|International Justice Mission (IJM), a Christian human rights organization that rescues victims of violence, sexual exploitation and oppression, has adopted Northwestern College’s Season of Justice program as a national program to be used by other IJM chapters.
Cheryl Noble, who directs student ministries at IJM, says her organization was quite impressed with Northwestern’s program, which was held last April. “We really liked the depth of the Season of Justice portfolio. It incorporates all the aspects of involvement that we ask our campus chapters to be a part of,” she says. “The most impressive part of the portfolio to me is the emphasis on prayer. IJM wouldn’t be able to do the work we do without the support of the thousands we have praying for us everyday. College students play a large role in that.”
IJM was also very impressed by the drama piece which was written by Ryan Pendell, now a senior at Northwestern. “It created an emotional connection with the audience that led them to want to take action and seek justice for the oppressed,” Noble says.
Northwestern’s chapter of IJM was initiated by the dean of spiritual formation and vocation, Dr. Keith Anderson. The chapter has been in existence since September 2004.
The core team of the Northwestern chapter of IJM, led by then-junior Jackie Carlson, organized the Season of Justice, a series of events that lasted from April 11–21. Events included drama, a justice Bible study, a movie showing and discussion, prayer vigils, a prayer tent, a letter-writing campaign, and a praise and worship service. Dr. Appianda Arthur of IJM’s Washington, D.C., office was the guest speaker for the celebration night.
Dave Nonnemacher, Northwestern’s service learning coordinator and adviser for the IJM chapter, says the organization is based on the biblical mandate to help the oppressed and free them from bondage. He says Northwestern’s chapter also aligns itself with the vision of IJM to encourage believers to participate in biblical justice.
IJM plans to keep the vast majority of the content of Northwestern’s Season of Justice program, calling the national program “Justice Week” and making slight changes to ensure the language is consistent with IJM’s message and branding, according to Noble. A number of campus chapters are already developing similar events, and International Justice Mission plans to offer Northwestern’s as a model. “We are hoping this will provide a great programmatic backbone for how they will impact their campus to learn more about God’s heart for the oppressed and how their campus can be involved in the work of IJM,” Noble says.
Northwestern’s second Season of Justice will be held from March 20–30. Student coordinator Amanda Allen says some of the events will include a film, a juried art auction and a guest speaker from IJM.
“It is my hope that the 2006 Season of Justice will not only be a time to raise awareness on our campus and in our community about justice issues around the world, but also a time for spiritual growth. It is our belief, and the belief of IJM, that God cares deeply about justice. As Christians, we are called to seek God, and to do that fully we must also seek justice,” Allen says.
For more information about Northwestern’s IJM chapter or the Season of Justice, contact Dave Nonnemacher at 712-707-7259 or firstname.lastname@example.org.