Trillia Newbell, consultant on women’s initiatives for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist Convention, spoke about diversity during chapel on Wednesday, September 3.
Chapel was packed with students, faculty, staff and community members to hear Newbell’s challenge to love as Jesus loved, across all differences.
She focused on the temptation Christians face to shy away from building relationships with those of different racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds.
“There are a lot of things going on in our nation,” Newbell said. “There’s lots of division. There’s lots of hate.”
Newbell challenged the audience to see all people, regardless of ethnicity, race, economic status or beliefs, as created equally by God.
“Throughout the new testament, Christ related to people who were different,” said Newbell. “The Gospel is the foundation for which we love one another.”
Newbell said she believes the most important thing for people to gather from her message is that “the pursuit is about love. It’s about loving our neighbor, our friends, our brothers in Christ.”
Jenny Sanders, sophomore special education major, said she believes she now has a better understanding of diversity.
“Diversity is not just race, but it is different beliefs, different communities on campus,” said Sanders. “It really helped me to understand diversity better.”
“It was a great challenge for us,” said Sanders. “It was about getting out of your comfort zone and not just finding not just people you are friends with but about finding people who might fall through the cracks if we don’t.”
Newbell, her husband of eleven years and their two children moved to Franklin, Tenn. when she took her current position with the Southern Baptist Convention approximately a year ago.
When she is not writing and speaking, Newbell works as a fitness trainer. She is currently training for a triathlon.