Trevecca Nazarene University

Trevecca social justice conference ignites passion for change

Trevecca Nazarene University's first social justice conference, Mobilizing the Church for Social Justice, garnered praise from those who attended.

Participants praised last week's conference for educating them about the major issues related to social justice — the sex trafficking crisis, how to become partners with organizations that are committed to addressing social justice issues, the biblical basis for social justice activities, the importance of connectedness (of persons and groups) in any effort to address social justice, and ways to address the systemic problems that fuel social injustice.

Jamie Casler, director of Trevecca's J. V. Morsch Center for Social Justice and the conference leader, said these positive outcomes can be attributed to the caliber of conference speakers — Dan Boone, president of Trevecca; Jo Anne Lyon, general superintendent of The Wesley Church; Jennifer Roemhildt Tunehag of the European Freedom Network; Carla Sundberg, co-district superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene's East Ohio District; and James Copple, founding partner of Strategic Applications International, LLC.

The conference focused on the theology of social justice efforts, the history of the social justice efforts of Wesleyan-Holiness denominations, and ways to mobilize churches, individuals, and groups to address social justice needs. The program included viewing Trade of Innocents, a recent movie about sex trafficking.

Additionally, participants toured Nashville agencies that are addressing social justice issues — Thistle Farms, a program that restores women from lives of prostitution, trafficking, addiction, and life on the streets; Trevecca's Urban Farm Program, responsible for helping neighborhoods near the university's campus to engage in sustainable gardening; Room in the Inn, a ministry to Nashville's homeless population; and CrossBRIDGE, a restoration ministry of Trevecca Community Church of the Nazarene.

"Responses to this first social justice conference at Trevecca have been so positive and so encouraging that its planners are already thinking about next year's conference," Casler said. "This conference resulted in positive interaction between practitioners of social justice, students in the Social Justice Program, and leaders of social justice initiatives in local churches — the kind of interaction that will ignite change."

Trevecca's second social justice conference will take place in September 2014.

Videos of the main presentations at this year's conference will be posted on this site later this month.