The ENGAGE Youth Theology Initiative is a 7-day pre-college program that emphasizes experiential learning both in and outside of the classroom. This year, students have the opportunity to earn two hours of college credit for completing ENGAGE.
Together students will explore the contemporary call to racial justice and healing, the histories of both the church and the U.S. Civil Rights movement, and what it means to live a life of Christian leadership and service. ENGAGE seeks to develop cultural competencies, compassion, and empathy in young people by means of shared narratives, conflict transformation skills, active listening, and constructive dialogue.
Field trips to various sites along Nashville’s Civil Rights Trail will be part of students’ experiential and interactive learning. Stops may include:
- The National Museum of African-American Music
- The Civil Rights Reading Room at the Downtown Public Library
- Sites of the 1960s Sit-In Movements and Freedom Rides
- Fisk University’s Jubilee Hall and Memorial Chapel, plus a chance to view art and historical archives at the John Hope and Aurelia E. Franklin Library
- Historic Jefferson Street
- Griggs Hall at American Baptist College, where John Lewis was a student
- The Davidson County Courthouse and “Witness Walls”
- Fort Negley Visitors Center and Park
- Plus the opportunity to hear first hand accounts from those who participated in the 1950s-60s Freedom movement, and who continue to work for racial equity today in various ways
Each stop on the Civil Rights tour immerses students, counselors, and faculty in intergenerational conversations rooted in that past struggle and challenges learners to think about the work that remains in our society. One former participant writes: “I was unprepared for the depth of emotional response, personal soul-searching and corporate reflection which this field trip invited [us] to enter into.”
ENGAGE YOUTH THEOLOGY INITIATIVE
This particular model of learning moves participants to consider their own responses to racial injustice as they stand in the physical spaces of past events and allow the voices and faces of history to inform and frame their actions for the future. The field trips prompt students to ask thoughtful, theological questions concerning the mistreatment of all oppressed peoples, using cross-cultural dialogue and intergenerational, non-violent engagement.
Meet some of the key faculty in the ENGAGE Youth Theology Initiative.
Raymond Carr, an assistant professor of Theology and Ethics at Pepperdine University from 2012 to 2019, has taught students in Heidelberg, Germany; Lausanne, Switzerland; Shanghai, China; and has served as visiting faculty for the ENGAGE initiative since 2017. Dr. Carr is a compelling classroom educator who works extensively at the intersection of Christian theology, aesthetics, and the task of racial healing. The course he teaches will explore “Theologies Born of Struggle.” Carr holds an M.Div. from Pepperdine University and a Ph.D. in systematic and philosophical theology from Graduate Theological Union. He is the author of Theology in the Mode of Monk: Barth and Cone in Revelation and Freedom and “Fired in the Crucible of Oppression: Toward a Theology of Spiritual Freedom,” a chapter in a festschrift honoring Charles Long. A USAF veteran who hails from Petersburg, Virginia, he is married to gospel singer/songwriter Joi Carr, who is also a professor of English & Film at Pepperdine University.
Claire Davidson Frederick
Claire Davidson Frederick is a Faculty Fellow in the College of Bible and Ministry at Lipscomb University and serves as Program Director for the ENGAGE Youth Theology Initiative. She oversees elements of planning and recruitment; coordinates course curriculum and field trips; and provides input regarding theological and academic content for the program. Frederick is a Nashville native who spent 15 years in the country music industry as a published singer/songwriter before going into ministry full time. She is a graduate of Rutgers University (B.A.), the Hazelip School of Theology at Lipscomb University (M.Div.), and recently received her Doctor of Ministry degree with honors from McCormick Theological Seminary. Her project entitled “Gathered with the Saints: Reimagining Worship in the Age of Coronavirus” won the John Randall Hunt Prize for Outstanding D.Min. Thesis and Academic Record. She teaches undergraduate Bible courses and worship ministry at Lipscomb and facilitated two songwriting workshops at the Tennessee Prison for Women as part of the Lipscomb LIFE Program. She is a church planter and ministry professional with 20 years of experience leading youth camps, family ministries, retreats, and worship.
Jacquelynn Day White
Jacquelynn Day White serves as adjunct faculty in both the College of Professional Studies and in the College of Bible and Ministry at Lipscomb University. She earned her B.S. in Nursing from the University of South Alabama and received both her Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from the Hazelip School of Theology at Lipscomb. White teaches undergraduate courses, including Luke/Acts, Spiritual Disciplines, The Story of Israel, and The Story of Jesus. She also serves as teaching faculty and Camp Nurse for the ENGAGE Youth Theology Initiative. A native of Tennessee, she currently works as a Registered Nurse in various Psychiatric settings and in Community Health Nursing. She and her husband Robert have three children and reside in Spring Hill, Tennessee. They are members of the Maury Hills Church family.
Richard T. Hughes
Richard T. Hughes has worked at the intersection of religion and American culture over the course of a 45-year career, specializing in religion and American identity, religion and race in America, religion and American higher education, and the role of Christian primitivism in American life. His 17 published books include Myths America Lives By (University of Illinois Press), Christian America and the Kingdom of God (University of Illinois Press), Reviving the Ancient Faith: the Story of Churches of Christ in America (ACU Press), and How Christian Faith can Sustain the Life of the Mind (Eerdmans). Having taught at Pepperdine University, Southwest Missouri State University, Abilene Christian University and Messiah College, Dr. Hughes currently serves as scholar-in-residence in the College of Bible and Ministry at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee.