by Olivia Kelley
Tomorrow, Trevecca faculty and students will be heading to Napier Community Center to meet with leaders and community members from Napier and Chestnut Hill in what is being called the Trevecca Community Initiative.
The idea for the Initiative came from senior social work major Jessica Kyle after she chose to move off campus to live in the Napier community.
“I originally got the idea in a class that talks a lot about community development and awareness and Trevecca’s own community awareness,” she said. “I was tired of sitting in class and talking about these things. I wanted to get out and talk with some people about it.”
The first part of the day will be a meeting between the leadership teams from Trevecca, Napier, and Chestnut Hill to talk about what needs the community has and what Trevecca can offer, according to Kyle.
Brodrick Thomas, coordinator of student engagement and diversity, said this is what makes this meeting stand out from any that Trevecca has hosted in the past.
“The foundation of where [Jessica] started with this was ‘let’s just listen,’” he said. “She didn’t try to do anything else. She didn’t try to build something so we could say, ‘Trevecca gave this to you.’ She didn’t try to send us to do community service. I think we want to go and have this event to build a relationship. I can not think of a time that Trevecca has attempted to do this — to go to their place and sit down and just listen.”
Senior social justice major Tabitha Sookdeo said she agrees that this is the most important aspect of what they are attempting to accomplish. She compared it to doing missions work without really knowing what the people need. She said they can build a well for someone in a third-world country, but if the people never use it, because they didn’t really need it, then nothing has really been accomplished.
“It’s really toxic for us to go into communities and for us to assert ourselves and say ‘this is what you need.’ We want to set the precedent for us to listen,” said Sookdeo.
The second half of the day will be open to students and to the community. There will be a panel of people who are living and working in the Napier and Chestnut Hill communities that will answer questions and discuss what ways students can help and get involved.
Sookdeo said she thinks it’s important for students to not be scared to get involved in helping and getting to know members of the community.
“I think sometimes we just need to get out of our comfort zones,” she said. “That’s all that it takes and we have this really great opportunity to take the bus for free with our ID cards. There’s no reason to not try using the bus and I think that would be a really great first step to trying something new and interact with people who are sitting next to you. I think we have more similarities with people than differences.”
Thomas said this sense of leadership and service within the community is not new to Trevecca and has been an important part of the mission since the University first opened.
“The whole foundation of Trevecca was established off of J.L. McClurkan helping prostitutes and civil war veterans and that’s the spirit that's kept this University alive for so long,” said Thomas. “I think the mission is the same [today] but our focus shifts.”
Thomas also said he hopes that the amount of faculty attending will set an example for students to “practice what they want to eventually preach.”
“Leadership and service is the cornerstone from which we preach everything. It’s good that a whole bunch of faculty are going, because we need to reflect that leadership that we’re always talking about,” he said.
Kyle said her hope is that this will strengthen the bond between Trevecca and the surrounding community by opening the door to conversation.
“My biggest hope for this meeting is to get information out — to have the leadership of Trevecca and the leadership of the community hear more about each others’ heart and break down misconceptions that might be there,” she said. “A true partnership is both sides and I would love for it to be such a vital partnership that if anyone in the community needs anything then they can come to Trevecca and if Trevecca ever needs anything then they know they can go to the community.”
Trevecca Leadership Team:
Dr. Dan Boone, president of Trevecca University
Shawna Gaines, university chaplain
Brodrick Thomas, coordinator of student engagement and diversity
Elizabeth Nunley, assistant professor of social work
Dr. Sarah Bollinger, assistant professor of social work and program director
Don Kintner, psychology professor, involved in community
Don Kintner, has been involved in community for years
Odessa Kelly, head of Napier community center, member of community
Dr. Lawless, Principle at Napier Elementary
Julie Dimick, teacher at Napier, lives in community
J’ael Fuentes, works at Harvest Hands, lives in Chestnut Hill
Mitch Singer, works at Harvest Hands, lives in Napier
Keita Braden, member of Napier community
by Mary Eaton
Even while in college, students can help in the fight against human trafficking and slavery.
Michelle Conn, senior director of strategic partnership of International Justice Mission (IJM), on Thursday encouraged Trevecca students to be aware of slavery, sign petitions, and pray for those in need of rescue.
IJM is a global organization that protects the poor from violence, and is the leading nonprofit addressing the issue of human trafficking on a global level.
IJM works with more than 21 million people in 17 communities.
Conn spoke in chapel as part of Social Justice Week.
In addition to rescuing captives, IJM also focuses on the restoration of survivors.
Restoration for survivors is not limited to assisting in recovery, but includes the restraint of the abuser, Conn said.
Most of the countries where slavery is prominent have laws set in place against these crimes.
“We go into these countries and say, ‘You say these things are wrong, yet they are happening,’” said Conn.
After four years of IJM partnership with local law enforcement in Cebu, Philippines, the availability of minors for sex decreased by 79 percent, says the U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report of 2012.
Jamie Casler, director of the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice, chose to include IJM in this week’s chapel schedule because, although IJM is a global organization, it is locally connected.
“Conn runs the Nashville office for IJM. Well, she is the office,” said Casler. “She was also the fifth employee to the organization, which now has over 600 employees.”
Casler adds to Conn’s list of student involvement and suggests students follow IJM on their social media accounts, which IJM uses to spread the word about captives being rescued.
“Seeing these stories on your social media feeds makes the issues real,” said Casler.
Casler also suggests Trevecca students who are interested in being more conscious shoppers consider the information available on slaveryfootprint.org that can answer the question, “How many slaves work for you?”.
by Mary Eaton
A former child soldier on Tuesday told Trevecca students how God changed his life.
Reverend Luis Quinonez, former child soldier and current Hispanic ministries director of Kansas District Church of the Nazarene, spoke in chapel this morning as a part of social justice awareness week.
The service followed a community conversation Monday night including both Quinonez and Rondy Smith, Trevecca alumni and founder of Rest Stop Ministry - the first human trafficking safe house in Nashville, TN.
Quinonez was born in Escuintla, Guatemala and turned child soldier during the rebellion against the government of Guatemala.
He can recall his time as a child soldier and describes it as a time of confusion.
As a child soldier, he delivered guns to other soldiers in the rebellion.
"I didn't know what I was doing," said Quinonez. "We were told not to look inside what we were carrying. I had no idea."
Quinonez was a member of the Guatemalan National Soccer team during his time in the rebellion.
At the age of 18, when he was fully convinced of the rebellion and claimed to be a part of the Red Army, his mother had a conversation with him about Jesus.
"She told me, Jesus Christ changed my life Luis," said Quinonez. "...and when I am gone, and you die, I want to see you in heaven."
This conversation changed his life and he believes that by surviving his time with the rebel soldiers, God has a plan for him.
Quinonez was called into full-time ministry and has since been a part of planting many churches in Guatemala.
“I don’t have time to talk to you about all of the churches we’ve planted in Guatemala, but I do want you to know that without Jesus we have nothing.”
Jamie Casler, director of the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice, chose the theme and speakers for social justice awareness week.
"Child slavery is an issue that if we don't see it happening on our social media feeds, we don't think it's happening anywhere," said Casler.
Casler hopes that through social justice awareness week, students become more aware of social justice issues and how God can use college students to make a difference.
by Olivia Kelley
Speakers on human trafficking and child soldiers are coming to Trevecca this week as a part of the annual social justice awareness week. The week kicks off with a film forum and panel discussion about child soldiers.
Social Justice awareness week has existed throughout the history of the JV Morsch Center for Social Justice. The purpose, according to the director of the Center, Jamie Casler, is to bring a broad awareness of social justice issues to the student body.
“Child soldiers and human trafficking are invisible social justices,” said Casler. “We don’t see it on the news or in the streets like we used to. A lot of it happens behind closed doors and through the internet.”
Events will be taking place on campus Monday through Thursday of this week. Speakers from International Justice Mission, Rest Stop Ministries, and End Slavery will be sharing with students about human trafficking locally in Nashville and globally. Most events will take place during chapel times, with the exception of an event on Wednesday night.
Anna Turpin, president of the social justice club, is hosting the Wednesday night event called “Slavery Today: Human trafficking and what you can do about it.” She thinks it will be a good way for students to learn about how they can contribute to the cause.
“A lot of times when you hear awful things about human rights, you think you can’t do anything about it,” she said. “So I think this will be really helpful.”
Casler said this is an important aspect of what the center for social justice is trying to communicate.
“We need the body of Christ to come together to solve these complex issues,” he said. “How can [students] use their major God-given talents to address the injustices in our world?”
Turpin hopes these events will not only bring awareness to students about social injustices, but will make them care about them.
“Human trafficking is an epidemic. We should sympathize with the plight of other people,” she said. “It’s important to be aware of the human rights violations happening around you and its important that you care.”
Social Justice Awareness Week Events:
When: March 27, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Where: Boone Convocation Center
What: Film Forum and Panel on Child Soldiers and Child Slavery. Two credit chapel. Guest Panel speakers: Luis Quinonez, former child soldier and Rondy Smith, founder of Rest Stop Ministry
Child Soldiers Chapel
When: March 28, 9:30 a.m.
Where: Boone Convocation Center
What: Luis Quinonez will be sharing about his experience as a child soldier.
Slavery Today: Human Trafficking and what you can do about it
When: March 29, 6-7 p.m.
Where: McClurkan 200
What: A guest speaker from End Slavery in TN will share about how students can participate in being part of the solution. Pizza and drinks will be provided.
Chapel: Michelle Conn with International Justice Mission
When: March 30, 9:30 a.m.
Where: Boone Convocation Center
What: Michelle Conn will share in chapel about the girls who have been rescued from the sex trade and their journey toward healing and restoration.
by Olivia Kelley
Social justice advocate Shane Claiborne was presented with the J.V. Morsch Social Justice award in chapel on Tuesday morning, an award that has only been given out three times before.
Claiborne spoke in chapel about his intentional community, The Simple Way as well as his time spent working with Mother Teresa in Calcutta.
“He immediately got my attention by saying he worked with Mother Teresa,” said sophomore Greg Fritjofson. “I was like, ‘this guy is so real, but he might also be Batman.’”
Claiborne founded The Simple Way in 1998 after returning from his 10-week mission with Mother Teresa. The community resides in the poorest part of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is made up of people who are living in poverty or are homeless. The community provides food, shelter, emergency services, a community garden and neighborhood celebrations throughout the year.
According to The Simple Way website, “We also believe in challenging the systems and structures that hold people down, squash people’s hope and destroy people’s dignity… we care about things like racial justice, mass incarceration, gun violence (and all violence!), inequality between the rich and poor, and all such things.”
Jamie Calser, director of the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice, said it was exciting to have someone as accomplished as Claiborne come to campus.
“He’s challenging us to rethink our responses to these social issues,” he said. “What parts of the Bible are we drawing from and why do we think that way?”
Claiborne and his community are known for challenging the “bad laws,” as he would put it. He said he has even been to jail several times for fighting laws he believed specifically targeted the homeless population.
“Christians — I don’t know where we get the idea that we’re supposed to be great law abiding citizens. I mean, at our best throughout history we’ve been holy troublemakers,” said Claiborne. “We refuse to accept the world as it is and insist on moving the world towards what God wants it to be.”
Claiborne also lead a discussion forum later in the day about the death penalty and why Christians should be fighting it. The discussion was based on Claiborne’s book, “Executing Grace - How the Death Penalty killed Jesus and Why It’s Killing Us.”
“The fact that we identify with a victim of capital punishment should make us suspicious of it,” he said.
Claiborne said he was even taking time, while in Nashville, to visit the prisoners on death row with governor Bill Haslam in an attempt to show the him who they are.
“It’s hard to kill people when you know them,” said Claiborne.
Casler said that although some may see this as a controversial topic, it lines up exactly with what the Center for Social Justice believes.
“Sometimes we don't look at the full gospel and what Jesus says about redemption, love, and grace,” said Casler. “I think [Jesus] would live like Shane with the Homeless and fighting for people on death row… We want our students to align with what he’s talking about.”
by Olivia Kelley
The Church of the Nazarene’s board of General Superintendents issued a statement
on Sunday in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order to suspend new-refugee admissions. The statement urged all governments, including the United States, to put in place systems where refugees could find safety.
“We urge the President of the United States, Congress, and other state departments to make this temporary order a matter of urgency so that the United States may continue to be known as a nation of compassion and hospitality to those who are oppressed, vulnerable, and marginalized.”
Trevecca officials echoed a similar sense of urgency after the election in November 2015 when they urged students and faculty to welcome diversity and show love to the undocumented and marginalized. University chaplain, Shawna Gaines said their mission hasn’t changed.
“This does not need to be a political issue for us… It’s about a love we have for displaced people that goes all the way back to Jesus,” she said. “We can essentially continue being the people God called us to be — with respect to our government leaders and neighbors — but we don't stop pouring out love for refugees.”
Several Trevecca students are already involved with the refugee crisis through the Urban Farm, Center for Social Justice, or refugee outreach programs such as the one at Nashville First Church of the Nazarene.
Gaines said that changes in Serbia’s refugee laws resulted in the cancellation of a TAG trip there. The students are now being sent to Croatia instead to work with refugees along with several other groups of people.
“We have to be able to change along with and respond to the changes that are ever present with ministering to refugees,” said Gaines.
As far as what can be done right now, Gaines said the best thing to do is listen.
“A lot of people feel a sense of wanting people to desperately know that they’re grateful their here but they don’t know how to do that,” she said. “This might be a great time for us to be intentional about reaching out to people who come from different cultural contexts and start asking better questions and listening better. We want to build the kind of relationships where people feel secure.”
Advice from the Board of General Superintendents:
▪ Treat immigrants with love, respect, and mercy.
▪ Participate sacrificially in local, national, and global compassionate ministry responses to assist refugees and immigrants.
▪ Encourage their respective governments to approve equitable laws that will allow for family reunification, legal work permits for productive immigrants in the workforce, and pathways for undocumented immigrants to be able to obtain authorized immigrant status.
▪ Follow the clear biblical mandate to love, welcome, assist, evangelize, and disciple the immigrants near us.
by Olivia Kelley
Recent Trevecca graduate Taylor Flemming is taking over the Urban Farm as the new farm manager this semester.
Flemming, who graduated in December of 2016, started his position as the urban farm manager on January third. He said it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.
“It was actually during a time when my wife and I were trying to decide what was next,” he said. “We were praying about it and there was one night when we were talking — we prayed very specifically that God would give us direction and wisdom and then the next morning Jason Adkins called me.”
Jason Adkins, the environmental projects coordinator and farm director, told Taylor that the previous farm manager was getting ready to leave. Taylor said he interview with Adkins and was offered the job. Taylor had interned with Adkins on the farm the summer after his sophomore year so he was familiar with how the system worked.
“Taylor was a really ideal candidate for the position. He’s got a lot of energy and passion. He already knows our system. It’s good to have someone come in who didn’t need to be taught,” said Adkins.
Flemming’s job is to run the farm and take care of daily chores so Adkins can focus on teaching and administrative work. He takes care of the animals, plants, grows, and harvests food, and helps oversee student workers.
“It’s difficult to grow the farm when I’m full time managing the farm. To grow the program we have to find students that need to be studying with us and form partnerships with organizations that have similar aims. I also teach classes and write grants and do administrative work around the farm,” Adkins said. “All that takes time and Taylor is building up the program and finding funding we weren't able to do before. So many projects get put on the back burner. [The farm] will be more functional because of the projects we can accomplish.”
Flemming interned with two other farms this past year — Hopewell Gardens and Hands On Nashville Urban Farm. Adkins said this gave Flemming an outside perspective that allowed him to bring new ideas to the farm. Flemming is helping Adkins grow the marketing and sales aspect of the farm in order to make it more self-sustaining.
“We’ve been an educational farm mostly. We want to sell more of our produce so we can become financially sustainable as well as show students how to make money farming. That’s an aspect that’s rising and one of the particulars that he’s helping with,” said Adkins.
Adkins said some of the profits from their sales will be allocated towards supporting Flemming’s position, which is only part time. The position will be made full time in the future, but there is no telling when, as Adkins is still in the process of applying for grants. Flemming didn’t seem concerned, though. He said this is exactly what he wants to be doing with his life and he doesn’t need much.
“My ultimate goal would be to be a part of something very similar to what we’re doing here at Trevecca — have a farm through which I can do life with a community — a community in need — a community that’s impoverished,” he said. “I want caring for the earth and living within my means and the resources around me to be something that I just practice as a lifestyle.”
He said he likes the idea of living on a homestead where he can grow everything and employ people like refugees and ex-convicts. He also said working on the farm has shaped his faith in a lot of ways and changed the way he feels about his food.
“The thing that comes to mind right now is, in our walk with Christ we talk about dying and losing our life for the sake of finding it and you look at Christ’s death and how his death brought us life,” he said. “In farming we are directly involved in this cycle of life and death and in order for us to eat, something must die. In order for us to have life we have to directly invite death. When you’re disconnected from your food you don’t necessarily see that.”
Flemming doesn’t see himself leaving the farm anytime soon.
“Jason — he’s really good about investing in those who work with him and he’s an amazing teacher so he really wants to invest in me and so for that, I want to stay and grow in my experience,” he said. “It’s hard for me to imagine having a better place to really learn and to learn intentionally why I’m doing what I’m doing.”
By Jess Plyer
For the sixth year in a row, Trevecca students can join students from other universities in Nashville to help alleviate hunger in Middle Tennessee.
On Jan. 14, Trevecca will participate in the MLK Day of Service, hosted by Fisk University.
More than 300 students from Trevecca, Belmont, Lipscomb, Vanderbilt, Fisk and Meharry will take part in various service projects at local organizations who work on issues of hunger and food security.
Students will work at one of three sites.
One option is Second Harvest Food Bank, which distributes food to 46 counties in Middle Tennessee. Other options are Feed the Children and the Society of St. Andrew, which collects rejected potatoes from commercial markets and redistributes them to the underfed through the Potato and Produce Project.
The annual event is sponsored by the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice as a way to provide a space for Trevecca students to join their peers around the city in service in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.
” Although Trevecca provides many opportunities for service, the MLK Day of Service is the one time each year where TNU students can serve alongside fellow students from other universities to meet needs in the broader community of Nashville," said Jamie Casler, director of the center. "I believe that our role as a Christian community is to provide these opportunities for service as part of developing future world leaders.”
The event will begin Jan. 14 at 11 a.m. at Fisk University, 1000 17th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208
, with a presentation in the chapel where King himself spoke when he visited the university many years ago.
Dr. King encouraged everyone to take steps toward making a difference. “Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve.... You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
For more information about registration and how you can be involved this year, visit http://www.belmont.edu/sl/mlk-day/index.html.]http://www.belmont.edu/sl/mlk-day/index.html.
By Bailey Basham
Fresh, organic goods produced by the Trevecca Urban Farm can now be purchased at a weekly farm stand on campus.
Fruits, vegetables, jams, soaps and salves all grown and produced on campus are available every Thursday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. near the bell tower.
“All of the food, we grew on campus or in one of our campus gardens. We process it ourselves. The jams come from our fruit trees and the berries we grow. The salves come from our beeswax and our herb oils. [All the ingredients] are organic. It’s all ours or most ours that we grew right here on the farm. We pick it, put it together, roll it up the hill and sell it right there,” said Jason Adkins, environmental projects coordinator and director of the urban farm.
Urban Farm staff and volunteers had tossed around the idea of doing a farm stand, but Adkins said farm coordinator Karen Shaw was instrumental in the farm stand’s creation.
“So many people didn’t know about the farm or our products so we thought if we could be more visible more people would know about the farm and what we do,” said Shaw. “We use our own goats milk for our soap and our herbs and beeswax for our salve. As for jams, it’s lots of fruit and organic sugar. I use a very old recipe book published by the farm journal. I’m very careful to follow exactly since being precise is important when canning.”
Shaw has been working on the farm for the past two years. She said her favorite thing from the farm stand is the salve.
“I’ve used it for years and it makes a huge difference in the healing process for scratches and burns. I keep it with me all the time and recommend it often. This summer I discovered it makes mosquito bites stop itching and takes the swelling down in a short time. It’s good stuff,” said Shaw.
Adkins said all the money made from the urban farm stand goes straight back into the farm.
“We’re trying to support the farm staffing with that, so everything we make goes right back into the farm,” said Adkins. “We’ve had students spend a dollar, and we’ve had students spend $50.”
Tabitha Sookdeo, a senior social justice major and volunteer with the Urban Farm, said her interest in helping on the farm came from her her interest in Adkins’s environmental justice class and her own passion for food justice.
“Food security and sustainable community development is something I see myself doing in the future, and working at the farm is great experience,” said Sookdeo.
Sookdeo considers volunteering with the farm her own type of therapy.
“Besides giving my time, I wanted to partake in the restoration of our relation to the Earth, not only through reading about it, but by actually contributing in a meaningful way,” said Sookdeo. “I come from an agricultural background, so this type of work is therapeutic for me. I am able to be part of a spiritual community that truly cares about the Earth, as well as all of creation.”
Sookdeo said her favorite thing the farm stand sells is the tea.
In the case of rain, the market will move inside the Jernigan lobby.
By Jess Plyler
Healthcare professionals, lawyers, and outreach leaders came together at Trevecca on Saturday to host the Nashville Community Outreach and Resource Center’s annual health care and free flu shot fair.
Thirteen different organizations gathered in Boone Business Building to provide services to the underprivileged and uninsured of Nashville. The event is intended to serve as a one-stop-shop for these individuals, desiring to offer a holistic solution to the issues they’re facing.
The Nashville Community Outreach and Resource Center (NCORC) is an emergency social services provider. Through the network that they have developed over the years, they extend help to those who are in need in the greater Nashville area, whether that be housing, healthcare, or food. Each case is treated with individual care.
The NCORC executive director, Debbie Murphy, says that the work they do would not be possible without the partnership of Trevecca.
“Trevecca has been a godsend to the NCORC. I don’t know what we would have done. We just celebrated 12 years and I honestly don’t think we would have been able to do that without the center for social justice standing behind us and doing everything they do for us.”
One of the organizations that participated in the health fair was the Meharry Student Run Free Clinic. This organization is a link in the community that is regularly contacted by the NCORC. Currently located on 12 South, this clinic exists to provide primary care for those who might not be able to obtain it otherwise.
Gabriela Heslop, Meharry’s Community Outreach Director, said that when it comes to outreach healthcare, primary care is extremely important.
“The goal is to prevent dire situations. Preventative care is one of the most important steps.”
Overall, Iris Gordon, the director of the Center for Social Justice Center’s neighborhood empowerment program, said that she was pleased with the results of the health fair. She also encouraged Trevecca students to get involved with the NCORC while they’re still in school.
“The organization always needs champions. You can get immediate application of their academic learning. Like, immediate. So you don’t have to wait until you get a job. You can connect where your passion is with the skills you’re acquiring at the university.”
For more information on how you can get involved with this organization and other things happening in Trevecca’s immediate community, visit www.ncorc.org/support/volunteer