Trevecca Nazarene University

Trevecca forms leadership team for social justice program

Amy Sherman, PhD & James Casler, a Kansas City social worker
Dan Boone, president of Trevecca Nazarene University, has announced the formation of the leadership team for Trevecca’s new J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice. Amy Sherman, PhD, a senior fellow at the Sagamore Institute for Policy Research in Indianapolis, Ind., where she directs the Center on Faith in Communities, will serve as the Center’s senior founding consultant. James Casler, a Kansas City social worker, will be the director of the Center.

Boone noted that this Center is the fulfillment of the dream of Trevecca’s founder, J.O. McClurkan. “One hundred and seven years ago McClurkan wanted to prepare graduates to meet human need. The J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice will equip the next generation of God-called servants for work in the places of human need, from the urban community to the global catastrophe. Through this Center Trevecca will be able to offer the world highly skilled, biblically rooted, and compassionate servant-leaders who have the passion to change the word in positive ways. McClurkan’s dream lives on,” said Boone.

The J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice will offer an interdisciplinary program of studies in biblical justice, sociology, business, public governance, law, leadership, technology, and administration in order to prepare students for the demands of a variety of professions within the fields of compassionate ministry and social justice. The Center is named for the Rev. J. V. Morsch, the pastor of First Church of the Nazarene in Nashville from 1970 to 1973, a church leader, and the founder/ national volunteer liaison coordinator for Nazarene Disaster Response.

A graduate of Messiah College and the University of Virginia, Sherman is the author of five books and more than 70 published articles in such diverse periodicals as Christianity Today, First Things, The Public Interest, The Christian Scholar’s Review, Policy Review, Society, Prism, The Christian Century, and Books & Culture. She is the editorial director for FASTEN, a capacity building project for faith-based organizations and is a frequent speaker at church conferences, training events on community ministry, and Christian colleges. Additionally, she has taught at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis and Regent College in Vancouver; provides consulting services to congregations and para-church ministries to strengthen their community influence; is the founder/former executive director of Charlottesville (Va.) Abundant Life Ministries, an evangelical nonprofit assisting low-income, inner-city families; serves as a senior fellow for the International Justice Mission, a Christian human rights agency; and is a member of the Christian Community Development Association Advisory Board.

Casler is a graduate of Eastern Nazarene College, Nazarene Theological Seminary, and the University of Kansas School of Social Work. He comes to Trevecca from the staff of St. Luke’s Hospitals in Kansas City, Mo., where he has worked as a social worker for St. Luke’s East Emergency Room and Crittenden (children/adolescent) Hospitals. He previously had served three years as a school social worker at Edwardsville Elementary School in Edwardsville, Kans., and five years as a social worker with The Salvation Army Children’s Shelter in Kansas City, Mo.

Tim Green, dean of the Millard Reed School of Religion and the university chaplain, expressed gratitude for the quality of this leadership team: “Trevecca could not ask for finer leaders than Casler and Sherman. Jamie Casler brings outstanding work experience in a variety of areas with social justice concerns—ministry in global settings through denominational missions activities and The Salvation Army and in domestic settings in local schools and hospitals. Amy Sherman brings unique expertise—experience with diverse issues related to social justice, creativity, and  skills in organization—that will be an invaluable contribution as she assists in the development of the Center.”

The J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice will enroll its first students in the fall of 2009.