking in Trevecca’s neighborhood.
As part of a three-part PBS documentary series, New York Times op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof explored the issue of sex trafficking in the U.S. which brought him to Murfreesboro Road.
The series, A Path Appears: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, focuses on investigating the struggles women face in the United States and abroad in regards to sex trafficking and profiles the individuals working with the victims to create effective solutions.
“We wanted to take a closer look at the efforts being made for the victims to escape and rebuild their lives,” said Kristof in A Path Appears while reporting on Murfreesboro Road.
The first episode of the three-part series aired on Jan. 26 and uncovered one of the harshest forms of gender-based oppression and human rights violations currently being faced in the U.S.
Shana Goodwin, a survivor of the Nashville sex trafficking ring who tells her story on the documentary, remembers first being sold to a pimp by her mother when she was just 12 years old.
“My grandfather was my trafficker when I was a little bitty girl. You can look at trafficking in any sense that you want to, but really it’s a manipulator” said Goodwin in the documentary.
Like many others, Goodwin was a victim of sexual abuse when she was very young.
“The women who come into the program share a common story, and the story goes something like their first rape between the ages of 7-11, and on average, they hit the streets between 14 and 16 years old,” said Becca Stevens in the documentary, founder of Magdalene and Thistle Farms in Nashville. “All of these women carry the issues of sexual violence on their backs. The roots are in trafficking, and the roots of trafficking are in vulnerability and childhood trauma. It’s all connected.”
One woman Kristof interviewed shared that she didn’t realize what was being done to her was wrong.
“It happened so much that it seemed natural, like it was supposed to happen. When your mom is teaching you stuff, you just assume that it’s right,” said Sheila McClain in A Path Appears.
Actress, activist, and victim of sexual abuse Ashley Judd investigated alongside Kristof for much of his time with Goodwin on Murfreesboro Road.
“I think shedding the shame of child abuse is the fulcrum to speak openly and confidently, giving the toxic shame back to the perpetrator; getting it externalized and putting it back where it belongs,” said Judd in the doucmentary.
One major issue in the alleviation of the problem is that many people aren’t aware of how seriously it is plaguing their own communities.
“It’s interesting to me that trafficking is an issue that is predominantly under the covers. Much of the general public doesn’t know much about it at all. Out of sight, out of mind,” said Ron Maurer, professor of social work and organizer of last semester’s sex trafficking seminar, Current Issues in Human Traffickng: Policy and Treatment.
Goodwin drove Kristof and Judd around Murfreesboro Road, pointing out the hotels she frequented and stopping a couple of times to talk to pimps waiting for the women to return with their money or to check on the women that were working.
“When I was out here [Murfreesboro Road], I had every kind of client: pillars of the community, everyone from A-Z. I would stay down around the hotels because you can get the men who are coming in from out of town,” said Goodwin in the documentary. “And then there’s the famous Drake Motel. Home of the stars?” She laughs. “Home of the drug dealers and prostitutes.”
Raising awareness, educating the public on what sex trafficking is and how the women become involved, and helping make connections to local support and treatment organizations is crucial, said Maurer.
“One part of the issue is that there are a number of people that don’t see the women as innocent victims the way they see the children [that are being trafficked] as being innocent victims,” said Maurer. “People think ‘Well they’re adults, they can make their own choices and decisions, they could just get out of that lifestyle.’ They the victims are the ones responsible for being trafficked.”
As a part of the series, Kristof not only worked to uncover the injustices at play in regards to sex trafficking in Nashville, but also to shine a light on resources and organizations for women who find themselves to be victims of trafficking.
Founded in 1997 by Becca Stevens, an Episcopal priest on the campus of Vanderbilt University, Magdalene is a two year residential community for women who have survived trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. This local organization provides housing, food, health care, counseling, and educational and job opportunities free of charge for women who were victims to sex trafficking.
Thistle Farms is a bath and body product company that is fully operated by graduates of the Magdalene program. While working at Thistle Farms, graduates learn skills in manufacturing, marketing and sales, and administration that they can continue using in the workforce.
Goodwin and McClain are now graduates of the Magdalene program and are working for the Magdalene and Thistle Farms team.
“I’m just grateful. Every night when I lie down in my bed, I think of those nights of sleeping under a bridge. I never want to forget. My next thought is that there’s still a girl under there now. I feel it in my gut – the desire to help the woman who is still out there,” said Goodwin on the Thistle Farms blog.
Episode 1Episode 2, and Episode 3 are available on the PBS website until February 17th.

Current Issues in Human Trafficking: Policies and Treatment

Posted by admin December - 2 - 2014 - Tuesday ADD COMMENTS

By Bailey Basham

On Friday, Nov. 14th, Trevecca students, local professionals, and members of the Nashville and Middle Tennessee communities gathered in the Boone Convocation Center at Trevecca Nazarene University for a conference on human trafficking.

“Current Issues in Human Trafficking: Policies and Treatment” was designed to bring local agencies together to educate students, practitioners and members of the public on human sex and labor trafficking as a local issue rather than something that only happens in faraway places.

“This is a real issue, not some fictitious thing in a book. This is a real problem, and it’s happening to real people, right here in our community,” said Ron Maurer, director of the social work department.

Trevecca partnered with  End Slavery Tennessee to raise awareness on the issue and what resources exist in Nashville to help.

“Being in Nashville gives Trevecca access to different agencies and government bodies to connect and work with. We hope to work with those agencies to integrate more into the community and let the Nashville area see that Trevecca really cares,” said Maurer.

The conference was divided into two sections: the first covered laws and policies, and the second dealt with therapy practices and treatment for victims.

Educating social workers and local agencies on the issue and how to handle current cases is crucial in the relief of the problem.

“The majority of the time, it’s the social service workers that are identifying these cases of sex trafficking,” said Peabody College research analyst Jill Robinson.

In 2011, 85 counties in Tennessee reported at least one case of human trafficking.  In Davidson County more than 100 cases of minor trafficking were reported in the same year.

Founded in 2011 by Assistant District Attorney Antoinette Welch, The Hannah Project is a program that provides resources and education opportunities for women who have been victims of human trafficking. With about 10 opportunities per year for these women to participate in the program and almost 800 women in the past three years, Welch said that Nashville is serving as a model for the rest of Tennessee.

“It’s really easy to convince yourself that it doesn’t happen in Nashville, but it does. This is a reality,” said Welch.

Similar to the Hannah Project in regards to an educational opportunity for those involved in human trafficking, Nashville’s John School is a program that focuses on sharing the stories of the victims and how they are affected by their experiences in the trafficking circuit with the men who were arrested for solicitation.

“The goal is to shock them with the facts. After that, we hope that they will be informed enough to teach their sons and educate their brothers. They need to know that this is not okay,” said Welch.

In the courtroom, the fight against human trafficking looks a little bit different.

While the numbers of victims and cases of trafficking in Nashville are very large, seldom is there a professional who is willing to take on the prosecution of these crimes and work toward a conviction.

Immigration attorney Dawn Gerhard spoke at the conference about how, oftentimes, those coming to the states from different countries can be victims of human trafficking without even realizing it.

“There is no such thing as domestic violence in some cultures because it is the job of the man to make sure the woman is obedient; some don’t know what’s being done to them is wrong,” said Gerhard. “It’s the job of people like me to be aware of the resources and services to help them.”

Participants said they learned a lot.

“The conference was really eye opening on what human trafficking currently looks like and how we are beginning to stop it by intervening with victims, offenders, and potential offenders as well as educating the community on the issue,” said junior social work major Annah Hite.

Creation Care

Posted by admin November - 14 - 2014 - Friday ADD COMMENTS

click here for video on creation care

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.

Current Issues in Human Trafficking: Policies and Treatment

Posted by admin November - 14 - 2014 - Friday ADD COMMENTS

By Bailey Basham

Trevecca Nazarene University is partnering with End Slavery Tennessee to host a training workshop on human trafficking in Nashville.

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.

Freshman missionary makes home at Trevecca

Posted by admin November - 12 - 2014 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

by Sydney Wiseman

Five private international schools, four countries, and three different languages.

Lexi Sunberg, freshman social justice major, is adapting to life at Trevecca after spending all her growing up years on the mission field.

Sunberg was born in Kansas City and then was moved to Russia when she was just five-weeks-old. Her parents are missionaries.

“I know a lot of people who don’t enjoy it. It’s normal life to me. I love it,” said Sunberg on the life of a missionary kid, “I really like to travel, meeting people, and hearing stories. There are some pretty awesome people out there.”

Sunberg and her family lived in Russia for two years and then moved to Bulgaria where they stayed for 13 years, and Hungary for three years. Sunberg is in the United States now attending Trevecca but her father and mother along with her three younger sisters still reside in Hungary. They have been in the ministry for 20 years.

Even though Sunberg is living in the U.S. for now, she doesn’t call it home.

“Bulgaria is my hometown. I love America and Hungary but Bulgaria is my country,” Sunberg said.

While in Bulgaria, Sunberg and her family did a lot of compassionate ministries. Bulgaria has a high gypsy population. They would go to villages and host vacation bible school. Sunberg was in charge of the crafts at VBS and they were expecting around 100 kids… 300 showed up instead.

Sunberg is a social justice major in hopes for working oversees and becoming a teacher when she graduates college. Sunberg feels that whatever she does will always be missions because she grew up in the world of missions.

“I don’t know if God is calling me to missions as a career but I will always be a missionary,” Sunberg said.

Rebecca Merrick, international student advisor, said that Sunberg is really adapting well to the life at Trevecca. Even though Trevecca establishes a friendly, Christian, environment, there are some challenges for international students.

“One of the challenges is finding friends. It is easy to find friendly classmates but it isn’t the same as finding friends,” Merrick said.

Emily Mowry, freshman and friend to Sunberg, said that they have a lot in common and enjoy one another’s company.

“We can talk about a lot of stuff and we like a lot of the same stuff. It’s cool,” said Mowry.

Mowry admires Sunberg’s ability to go with the flow and how calm she appears to be.

“You can tell culture shock well but Lexi is really good at going with the flow,” said Mowry.

Sunberg has made friendships even through the difficultness of coming to college on her own. Mowry said that when Sunberg and her family came to Trevecca to move in, Sunberg had one suitcase. The rest they had to buy.

Sunberg said that there is one piece of advice that she wants people to know from a missionary kid standpoint:

“If you go overseas, don’t try to change people. Love people. It goes a lot farther.”


Trevecca urban farm hosts summer camp

Posted by admin November - 12 - 2014 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

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.


Social Justice Club educating students at Trevecca

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

By Bailey Basham

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.