The J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice

Upcoming Events

God’s word calls us to daily serve the poor and oppressed—to seek justice and mercy for those who are vulnerable. The J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice at Trevecca Nazarene University invites you to attend an exciting conference that will help equip and empower your church to be the hands and feet of Jesus here and now. The "Mobilizing the Church for Social Justice" conference—featuring speakers Dr. Tim Green, Dr. Carla Sunberg, Rev. Gabriel Salguero and Lt. Colonel Vern Jewett and workshop presenters James Copple, Jim Wehner and others—will be held September 18-20 at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tenn. Come, learn, and work alongside church and community leaders from around the globe to solve social justice issues, using a biblical approach.

Do you want to live out the two greatest commandments of the Bible — to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and soul" and "To love your neighbor as yourself" (Matt. 27:37-39)?

Do you want to tackle today's tough issues such as human trafficking, unclean water, poverty and hunger? Then the J. V. Morsch Social Justice Center is the place for you.

The center creates an environment for students of many different vocational interests to learn about—and practice—applying their talents and energy to solving real-world problems. Its Justice Education events will allow you to dialogue about pressing issues.

The Neighborhood Empowerment Programs such as the environmental, non-profit and community development initiatives will connect student learning to real-world issues. Students will have internship opportunities in our urban setting. Through the Center you can volunteer in local ministry and non-profit settings or earn academic credits in field internships.

To learn more about the center’s definition of Biblical Social Justice and how the Body of Christ can live this out in a practical way, read Jamie’s conversation with Gina Pottenger, Managing Editor of Engage Magazine, as they discuss the topic, “Mission: Is it justice, compassion or evangelism?”

A Word from the Director

 Jamie Casler
 Director, J. V. Morsch Center for Social Justice

 B.A., 1995, Eastern Nazarene College
 M.Div., 1999, Nazarene Theological Seminary
 M.S.W., 2005, University of Kansas

The creation of the J. V. Morsch Center for Social Justice has sparked many insightful questions, the most common one being, “What do you mean by social justice?”

The term “social justice” is a buzzword that is pregnant with a vast array of definitions and meanings.

The J. V. Morsch Center for Social Justice draws upon the Biblical story of a just and righteous God who created a just world in Genesis 1-3. As a result of the fall of mankind, God longs to restore, redeem and reconcile His creation back to its created order, a spirituality just people, community and world. Matthew 22:37-39 is another familiar, yet key scripture passage that further defines the mission of the Center to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and to love your neighbor as yourself.” (NIV) God calls us into a love relationship with Him and our response to Him is to love our neighbor through the means of restoring the entire creation including individuals, families, communities, government and the natural world back to the right and just order as intended in Genesis 1-3.

As a Christian community, we are engaging in various environmental initiatives including: converting used vegetable oil from the cafeteria into biodiesel fuel for campus vehicles, community gardening and composting, planting trees, cleaning up a creek near campus, campus wide recycling and serving locally grown foods in the cafeteria. Also, the Center is in the process of developing an urban farm that would bless the Chestnut Hill, Napier and Woodbine neighbors as well as the Trevecca community with locally grown produce.

In addition to the environmental initiatives, the Center is equipping the next generation of Christian servant leaders to respond to Matthew 22:37-39 and Micah 6:8 “to do justice, love mercy and to walk humbly with our God” (NIV) scriptural mandates by offering an academic major in social justice with concentrated studies in non-profit and congregational leadership, environmental justice and public policy. The Center also offers opportunities for civic engagement and international experiences as we strive to be the hands and feet of Christ for the purpose of healing and transforming a fallen and broken world back to God’s original design — a just world.

Social Justice Events


Social Justice Major/Minor

You sense a calling from God to pursue a life of Christian service, but you're not sure what that looks like for your life.

You don't feel called to be a pastor of a church, but you still want to make a difference in the lives of others. You want to live out what it means to "Love God with all your heart, mind, soul" and to "love your neighbor as yourself."

The Social Justice Program at Trevecca can give you the skills and training you need to live out your spiritual calling to serve others through specific areas of study.

Four-Year Social Justice Degree

The social justice studies offer a liberal arts major/minor that will engage you in a core, interdisciplinary curriculum that captures insights from the fields of business, law, sociology, social work, science, and religion. You can then choose one of three social justice concentrations to gain marketable skills:

  • Non-Profit and Congregational Leadership

    Gain practical skills in non-profit management and community engagement for leadership roles as an outreach director at a church or a staff member at a non-profit agency.

    View Four-year course plan

  • Public policy

    Analyze public policies and the political process for advancing the common good—preparation for law school or for work in the government,social welfare agencies, or research institutions.

    View Four-year course plan

  • Environmental Justice

    Acquire technical skills through hands-on applications in environmental science—preparation for graduate school and/or careers as environmental advisors in government agencies or corporations or as staff members of local, state, or national agencies responsible for protecting the environment.

    View Four-year course plan

Other classes offered include the following:

  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Non-Profit Administration
  • Special Projects in Environmental Justice
  • Community Development
  • Urban Restoration Ecology
  • Biblical Theology of Social Justice
  • Economics of Poverty and Public Policy

View Full Course Descriptions


Volunteer Opportunities

Students in the J. V. Morsch Center for Social Justice serve Nashville through these organizations:

  • The Next Door

    A six-month aftercare program for women recently out of prison.


    Mary Rufner, Volunteer Coordinator
    615-251-8805 or
    128 8th Avenue South
    Nashville, TN

  • Second Food Harvest

    Students are always needed to sort food. Also, sometimes they pack emergency care bags with food.


    Meghan Markie, Volunteer Coordinator
    615-329-3491 or
    331 Great Circle Rd.
    Nashville, TN 37228-1703

  • Trevecca Towers

    An apartment complex for senior adults located adjacent to Trevecca's campus


    Erin Lennon, Service Coordinator Director
    615-425-2853 or
    60 Lester Avenue
    Nashville, TN 37210

  • Safe Haven

    An agency which accepts entire families in need of shelter, the only one of its kind in Middle Tennessee


    Rachael Wilkins, Volunteer Coordinator
    615-256-8195 or
    1234 3rd Avenue South
    Nashville, TN 37210

  • Men of Valor

    A program to mentor children who has an incarcerated parent


    Raul Lopez, After-Care Coordinator
    1420 Donelson Pike, Suite B-6
    Nashville, TN 37217

  • East Nashville Cooperative Ministry

    An ecumenical ministry which grows produce and works with farmers to provide fresh produce and food boxes to those in need


    Ryan Fasani, Director of ENCM
    615-584-2512 or
    807 Main St.
    Nashville, TN 37206

  • Rocketown

    An effort focused on youths, ages 12-18, to improve their writing skills, musical talents, and film/video editing skills


    Rod Devore, Program Director
    615-843-4001 or

  • Franktown Open Hearts

    A varied ministry to youths—from drug prevention to music and art


    Ryan Roth, Volunteer Coordinator
    615-807-0782 or

  • Room in the Inn

    A ministry to the homeless and formerly homeless


    Hilary Barnett, Volunteer Coordinator
    615-251-9791 ex. 113 or

  • Preston Taylor Ministries

    An afterschool program who need help with academics Contact


    Chan Sheppard, Director
    615-596-4386 or

  • The Contributor

    Nashville's only "street newspaper" that provides an income for homeless and formerly homeless vendors


    Tasha French, Editor in Chief
    615-829-6829 or

  • Sports 4 All

    A sports program for children with disabilitie.


    Megan Graf, Volunteer Coordinator
    615-354-6454 or

Read an article about the Center’s: Martin Luther King Jr. Spirit of Service Week.

Neighborhood Empowerment Program

Matthew's House

The Center is committed to empowering the Nashville community through partnering with other nonprofits dedicated to outreach. One of its partners is Matthew's House, a growing outreach that provides food and clothing, as well as many services (such as haircuts) to those in need on the third Saturday of every month.

This partnership is made possible with the help of Iris Gordon, monprofit consultant and professor of nonprofit studies for the J. V. Morsch Center for Social Justice, Trevecca's SIFE Club, and Tera Kurtz, AmeriCorps*VISTA worker for the J. V. Morsch Center for Social Justice.

Micah Mandate Magazine

Micah Mandate is a student journal sponsored by the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, TN. The journal features the social justice works of non-profit organizations, individuals with a servant’s heart and students of the university promoting social justice in the Nashville area and abroad.


Environmental Justice and Care

Jason Adkins

Environmental Projects Coordinator




Food Revolution

You may not have noticed, but a food revolution is happening. Maybe your next-door neighbors have taken up an interest in gardening more so than in years past, and you see them outside most days weeding and harvesting their bounty. When you go to the supermarket, terms like "organic," "locally grown," and "in season" jump out in bold print from the produce descriptions. Even your best friend is starting to rave about the fresh food she finds at the local farmers' market. You're not so sure about all of this, but you have been hearing about the pesticides that are used to grow some of the food you eat. A sinking feeling happens when you read about the way that cattle and other farm animals are mass produced to provide your family with meat each week. You want to do something that helps your family and the environment, but it seems so overwhelming you do not know where to begin. Fret not! You, too can be a part of the food revolution. Below you will find resources that will guide you through the maze of the changing food world. If all of this is new, try a small step such as learning about the vegetables that are in season on the chart provided on the "Local Food Movement" page. Add more practices as the weeks go by.

Gardening 101

"Well, I had a house fern in grade school…" Are you not what you would call a green thumb? This page will provide you with resources for getting started.


Local Food Movement

"Go to the farmers' market? But I'm not a farmer…" This page will provide you with everything from what a farmers' market is to choosing one in your area.


Recipes and Resources

"Kale? What's kale? How do you use that?" This page will provide you with veggie facts, how to choose them, store them, and yes, cook them.


Resources for Sustainable Living

“…the earth was designed to sustain every generation's needs, not to be plundered for one generation's wants.” — J. Matthew Sleeth


Center Memberships

The J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice  is a member of the following organizations as their mission and values align with the Center. 

National Association of Christian Social Workers

NACSW equips its members to integrate Christian faith and professional social work practice.  

Christian Community Development Association 

The Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) is a network of Christians committed to seeing people and communities wholistically restored. We believe that God wants to restore us not only to right relationship with Himself but also with our own true selves, our families and our communities. Not just spiritually, but emotionally, physically, economically, and socially. Not by offering mercy alone, but by undergirding mercy with justice.

Social Enterprise Alliance

The Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA) is the leading membership organization in North America for social enterprises, service providers, nonprofit organizations, corporations, and venture capitalists that is actively building the field of social enterprise through networking opportunities, educational forums, strategic partnerships, and impact legislation. Our members are passionate about changing their communities, and we are passionate about providing them with the tools they need to continue their good work.

Center for Non-Profit Management

CNM’s mission is “to create and sustain nonprofit excellence.” Our vision is to “better communities through extraordinary nonprofit services.”

The Center was created in 1986 by the Frist Foundation and the United Way of Metropolitan Nashville to improve the skills of nonprofit executives in Middle Tennessee. This simple concept has blossomed into a full set of training, consulting and evaluation programs that meet the education and management needs of our growing nonprofit community.

The Center now provides a home to Middle Tennessee’s nonprofit leaders by offering a place to relax, to share triumphs, and to find solutions to problems. It is a place for nonprofit board members, executives and staff to learn how to enhance their services – and for the community to appreciate and recognize the enormous positive impact made by these nonprofit agencies.    

Social Justice Club

The social justice club’s purpose is to expose TNU students to the social injustices in our world through educational events and to provide opportunities for students to help those in need in our community. 

During the 2011-2012 school year, the social justice club:  

  • Organized and raised $1,457.00 at the “Fair Trade Sale” where they sold items made in various regions of the world, which supported organizations combating social injustices in our world such as Human Trafficking, poverty, and orphanages. Countries that benefited from these sales ranged from Africa to Thailand to  Guatemala. 
  • Collected 481 items for a coat drive to benefit World Relief. 
  • Sponsored the showing of “The Candy Shop” a short film about Human Trafficking followed by a time of Q/A with professionals working to combat this social injustice.

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Frequently Asked Questions

J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice:  FAQs

Q:  What is social justice and why has Trevecca created a center and major ?

Because social justice is a broad, complex concept not easily reducible to a few words, it has many meanings. To Christians, social justice connotes the idea of shalom, the right ordering of all relationships – those between humans and God, humans with one another, and humans with the creation. When societies promote the core values of the Kingdom of God – beauty, justice, wholeness, security, opportunity, prosperity, reconciliation – they showcase the notion of social justice.  Social justice highlights God’s concern for the poor, needy and  most vulnerable of society and calls Christians to a right stewardship of power and prosperity that safeguards the human dignity of all and assures equal treatment and opportunity in both personal and corporate/structural relations.

Jesus’ gospel announced the in-breaking of the Kingdom and its values.  He calls individual Christians and the church corporately to join him in his mission of pushing “foretastes” of his Kingdom into this world.  The calling to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God” is for every believer.  Thus, Christians must give deep thought and prayer about how each of us can live out this calling as we use our vocational talents and interests, The Center exists to equip believers for this work and to be a demonstration of practicing it.

The establishment of the J.V. Morsch Center for Justice is a natural action for a university with Trevecca’s history, ethos, and mission. TNU’s mission: Trevecca Nazarene University is a Christian community providing education for leadership and service.  

Q.  What does the word “Center” mean? 

At Trevecca, the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice consists of four main components. It is the combination of the following  components that make us a “Center.

Academic Department: Students can major/minor in social justice studies

Community Outreach: the center serves as the liaison between Trevecca and Nashville community to provide students, groups and clubs with opportunities for community service/ministry.  

Neighborhood Empowerment Program: The Neighborhood Empowerment Program serves to connect students from all academic disciplines to apply their academic  training toward  the empowerment of a non-profit or ministry that services the poor and needy  in the Nashville community. 

Trevecca Community Farm: The Trevecca community farm and community gardens provide students with the opportunity to learn how to grow healthy foods for the purpose of feeding the poor in the Nashville community.  The Trevecca farm consists of chickens, community gardens, Aquaponics  and the planting of fruit trees in the community.   

Q. Is the social justice degree accredited? 

The social justice major at Trevecca Nazarene University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. 

Q: What types of careers would a student pursue with a social justice degree?

The social justice major includes three concentrations: Public Policy, Environmental Justice, and Congregational and Nonprofit Leadership.  These areas will prepare students for the following careers:

Non-Profit minors:  community non-profit focused on social issues; compassionate ministry, social services position, urban youth ministry, community organizer and mission work. Students will be equipped to create social ministries to address unmet social issues in our world.  

Environmental Justice minors:  work for non-profit ministries with a  focus on food growth and distribution, work for an organization focused on environmental stewardship issues; work on the environmental impact of staff or business firms.  

Public Policy: work in a local, state, or national government agency;  law degree; social public policy .

Q: What type of graduate programs could students pursue after graduation?

In today’s challenging economy, a Master degree will further prepare students to be competitive as a helping professional. The highly interdisciplinary nature of the major provides a broad foundation for a student who wants to pursue graduate studies.

Master in Social Justice, Master in Religious studies, Master in Social Work, Master in Community Development, Master in Non-Profit Management, Master in Environmental Studies, Master in Urban Studies, Master in Organizational Leadership, Master in Marriage and Family Therapy, Master in Criminal Justice, Master in Sociology, Master in Counseling , Master in Public Policy

Q:  What types of courses is part of the degree?

The major will include core courses drawn from the fields of business, religion, social work, sociology, criminal justice, and business.  Then students will select one of the three above-mentioned concentrations for specialized instruction.   For a listing of social justice courses, see “Social Justice Coursework” tab on the social justice webpage. 

Q:  What type of practical experiences will students gain from this program?

The social justice major will combine rigorous classroom study with robust, hands-on community engagement, field internships, and community-based research projects.  Those involved in the environmental track will gain experience in community gardening initiatives and in long-term land and soil reclamation efforts.  Others will engage in social entrepreneurship projects and coaching with community entrepreneurs.  Still others will learn the skills of community assessment.  

Social justice majors are applying their academic learning toward the start and development of a        non-profit organization to combat Human Trafficking. This non-profit is on course to be officially launched in 2012.

Q:  How does Trevecca plan to interact with its neighborhood and Nashville in general through the Center?

As a bridge between campus and community, the MSJC will provide  opportunities for all students to engage in community service projects in the Nashville community. A list of service opportunities can be found on the center’s website under the “volunteer” tab.   

Q:  Who is J. V. Morsch and why was the Center named for him?

Dr. J. V. Morsch is a minister whose life has demonstrated a concern for social justice and whose lifelong ministry has been marked by a blend of Christian compassion, good business savvy, and the ability to meet human need through the use of partnerships, visionary dreams, and good theology.  And he did it in and through the church. His life of service has reached form the local church to global crisis.  He served as pastor of First Church of the Nazarene in Nashville, where he was recognized as a spiritual leader in the city. He was also the superintendent of the Central Florida District Church of the Nazarene, Coordinator of Nazarene Compassionate Ministries in Southeast USA, chair of the Board of Trustees at Trevecca Nazarene University, and a great encourager and lover of Trevecca.

Moreover, J. V. Morsch follows in the footsteps of Trevecca’s founder, the Reverend J. O. McClurkan.  More than a hundred years ago, Rev. McClurkan exhibited an entrepreneurial spirit aimed at meeting the deepest needs of the people of Nashville.  He was known for his selfless service, but the genius of his work was the marriage of a holy passion to serve and practical expertise.  His legacy is a school founded to shape Godly servants, true saints, and the establishment of the Morsch Center for Social Justice is a natural step for that school within McClurkan’s legacy.

Q:  What other colleges or universities offer this type of program?

Although other Christian and secular universities offer social justice programs, Trevecca’s Center will be quite unique.  Point Loma Nazarene’s Center for Justice and Reconciliation, Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concern, the University of Richmond’s Center for Civic Engagement, and Duke University’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship –  are just a few of the  schools that are involved in either service learning, community-based research, hands-on environmental work, or social entrepreneurship initiatives, all of which seek to deploy the intellectual and human capital of the university in partnership with community actors in order to advance positive community transformation.

Financial Aid

The University provides various different Financial Aid options for Social Justice students. You can see all the information here.


Trevecca Nazarene University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Trevecca Nazarene University.

Social Justice Awards

Trevecca’s J. V. Morsch Center for Social Justice presented its 2011Advancing the Cause of Social Justice Award to the Rev. Célestin Musekura, PhD, founder and president of African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM, Inc.), on Tuesday, September 20, 2011, in a special chapel service. The event was co-sponsored by the Office of the University Chaplain.

Dr. Musekura was born and reared in Rwanda and has a special passion for achieving healing among the Hutus and Tutsi tribes of that country.  An ordained minister in the Baptist Church, he earned his bachelor’s degree at Highlands Bible College, a master’s at Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology in Kenya, a master’s of sacred theology and a PhD in theological studies at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas. His doctoral research concerned contemporary models of forgiveness, and he specializes in communal forgiveness.

According to Jamie Casler, director of the J. V. Morsch Center for Social Justice, Dr. Musekura was chosen to receive this award because he exemplifies the kind of servant-leaders that the Social Justice Program wants to prepare.  He said, “The Morsch Center for Social Justice is dedicated to preparing  students to be engaged in a wide range of restoration and reconciliation activities—both here and internationally.  With their efforts to bring healing and restoration on several levels—to individuals, families, and societal systems—Dr.Musekura and ALARM model the kind of biblical restorative justice that we promote in the Morsch Center. We are very pleased to honor Dr. Musekura.”

In accepting the award, Dr. Musekura expressed how surprised and humbled he was by this recognition. He said, “When I told my colleagues in eight countries in Africa about the award, they expressed how this award encouraged them. It made them know that people in the U. S. know about our work in Africa, and we are grateful.”

Musekura spoke in three chapel services (Monday night and Tuesday and Thursday mornings) and in some classes. He said, “My message is to encourage Christians to make sure our identity in Christ supersedes all other identities—tribes, groups, races, economic classes, party affiliations.  In Rwanda, two tribes killed each other because their tribal identities superseded their Christian identity. Unless we Christians live out our identity in Christ in the way we seek social justice, the cause of Christ will be hindered.”


Featured in the Press

The J. V. Morsch Center for Social Justice has been featured in bible studies as well as in local and national news outlets. Click below to read the articles:

Seek Social Justice Bible Study

World Magazine

NCM Magazine
"Equipping Students to Address Social Injustices"