Just how close is human trafficking to you today? Come hear the answer to that question and find out how we can make a difference in the lives of those affected by it. Becca Stevens will be speaking about this tragic reality in the Birmingham area at Canterbury United Methodist Church on October 1, 2014, at 6 p.m.
“It’s an overwhelming thought that is just hitting our radars here in Birmingham,” says Annie Skinner, Director of Learning Ministries at Canterbury UMC . “As part of a caring and compassionate group, what does it mean to us and what can we do about it? Becca’s visit gives us the opportunity to see, hear, and think about this problem – and then ask what are my next steps.”
Rev. Stevens is an Episcopal priest and founder of Magdalene – a residential community of women in Nashville, Tenn., who have survived prostitution, trafficking, and addiction. This event is a rare chance to hear one of the premiere ministers and speakers in the U.S. proclaiming love as the most powerful force for social change.
Becca Stevens is also the creator of Thistle Farms, a social enterprise run by the women of Magdalene. Thistle Farms produces natural bath and body products like balms, soaps, and lotions that are “as good for the earth as they are for the body.” While working at Thistle Farms, women learn skills in manufacturing, packaging, marketing, sales, and administration. Through the sale of these products Magdalene and Thistle Farms are able to provide housing, food, healthcare, therapy, and education to their residents without charging them or receiving governmental funding.
Rev. Stevens explains, “I had all the tools I needed to sell the promise of healing. I had a heart full of gratitude, a fair amount of brokenness, a healthy dose of skepticism, a hankering for entrepreneurship, and a big desire to help the underdog. All of those ingredients, mixed with being a priest and an advocate for women on the streets, created a recipe for changing lives.”
A prolific writer, Becca Stevens has been featured in the New York Times and on ABC World News, NPR, PBS, CNN, and Huffington Post. She was named by the White House as one of 15 Champions of Change for violence against women in 2011.
“The art of healing is a huge gift–the central sacrament a community of faith can offer–yet it is also one of the most abused aspects of the church. We have to be willing to banish all judgment and love each other in order to heal well,” adds Rev. Stevens.
This is the second event in a series of three at Canterbury this fall, featuring authors of national prominence. The third speaker will be Rachel Held Evans, who is scheduled to appear on November 16.
This speaking engagement is free and open to the public. More information can be found online at www.canterburyumc.org/fallseries.