By Christy Ulmet
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 Unmasked, Harvest 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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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 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.”