Micah Mandate The Magazine of the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice at Trevecca Nazarene University Trevecca partners with Room in the Inn to host homeless men p. 6
Second Chance: Former drug addict running cafĂŠ at TCC p. 13
Birds of hope: Two girls go beyond the fad p. 15
TNU continues efforts to green campus 4 ways
Trevecca promotes sustainability p. 8
Greetings from the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice Micah Mandate Vol. 2 • No. 2 Spring 2011
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 spiritually 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 Jamie Casler, director of the as yourself.” (NIV) God calls us into a love relationship J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice 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. In this issue you will read how the Center and Trevecca are responding to the calling to love our neighbors through environmental stewardship. 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.
Jo Ellen Werking Weedman Faculty Editorial Supervisor
Student Staff Rachel Swann Editor-in-Chief
Hayley Knowles Graphic Designer
Web site Manager
Student Writers Jordan Taylor Katie Schimmelpfinneg Morgan Daniels Rachel Swann
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 purposes of healing and transforming a fallen and broken world back to God’s original design-a just world. For more information about any of our programs visit www.trevecca.edu/socialjustice.
Director of the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice
Community Contributors Ryan Fasani Eric Paul Brooklyn Lindsey Contact Information Micah Mandate Trevecca Nazarene University 333 Murfreesboro Road Nashville, TN 37210 615.248.1449 firstname.lastname@example.org micahmandate.com
The Micah Mandate is the online magazine of the J. V. Morsch Center for Social Justice. Once a year we collect the best stories we've been telling about our community and print them here. The project, both online and in print, is produced by Trevecca students from several areas of study. Journalism students write and edit content. Business information students design pages and manage the website. Social justice and music business students take photos. This magazine, a partnership between the Center for Social Justice and the journalism department, is printed on recycled paper with soy ink.
2 Spring 2011
For more information about the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice visit www.trevecca.edu/socialjustice. To find out more about Trevecca's journalism program email email@example.com.
Alyse Gibson, junior environmental justice major, and Ari Welch, junior dramatic arts major, participate in greening the campus through gardening, recycling and composting. (Photo by Jessica Jean Justice)
Contents Year in Review
Bright Ideas: Nashville
4 • Looking back: A year in photos
12 • Abandoned apartment complex to house intentional community 13 • Second chance: Former drug addict running café at TCC
In Justice 6 • Trevecca partners with Room In The Inn to host homeless men on campus 7 • Students follow path of the Freedom Riders
The Compost 8 • TNU decreases university’s carbon footprint 9 • New bins on campus make recycling easier for students 10 • Running on vegetable oil: Campus vehicles to be fueled by cafeteria waste 11 • Locally grown: TNU cafeteria to use produce from on-campus garden
14 • Keeping God at a Distance: Turning into Christ and toward the poor 15 • Birds of Hope: Two girls go beyond the fad
On the cover Carlson Swafford, Trevecca student, is a member of Castanea Community and is active in developing the urban garden at Trevecca. (Photo by Kaylee Harrell)
Check us out online at www.micahmandate.com Spring 2011
Year In Review
Looking back : A The J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice hosted 10 events on campus in the 2010-2011 school year on topics ranging from human trafficking, to civil rights, to child soldiering. Speakers from all over the world spoke to Trevecca students about their lives, ministries and work on today’s most pressing social justice issues. Here’s a look back at some of the biggest events of year.
Freshmen Leap groups clean up Trevecca’s campus and surrounding neighborhood.
Eric Volz, author of Gringo Nightmare, shares his testimony at Trevecca, in a co-sponsored event with the criminal justice department, about his experience as a political prisoner in Nicaragua.
Alexei Laushkin, editor of Creation Care magazine, speaks in chapel at the Creation Care Conference hosted in March.
The Center had a busy second year at Trevecca. Chapels and conferences were hosted, service projects completed and the first graduates with a social justice degree will walk the stage in May. “The theme for the year was to show how social justice affects real people,” Jamie Casler, director of the Center, said. “We wanted to highlight a variety of social justice issues by inviting guest speakers on various topics to tell their stories.” Alex Mejias, Christian artist, performs at the Creation Care Conference. All photos courtesy of Trevecca’s Office of External Relations/Marketing.
4 Spring 2011
Year In Review
A year in photos
Luis Quinonez, former child soldier in Guatemala, speaks to Trevecca students in chapel and social justice classes about his experiences. Fred Gray, veteran civil rights attorney, receives the first J. V. Morsch Center for Social Justice Award from the Centerâ€™s director, Jamie Casler. Gray spoke in chapel about representing Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. The event was co-sponsored with the criminal justice department.
Latisha Simmons, president of the Tony Sudekum Neighborhood Association, speaks at the Community Rally. The J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice partnered with Radical Inc. to bring together the Nashville community and denominations through story.
Noel Castellanos, CEO of Christian Community Development Association (CCDA), co-presented at a relocation training seminar. The training was an effort of the Center, CCDA and Nazarene Compassionate Ministries USA/Canada to give practical advice and show biblical support of how Christians can relocate to cities to serve in intentional communities.Â
For more photos and to keep up with the Center, visit the Happenings page on www.micahmandate.com. www.micahmandate.com
Trevecca partners with Room in the Inn to host homeless men on campus
By Jordan Taylor
Three middle aged men with old clothes, rusty
smiles and cigarette perfume sat around a table to discuss religion with a handful of Trevecca college students over a plate of lasagna. The men talked; the students listened. As the group bantered, other men slowly drifted asleep under the hum of florescent lights in the Tartar Student Activity Center. Trevecca students have partnered with a local non-profit agency to house homeless men on campus during Nashville’s coldest months, providing food, warmth and company.
Trevecca students have been hosting homeless men most Wednesday nights between November and March for the past three years. With about 10 volunteers, the hosting is entirely student lead. “This is a great way to tie our students into opportunities that they wouldn’t have otherwise,” said Steve Harris, Dean of Student Development. Megan Arnett, a senior, has volunteered as a cook since Trevecca began hosting. She purchases the necessary food from Wal-Mart and then returns to campus to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner before the guests arrive.
“It’s part of our service and involvement in the community,” Harris said. The guests at Trevecca go through a screening process at the RITI campus, located in downtown Nashville. The campus’ staff performs a routine check up on the individuals for various safety reasons then sends the men and women to their overnight housing. The majority of those who come to the RITI campus are male, so Trevecca offers to house eight men on Wednesday nights, a day most other churches are busy, said Seth Thompson, faculty advisor for the program.
“I’m a behind the scenes person,” Arnett said. Room in the Inn (RITI) is a Nashville based organization that helps those caught in homelessness through education, community and self-work. The RITI campus provides dormitories for the homeless to sleep in and also pairs individuals with volunteering churches to house the men during the winter. Founded in 1977, Charles Strobel began RITI by offering peanut butter sandwiches to a group of homeless men outside his parish, East Nashville’s Holy Name Catholic Church, where he was a priest. “One night, when it was getting cold, I invited them in to spend the night and they ended up spending the winter,” Strobel said in an interview at roomintheinn.org.
Arnett said the experience is a way for her to connect to the Nashville community. “I guess it’s just so much of Trevecca talking about community. This was one of the ways I felt I was able to do it,” Arnett said. “I feel like it’s a good thing.” Each hosting is sponsored by a different organization linked to Trevecca. Sponsors can be graduating classes, dorms or faculty members. Food is the main expense, costing roughly $100 per hosting. Trevecca has no added insurance cost and all the water and electricity usage are considered donations by the school.
The homeless men who come to Trevecca are thankful. “They [the students] are a living example of how everyone should live,” wrote Anthony Herring, a homeless guest, in a letter to Trevecca. Henry, another guest who recently stayed at Trevecca, was diagnosed with Chron’s disease shortly before becoming homeless. He now finds himself being served by a program that he volunteered for before his diagnoses. “God has me walking through this for a reason,” he said. “Room In The Inn is incredible.”
“One night, when it was getting cold, I invited them in to spend the night and they ended up spending the winter.” - Fr. Charles Strobel
Heather Halstead, junior, serves dinner to Room in the Inn guests on TNU’s campus. (Photo by Jordan Taylor)
6 Spring 2011
Jordan Taylor is a junior majoring in communication studies, she is also a vocalist who plays tenor banjo for The Flee Marketeers, a local Nashville band.
By Jordan Taylor
Students follow path of the freedom riders
LaKenya Black, sophomore at Trevecca,
became impassioned with civil rights history when she was in high school. Her history teacher, a veteran political activist, brought critical discussion, personal insights and reflective documentaries to Black’s classes in both 11th and 12th grade. “She was really up there in age, but you wouldn’t know it because she acted like a teenager,” Black said. “She didn’t beat around the bush.” In April, Black and another Trevecca student, senior Heather Millington, joined two J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice professors and Rip Patton, an original Freedom Rider, on a reenactment trip from Nashville to Montgomery, Ala. celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides. The Freedom Riders, a group of civil rights activists, rode various interstate busses throughout the formerly segregated southeastern states in May of 1961. The Freedom Riders’ goal was to test customs and local law officials on the overthrow of separate but equal laws, experiencing extreme hostility, violence and injury along the way. Iris Gordon, adjunct professor for the Center, said she hopes students gathered parallels from the experiences of the college student activists involved in the civil rights movements and apply them to their own passions, such as poverty,
human trafficking or homelessness. “It’s really powerful for a 21-year-old to think about what 21 year-olds were doing in the 1960s,” Gordon said. The group traveled together on a Trevecca van visiting key historical sights in Selma, Montgomery and Birmingham, Ala. Gordon said she wanted the students to gather the “real life experience of traveling the journey, not just talking about it, but living it.” Jamie Casler, director of the Center, and Gordon went with the students on the reenactment tour. Their plan was to help students look to the past to find answers for the future, Casler said. “When we look back at the Freedom Riders, we have a better understanding of the experience; what people went through, the struggles they endured, the pain and death they experienced to bring about justice and equality among people, especially in the South,” Casler said. Though neither student is a history major, both expressed interest in the civil rights movement. Millington, a commercial music major, became interested in the issue during a mission trip to Montgomery, Ala. last year.
rights [movements] in the South and seeing how far its come, but also how far it has to go,” Millington said. Both professors want their students to be inspired by the 1960s college students, as they peacefully fought for equality while trying to pass their classes. “It was a decision they were so ready to make,” Gordon said. “They were choosing social justice.” Students earned one credit hour for the trip and paid for the expenses out of their own pockets. The cost is estimated at $120, including museum passes, food and a hotel room for the overnight experience. Casler met with the students for several brief classes prior to the trip. They discussed relevant articles and watched films concerning the Freedom Riders. Casler said everyone is called to address the injustices of the world, utilizing one’s education and spiritual gifts. “The social justice department is intentionally equipping college students for ministry of change in our world, as we have a generation of students who want to make a difference,” Casler said.
“I’m looking forward to learning more about civil
Social Justice Program featured in Bible study The five-lesson Seek Social Justice Bible Study features Trevecca’s Social Justice Program in lesson one and is available as a free download at www.seeksocialjustice.com.
TNU decreases university'''s carbon footprint
By Rachel Swann
New recycling bins, composting in the cafeteria dish room and construction on a biodiesel classroom are just a few of the ways Trevecca is going green.
University officials have talked a lot about justice in recent years, but it’s not been just an exercise in academics. Now, with the Environmental Management System (EMS) in place, Trevecca is improving its environmentally friendliness. Members of the EMS team have spent the past year working with the Environmental Protection Agency, a federal government agency that regulates environmental issues. The team was formed to make sure the university complies with regulations and doesn’t get fined. Trevecca officials also want the school to be a good steward of the earth. “There has always been a desire to address these issues…(Trevecca) needed an administrator to pull us all together and provide guidance,” Jamie Casler, director of the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice and EMS team member, said. David Caldwell, executive vice president for finance and administration, has been that administrator. Hired in 2010, Caldwell has led the members of the EMS in fixing minor violations of environmental regulations. Last spring, the Environmental Protection Agency
8 Spring 2011
visited Trevecca and found minor violations. The main issue was Trevecca was classified as a large quantity toxic waste generator, which according to the EPA web site means that Trevecca is a large place and was generating a lot of waste. In response to the audit, Trevecca put together a team of nine faculty and staff to decide what projects to do in what order. They are also charged with touring every building and identifying each environmental aspect on campus. In the end they had a 40-page document ranking the aspects, Caldwell, explained. “We’ll work on the five biggest contributors (first),” Caldwell said. These top five projects are: lowering the toxic waste producer level to be a small quantity exempt generator, campus recycling, composting, electricity conservation and continuing work on making Trevecca an arboretum. Some other projects that have already been done are visible, such as new windows and a place to deposit old papers and empty bottles. But some of the projects will be behind the scenes. For instance, changing light bulbs to be more energy
efficient will mean energy is conserved and money is saved. “We’re trying to find ways we can reduce expenses while at the same time being green,” Caldwell said. This was not the first attempt at Trevecca to find ways to be environmentally friendly. In the past students formed clubs to try to implement campus wide recycling and bring awareness to students about how to go green at Trevecca. EMS has taken many of the ideas of those students, from a student survey last year, and funded them. “We are trying to encourage students as much as possible to make these projects educational,” Tyler Hill, logistics and projects coordinator, said about campus recycling. Rachel Swann is a senior majoring in mass communication with a journalism concentration, and Editor-in-Chief of the Micah Mandate.
Source for lists: Tyler Hill, logistics and projects coordinator at TNU’s plant operations
New bins on campus make recycling easier for students
“Students should recycle as much as possible. It’s very important,” Farrell said. fall on the shoulders of students and clubs, such as, Environmental Sustainability Association (ESA).
By Katie Schimmepfinneg
Juniors Kayla McMahon and Kylie Westmoreland only have one small bag of trash each week to throw in the dumpster for their dormitory clean room checks.
Between the two girls, they recycle an average of one full grocery bag of paper, plastic and cans weekly. This cut their trash in half. Their task was made simpler with the installation of 15 new recycling bins strategically placed around campus in September. This is the first effort by administration to have recycling not
“We love the new bins,” McMahon said.
Tyler Hill, plant operations’ logistics and projects coordinator, really believes in this new attempt.
The bins cost the university about $20,000, said Glen Linthicum, director of plant operations. Since the initial installation three more have been added, bringing the total to 18 bins.
“With administration backing and students working together this has the potential to be successful,” Hill said.
“Everyone wanted recycling, and we need people to use them. The plan to pay for the new bins are with less dumpster pickup,” said David Caldwell, executive vice president for finance and administration. The bins, made of recycled milk bottles, are found at each dormitory entrance, next to heavily trafficked sidewalks and by the athletic fields. Tracking use of the bins will guide plant operations to make decisions about efficient placement. Plant operations is monitoring the usage of the recycling, and it appears to be consistent and increasing. Every week cleaning crews empty the bins and take the bottles, cans and cardboard boxes to specially designed recycling dumpsters. In 10 weeks the 90 cubic feet dumpster was filled with plastic and cans. Trevecca recycled the volume of two small cars. Only four weeks into the spring semester the plastic side of the dumpster was overflowing. “Students are really using the recycling bins,” Linthicum said. Chris Farrell, professor of biology and environment, has seen three good efforts of recycling on campus all led by students in his 15 years at Trevecca. He said he’s hopeful that unlike the others, this endeavor will last, and he thinks it will.
Now the students’ only responsibility is to recycle. Plant operations will do the rest, Linthicum said. This is different from past efforts when recycling efforts were student initiated and maintained.
Other students agree. “I think the school is really moving in a positive direction, and it’s nice that recycling efforts don’t fall onto students’ shoulders anymore,” Holly Dodd, ESA president, said. Some long-term goals are to have a cardboard recycling only dumpster on campus and to have trash dumpsters emptied less, Linthicum said. There are also six test run paper bins for administration to recycle paper waste. They too are successful. Once the recycling bins have been paid for, with fewer dumpster pickup, the hope is to donate money to organizations like ESA, Linthicum said. “I’m so excited to see so much support in the recycling efforts,” Dodd said. “I don’t think students realize the positive effects of recycling even one plastic bottle.”
Katie Schimmelpfinneg is a junior majoring in mass communication with a journalism concentration, and is a student at the Washington Journalism Center in Washington, D.C.
Running on vegetable oil: Campus vehicles to be fueled by cafeteria waste By Rachel Swann
Soon students at Trevecca will have a new way to
by-products, such as soap, to be a student led project.
get a hands-on learning experience.
“Jason Adkins (environmental projects coordinator) and Chris Farrell will be leading the initiative (with their classes),” Casler said.
Last spring, the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice purchased a biodiesel machine that will convert used vegetable oil from the cafeteria into biodiesel for campus vehicles and machines.
Trevecca is not the only university to recognize the usefulness and educational purposes of biodiesel. Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, and Mt. Vernon Nazarene University, in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, have been making the alternative fuel in recent years, according to articles in Vanderbilt News and Biodiesel Magazine.
Biodiesel is an alternative fuel produced from animal fat or vegetable oil. Some benefits, according to biodiesl.org, to using the fuel are: the amount of emissions is lower from that of petroleum diesel; exhaust is recycled by plant life; the emissions are healthier for humans and the environment; and it is one of the lowest costing alternative fuels available. Also, it can be used in existing diesel engines without them needing many modifications. A trailer beside plant operations is being converted to have a classroom-like atmosphere complete with windows, carpet and desks. The idea is to use the space and machine as an educational tool for students to learn the process of biodiesel production. “It lends itself to science on display,” Glen Linthicum, director of plant operations, said. The machine was purchased by the Center for
The biodiesel machine to convert vegetable oil to usable fuel. (Photo by Jordan Taylor) approximately $1,200; producing the biodiesel at only 38 cents per gallon. Jamie Casler, director of the Center, and Chris Farrell, director of medical technology and professor of biology and environment, found the machine and made the buy with the intention of the production of biodiesel and items from its
Jason Adkins, environmental projects coordinator, and Alyse Gibson, junior environmental justice major, caring for the produce in TNU greenhouse. (Photo by Jordan Taylor)
10 Spring 2011
The idea at Trevecca is for students in the special projects courses, a part of the environmental justice track, to gather vegetable oil from the school cafeteria and use it to make the biodiesel. The process will result in usable fuel for some of the trucks and machinery plant operations use. However, Linthicum said he will continue use of regular diesel fuel until there is a sufficient supply of biodiesel. Officials hope to finish plumbing and other installation details and to start producing the biodiesel by the end of April.
Organic plant pots made of egg shells in the Trevecca greenhouse. (Photo by Jordan Taylor)
Locally grown: TNU cafeteria to use produce from on-campus garden By Rachel Swann
Trevecca students can expect to fill their plates in
the cafeteria with fresh, organic produce within the next few years. The TNU greenhouse and Pioneer Catering Services have partnered, and soon plants from the greenhouse will be used regularly as ingredients in meal choices. Jason Adkins, environmental projects coordinator, Chris Farrell, director of medical technology and professor of biology and environment, and John Ferris, Pioneer executive chef, began planning the details of the partnership and what it will mean for the university. Adkins said they are starting to draw up the business plans. Some produce has already been grown and sold to Pioneer. Over the past few months several pounds of basil were sold to Pioneer at the market rate of $8 per pound. “As the program expands, I’ll buy more from him (TNU),” Ferris said. “I’m willing to buy just about anything they can give us.” Selling herbs and salad greens is just the beginning. The big picture is that Pioneer will be a supporter of Trevecca’s urban farm, which is another part of the developing plan. The urban farm and the greenhouse will provide the fresh produce for the cafeteria to use. This farm has been a dream of Adkins for several years. He hopes to expand from the existing greenhouse on campus located behind Greathouse Science Building. As the amount of organic foods growing increases so will the need for a sustainable farm. Until then, Adkins, Farrell and their students make use of the small available space in the greenhouse and on campus. For example, fruit trees and bushes were planted around campus. They will mature and bear fruit within a few years, Adkins said. “We can grow a lot of different things (on the small space),” Adkins said. Mushrooms, fruits, vegetables, salad greens,tilapia in the greenhouse’s aquaponics system and eggs from the 100 chickens that are being raised on campus are a few. The farm will not just be for growing fresh, organic food for Trevecca students. It will function as a student run business, selling produce to Pioneer, local restaurants and neighbors of the Trevecca community, Adkins explained. Some details need to be resolved for the farm to begin. Land and staffing must be acquired, and the school’s business department must be involved.
is a possibility. The acres are flat and prime for farming, Adkins said. The farm will function for educational purposes too. Yet, it will take 10 to 20 years to be fully developed, all the while producing usable goods. Because it will be a business, the farm will be self-sustaining. “It is a way for students to explore their vocation in a tangible way,” Adkins said. In the cafeteria, the organic goods will be featured in special meals as it comes in. Ferris wants students to know their food is coming from gardens grown by their classmates. “It’s nice to know where your food comes from,” Ferris said. This is not the first time the school has had a farm. In the early 1900s through the 1930s at the old Gallatin Road campus, students ran a farm to feed students and work off tuition, Steven Hoskins, professor of religion and history at Trevecca, explained. Now, Trevecca is going back to its roots to bring together more communities. The farm and Pioneer partnership are still in preliminary stages. Adkins, Farrell and Ferris agree that in order for it to be successful and sustainable, students need to be involved. Students have opportunities to collect food scraps from the cafeteria for composting, gardening and farming and managing and developing the business. “The urban farm is meant to have three aspects: community engagement, local food production for campus and beyond and an educational lab,” Adkins said. More than that, Adkins explained the project is about creation care. “This is an act of worship and prayer in that it honors God’s creation…It uses our whole minds and bodies in an act of gratitude to God,” Adkins said.
Land on Factory Street, an area behind campus,
Bright Ideas: Nashville
Abandoned apartment complex to house intentional community By Jordan Taylor
Trevecca students, a professor and his family,
refugees and formerly homeless people will soon be sharing life and an apartment building in Trevecca’s backyard. Jason Adkins, Trevecca environmental projects coordinator and alumnus, has partnered with friends to restore a previously dilapidated apartment complex in Chestnut Hill, a low-income neighborhood adjacent to campus. Adkins, along with his wife and five children, plus seven other friends plan to move into the renovated apartment complex in early 2012, depending on how quickly funds for completion are raised. About 20 to 40 tenants, both refugees and the formerly homeless, will join them in their cooperative housing. The building, at 12 Garden Street, Nashville, referred to as Castanea Community Center, was purchased in February 2010 for $116,000. Adkins and his partners Daniel and Amanda Burt combined their resources to purchase the foreclosed complex from a bank. Trevecca student volunteers have helped renovate the complex. So far building costs are estimated at $700,000. The Trevecca Business Alumni Association is campaigning to sponsor the completion of three apartment units, donating $15,000 per unit. Once tenants occupy the apartment complex, it will become self-sufficient, Adkins said. There will be a total of 15 units available in the complex. Families can have their own unit and single persons will share with other singles. There will be additional room for a common space, a wood shop and a chapel. Trevecca students will also be allowed to occupy one to two of the units and will be selected by expressing interest in the project directly to Adkins. “It’s been really encouraging to see students animated by what we’re about,” Adkins said. “Trevecca students have spent just as much time over there (at the apartment complex) as anyone.” The community will be centered on fellowship, gardening and sustainability, Adkins said. Unlike programs that bring solutions to a neighborhood, Adkins said he is working with neighbors and organizations to find solutions from within the neighborhood. “The people that are best suited to solve the
12 Spring 2011
The Castanea Community Center at 12 Garden Street. (Photo by Jordan Taylor) problems are people who live with those problems 24 hours a day,” Adkins said. “This is going to be more than a housing unit. We will be living there alongside those who are coming out of homelessness.”
Adkins will partner with Nashville-based Safe Haven, an organization that helps transition homeless families off the street. The apartments will provide supportive and affordable housing for some of Safe Haven’s family graduates while offering additional services to help them live a sustainable life.
Adkins has used sustainable measures throughout the building’s renovation. He has salvaged old windows while recycling much of the discarded building materials.
“There won’t be any ‘Help Here’ signs, but we will be quietly helping them get jobs, helping them get medical appointments, helping financially, helping them grow gardens and then begin to listen to the people themselves on how they want to help their own condition,” Adkins explained. Sustainable Measures The project is not only about living side-by-side with neighbors who need help, but also about gardening as a way to offer a sustainable food source to the community. Goats, berries and eggs are just a few of the food sources Adkins will grow in the apartment’s sizable yard. Organic food production is one of Adkins’ specialties. He manages a greenhouse on Trevecca’s campus and a community garden in Chestnut Hill with Chris Farrell, director of medical technology and professor of biology and environment at Trevecca. Multitudes of flowers, fruit trees and berry bushes are anticipated. A greenhouse has been assembled and will soon house plants, fruits and
“We’re trying to plant as big a variety as possible so we can always have fruit coming in,” Adkins said.
Adkins also created organic plaster. A concoction of hydrated lime, water, sand and clay was applied to both the exterior and interior walls instead of the commonly used commercial alternative. “This type of earthen plaster has been used for thousands of years. It has many advantages; from heat retention, to humidity control, to toxicity to pests, such as termites, because of the lime,” Adkins wrote on his blog, www. castaneacommunity.wordpress.com. Adkins said he hopes to help bring betterment to Chestnut Hill through the Castanea community. “We could fill the place with anyone, but we really want the intentional community,” Adkins said. How to Help To volunteer or send donations, contact Jason Adkins at 615.812.3291 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Jordan Taylor is a junior majoring in communication studies, she is also a vocalist who plays tenor banjo for The Flee Marketeers, a local Nashville band.
Bright Ideas: Nashville
Second chance: Former drug addict running cafe at TCC By Morgan Daniels seem to fill. He received a stern letter in jail from his mother, Lynn Guillory, in February of 2009, and made the decision that would change his life forever—he knew he deserved more and would do anything to better his lifestyle. “I was basically yelling at him on paper—I had given him everything I could and I just could not do it anymore,” Guillory said.
Wilson Morgan serves meals at the New Life Café during the lunch hour. (Photo by Jamie Casler)
Wilson Morgan was at rock bottom. He had no money, no friends and no family support. He spent six years in prison and had 10 felony charges, including accounts of manufacturing meth, drug trafficking, possession of listed chemicals and several accounts of theft of over $500 and $1,000. Now he manages a restaurant in Trevecca Community Church on TNU’s campus. His journey through addiction and jail ultimately brought him to the New Life Café. The café, which opened in the fall of 2010, is a project of CrossBRIDGE, a recovery ministry. Tina Mitchell, director of CrossBRIDGE, had the idea for the restaurant, which only hires employees with criminal records. Morgan had the years of management experience. What they needed was a business plan. That’s where the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice came in. Jamie Casler, director of the Center, and Iris Gordon, adjunct professor of social justice, worked with Mitchell and Morgan to come up with a plan for the restaurant. “We want to empower our local community,” Casler said. “We are about restoring individual lives and part of that is employment.” Morgan’s life and work is a testimony of God’s restoration, Casler said. After more than 15 years of alcohol and drug addiction, fighting and stealing, Morgan realized an emptiness inside of himself that he could never
Growing up in Panama City Beach, Morgan began experimenting with alcohol and drugs when he was 14-years-old. Morgan told his mother from the beginning, he thought it was normal to drink and interact with the police. But it wasn’t until serious things started happening that Morgan realized something was wrong. “I would have to break laws and steal from my family members and my mom in order to support my drug addiction, which I could not control. It got way out of hand. It cost me about six years of my life in prison,” he said. Morgan became tired of constantly trying to fill the void in his life. He soon learned that drugs and alcohol could never make him happy, and he needed to find a better option. Although he felt scared and had no idea what that option looked like, he knew the only thing left was to let God into his life. Morgan experienced the Holy Spirit in a way he could hardly describe. He felt God was telling him to go to the church service in the jail, sponsored by CrossBRIDGE. Soon, he began attending the jail church service more and more. Every time pastors Tina Mitchell or Bill Hart were preaching, Morgan was there. He began to hear about a restoration house from men who were back in jail after finding themselves in trouble again. “They would tell me, ‘Oh man, you don’t want to go there. It sucks—they’ll lock you up for anything,’” Morgan said. “But I didn’t listen to them—I just kept listening to Tina and Bill preach about God. I kept going to church and going to church until finally, I approached Tina and asked her if I could come to one of her half-way houses once I got out of jail.” CrossBRIDGE has four restoration houses; each equipped to house 24 men in recovery. At the time, Mitchell wasn’t sure if there would be space for Morgan, especially because there was a chance he would be going back to prison. But by the grace of God, Morgan was able to leave jail and not have to go to prison. In August of 2009, Mitchell kept her word. Morgan was able to move into a restoration house. After moving into the house, Mitchell helped
Morgan get a job at the Nashville Monell’s Express, a local southern style restaurant, where he began washing dishes. “Tina and I became really close—she got me going in the right direction,” Morgan said.
“Just by doing that, putting God in my recovery plan first, everything about me and my life is completely different and much more real—just better than it use to be. I’ve grown spiritually and I’m still growing today,” - Wilson Morgan Guillory, Morgan’s mother, agrees. For years, she has been praying to God that Morgan would look up, and pray for a change, while following through with that change. She said at the times of these prayers, she had no idea what she was praying for. “God put Tina Mitchell in that jail. Wilson realized he couldn’t do it on his own, and it was his decision to seek Tina out,” she said. Morgan quickly realized that in order to succeed in life, getting high again would not be an option. He began attending AA meetings and was working more and more at the restaurant, while, eventually working his way up to head cook and then manager. “Just by doing that, putting God in my recovery plan first, everything about me and my life is completely different and much more real—just better than it use to be. I’ve grown spiritually and I’m still growing today,” he said. This past summer, Morgan was married to his wife Jenna, also a recovering addict. Together they now have their first child, Cameron. Mitchell, who performed the ceremony, knew that Morgan was the person she needed in charge of her ministry’s new restaurant. “I don’t have any fear at all as far as Wilson or about him being trustworthy—I would trust him with my life, and certainly with this business,” Mitchell said. Morgan Daniels is a senior majoring in mass communication with a journalism concentration and is Editor-In-Chief of The TrevEchoes, TNU’s student newspaper.
Keeping God at a distance: Turning into Christ and toward the poor By Ryan Fasani and Eric Paul
Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near. “Now I’m a church going woman, but we have a problem here in Antioch, and it’s the homeless. I work in a service station and these people steal ice…Nashville has a bad reputation for being soft on the homeless. This community is in danger. We don’t want them here.” I (Eric) sat and listened to her demonize God’s children, responding to her new homeless neighbors more in anger and fear than thoughtfulness and love. This woman spoke in one breath of her Christian faith and in the other breath her dissatisfaction toward the temporary relocation of Tent City. Tent City, under the Hermitage Avenue Bridge, was the home to nearly 150 homeless neighbors until the flood in May of last year. With most of their assets awash in the rising Cumberland, many found shelter with the Red Cross at Lipscomb University. But emergency shelter is only temporary, and in just a week, these homeless brothers and sisters relocated—this time to a privately owned field in Antioch leased to them by the owner. A Town Hall Meeting was called to address this “problem” that had now invaded Antioch. A cacophony of voices formed a unified front against those who had nowhere else to go. The same phrase repeated throughout the night: “We love the homeless, but…” We can all finish the sentence, because we all feel the tension. If we’re honest, our Christian faith and our actions toward those that are without a home are at odds. We believe in the value of all of God’s children (Psalm 139:14), but when we pass a man or woman on the street, we pretend they are not there. We believe that status and prestige are turned over in Jesus’ ministry (Luke 14:12-13), but when we sit by them on the bus we turn our noses. We believe scripture calls us to model God’s hospitality (Romans 12:10-13), but when they approach our churches we lock the doors for fear that they might steal, or worse, unsettle our public image. I (Eric) once met with a pastor of a downtown church who told me that they lock the doors on a Sunday morning because the homeless make the worshippers nervous. What makes these people such a threat? Sometimes I think the church needs a third work of grace, another conversion. Mark’s Gospel begins with John the Baptist preaching a message of repentance, a call for conversion. Jesus then proclaims this same message once John is in prison (Mark 1:15). To repent, literally means a slow turn. It is not a coincidence then that John’s message came with a call for baptism. Baptism, as the church
14 Spring 2011
carries the tradition, is the ritual that dramatizes one’s turning away from the powers and systems that bring death and turning toward new life and hope in Christ’s resurrection (Romans 6). In the early church, this was literally demonstrated when the catechumen (an individual being baptized or confirmed) would turn from facing the West to the East, in anticipation of Christ’s return. After baptism, the catechumen would then join the fellowship of believers for worship in Holy Communion. The whole process narrates a turn (conversion) from isolation toward fellowship in the body of Christ.
loves the homeless, but…” The church is in need of a slow turn from practices that are destructive and toward ones that serve life. If our presupposition from earlier articles stands— namely, that God’s actions in the world generate the mission of the church— neglect of the poor is incongruent with God’s revelation. This is a clear accusation of our unfaithfulness. The church, then, must always be repenting. As we encounter those with little means and without permanent residence, we must perpetually repent of our neglect in loving them well, and turn toward a more hospitable future, God’s future as open to all people.
In other words, baptism turns us toward and ties This type of turning is us to one another and to difficult. We don’t like to be Christ. To be converted ENCM Gallatin Road campus. confronted with the reality of to Christ also means that (Photo by Jordan Taylor) poverty. Like the woman in we are converted to one Antioch, we just don’t want to have to deal with it. another. John puts it this way, “Since God so loved “We love the homeless, but…” us, so we ought to love one another” (1 John 4:15). Baptism, then, in the words of NT Wright, So we give $5 to assuage our guilt. But, giving “is more than merely an image of is not necessarily turning. Giving in the form of unity-in-diversity; it’s a way of saying the church is charity too easily becomes a device to avoid our called to do the work of Christ, to be the means of baptismal call out of isolation and into fellowship. his action in the world.” Baptism teaches that to be Christian is not to think one is Christian. It is not Charity keeps the poor at a distance. In this way, the poor have taught us that the church has not a cognitive assent to predetermined doctrine. To learned how to love as Christ has loved. The poor be Christian is to be grafted into the practices that have become for the church a perpetual reminder form one as a Christian. of our inability to be a faithful, baptized people—to be God’s presence in the world. In the meantime, But, what happens when the church neglects we are missing out of the gift of grace that can be certain people based on economic status? It found through true relationship with these loved appears that the church as Christ’s body and our ones. Perhaps the church is due for a conversion. actions toward the poor are at odds. In short, we don’t embody Christ well in the world. “The church Ryan Fasani, executive director of East Nashville Cooperative Ministry (ENCM), and guest contributor for Micah Mandate.
Eric Paul, resident theologian of East Nashville Cooperative Ministry (ENCM), and guest contributor for Micah Mandate.
-ENCM is an East Nashville based, ecumenical ministry organizing neighbors and churches to develop a food-secure community through emergency food assistance, urban food growing and allocation and nutrition and cooking education. -For other articles in the “Keeping God at a Distance” series by Ryan Fasani and Eric Paul, go to www.micahmandate.com.
Birds of Hope: Two girls go beyond the fad By Brooklyn Lindsey
Here’s proof. Social Justice isn’t a fad. It’s what happens when we spend time in the presence of God. Dear Brooklyn, Thanks so much for all you have done for Birds of Hope! You have really helped to spread the word and encourage us to keep going! I can still remember the Wednesday night that Allyson and I shared our ideas with you. Like us, you were so excited and had all the faith in the world that it would work out! The Facebook page was a brilliant idea. Just yesterday, someone found out about Bird of Hope as she was browsing online! And then as Allyson and I nervously went up on stage to talk to the church, it was comforting to know you were with us. For all this and more, I just wanted to say thanks! Love, Emily (January 2010) Is Biblical social justice a fad among young people? It’s notes like these that lead me to believe that there is a transcending culture that exists above fads—it’s a Jesus culture and our teenagers want to be a part of it.
She took what she had (an ability to sew and some left over fabric) and committed it to God last summer. She and her friend would make hand sewn hanging birds and sell them to raise money. Their goal was $500.
Emily and Allyson attended our church mission trip. During one of the services where we watched a revealing video called “Zambia’s Song,” Emily felt certain that she was being called to do something to help the families without clean water there. She asked God, “What can I do…I’m only 12...What can I give?” When she returned from camp, she decided she would use her gift of sewing to change the world.
They met their goal. In fact, five months later they had raised over $12,000 for bio-sand filters and wells in Zambia. Social justice isn’t a fad for 12-year-olds. It’s not even a word they talk about. What they do know is that God is calling them to flesh out their faith, to be the hands and hearts of Christ in a world that is desperate for Him. I really think people are quick to call the justice work of young people a fad because they don’t understand how they can be so zealous about it. Teenagers and young adults, in my mind, have just the right amount of crazy in them to believe in God’s big dreams.
in God’s presence that we find our purpose and strength! Emily, in the quiet space of her heart, found a place to sit with Jesus. She talked with him. She asked Jesus what she could do and he gave her an idea, courage to tell someone about her big plans and then strength to follow through. The term “social justice” might be en vogue but the kingdom worker mindset among young people will continue because the Spirit of God never ceases to work in and through the willing. God’s Spirit always works through the willing. There’s nothing like having a few middle school students with willing hearts to show us how it’s done.
It’s faith like Emily’s that keeps me preaching the importance of being in God’s presence. Because it’s
Brooklyn Lindsey is an author, youth pastor and speaker. She lives in Florida with her husband Coy and their two daughters.
Photos taken from www.facebook.com/birdsofhope.
www.micahmandate.com Spring 2011
Preparing students for lives of leadership and service.