Marks Guest House on Trevecca Nazarene University’s campus will soon be home to a new partnership between the University and the Salvation Army: the Salvation Army Social Justice Center (SRJC).
Lt. Colonel Vern Jewett of the Salvation Army is the director of the SRJC.
“We opened the center five weeks ago and are still in the setting up stages. We have had furniture, computers and a dozen other infrastructure challenges,” said Jewett. “Our two full-time research analysts began work on February 1 and are currently busy with finalizing employment arrangements, initial division of duties and initial staff meetings to begin discussing vision, mission and areas of interest in the social justice arena.”
Terry Nevill and Curtis Elliott will join the SRJC as research assistants. Nevill, an attorney from Boston, will move to the Nashville area in July, and Elliot is now in the office on campus. Lt. Colonel Martha Jewett is the part time office manager of the center.
Jewett thinks the SRJC will become a significant resource for both Trevecca and the Salvation Army, due to what he describes as the two groups' “mutual interest” in fighting for justice in the world.
While the agenda for the SRJC will continue to be set over the next year, the center will work to identify best practices for bringing freedom to the oppressed and marginalized, as well as gathering data that will inform those practices.
“Initially, we will provide biblically and academically sound research which will equip the Salvation Army to efficiently deploy resources, identify best practices and convey the community impact of services that bring freedom to the socially oppressed and marginalized,” Nevill said. “It is our longer range goal, however, to provide a powerful voice for the poor in the social justice arena at all levels of engagement.”
In addition, Jewett says the goals of the SRJC include helping to renew passion among Salvation Army ministers for biblical social justice issues and creating a social policy resource center for the Salvation Army and the church. He expects the SRJC to eventually provide workshops on advocacy in various areas of concern.
The SRJC team is committed to working closely with Trevecca’s own J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice. Jewett said they hope to partner with faculty, administration and students in joint research projects and join Trevecca in ministering to the neighborhoods that surround campus.
Curtis Elliott agrees.
“The Salvation Army and TNU are both focused on community transformation through holistic ministry,” Elliott said. “Good research can open the way to think carefully about mission strategy.”