Servant leader J.V. Morsch passes away

James Vernon Morsch, for whom Trevecca’s J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice is named, has passed away. He was 91.

Morsch, who served as both a pastor and district superintendent of the Central Florida District in the Church of the Nazarene, was known for his dedication to serving the “least of these.” The founder of Nazarene Disaster Response, a ministry within the Church of the Nazarene designed to mobilize local churches and volunteers to respond to disasters, Morsch also served as the ministry’s first national field director.

In addition, Morsch served as the pastor of First Church of the Nazarene in Nashville, Tenn., as well as a past chairperson of Trevecca’s Board of Trustees.

Even in retirement, Morsch was an active volunteer in Compassionate Ministries, both nationally and internationally. He also served as the national volunteer liaison coordinator for Nazarene Disaster Response.

“I remember J.V. as an entrepreneurial pastor during my college years at Trevecca,” said Dr. Dan Boone, Trevecca’s president. “Rather than waiting for children from the local public housing to attend Nashville First, he went to them with a program called Shade Tree Evangelism. From there, he remained out-of-the-box in moving to address human need in practical, compassionate and Christ-like ways. I adored this good man.”

In 2007, Trevecca officials and members of the Morsch family announced the creation of the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice to be named in Morsch’s honor. Designed to equip students to serve and lead within a variety of careers, the Center offers a biblically based, interdisciplinary major leading to a bachelor’s degree in social justice.

Through the study of theology, theory and intensive field experiences, students gain knowledge and practical skills to prepare them for a variety of careers, including leadership within congregations and social service nonprofits, research and policy analysis positions within local, state, and federal government agencies and more.

Boone says Morsch’s life and ministry was an example to the Center’s students and graduates.

“He and his family have left a legacy of biblical social justice through the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice at Trevecca,” Boone said. “I can think of nothing more fitting to honor his memory. This man did good for the people he lived among.”

Morsch, born Oct. 21, 1927, passed away on May 25. He was preceded in death by his wife, Patricia Morsch; parents, Vernon and Ruby Morsch; sisters, Maxine Rorem, Pauline Walling and Diane Muffler; and grandson, Chase Vernon Morsch.

He is survived by his wife of 16 years, Nancy Morsch; children Gary (Vickie) Morsch, Rebecca Morsch, Mark Morsch, Lori (Finley) Knowles, James Kyle Morsch, Lori Lawler and Jamie Cannon; 16 grandchildren; and 18 great grandchildren.

The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, May 30, at Centerpointe Community Church of the Nazarene in Orlando, Fla. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on May 31 at the church. A graveside service with full military honors will follow at 12:30 p.m. at Woodlawn Memorial Park in Gotha, Fla.

Friends who wish to make a gift to the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice in Morsch’s honor may do so at or by calling 615-248-1451.

Media contact: Mandy Crow,, 615-248-1695