Micah Mandate

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

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.

Trevecca’s Urban Farm Barn Dance a success

Posted by admin April - 28 - 2015 - Tuesday ADD COMMENTS

By Griffin Dunn

More than 100 people attended the first annual Trevecca Urban Farm Barn Dance this weekend.

The dance was the first fundraiser held in the new barn on campus. The $5 entry fee was used to raise funds for future farm projects, said Jason Adkins, farm manager.

This video was originally posted on the website for the TrevEchoes, the student-run newspaper of Trevecca Nazarene University.

Alumni practices his faith at Trevecca Urban Farm

Posted by admin April - 28 - 2015 - Tuesday ADD COMMENTS
Carlson Grae holding Rosa, one of Trevecca’s baby goats.

Carlson Grae holding Rosa, one of Trevecca’s baby goats.

By Montgomery Sparrow

Carlson Grae is finding the Trevecca Urban Farm to be a great place to practice his faith while he’s earning his master’s degree in religion.

Grae, the part-time farm hand, joined the staff last fall.

He provides assistance to Jason Adkins, Trevecca’s environmental projects coordinator, with general activity on Trevecca’s Urban Farm and who also is a creative force to create programs to enlist more volunteers.

“I don’t know how I would run the farm without him. He is a creative thinker, a heavy lifter, and a hard worker.” Adkins said. “To be a farmer, you have to be a total person, and Carlson is one of those total people that you hope to come along.” Read the rest of this entry »

Trevecca Urban Farm sells

Posted by admin April - 28 - 2015 - Tuesday ADD COMMENTS

By Montgomery Sparrow

Local hand-made farm products are becoming increasingly available from the Trevecca Urban Farm.

The farm, mostly used as a lab for teaching environmental justice and farming practices, is making and selling more products thanks to a new part-time farmhand. Read the rest of this entry »

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.

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.