“A ministry that doesn’t concern itself with the economic well-being of its recipients is just so much wind,” observed Becca Stevens in an interview with Vanderbilt Magazine
. Stevens, an Episcopal priest, is the rare cleric who’s as concerned with alleviating suffering as saving souls. At the nonprofit she founded, Magdalene House, former prostitutes and victims of human trafficking find new careers and get help with problems like drug addiction. The two-year residential program is funded by donations, and by the sale of the all-natural balms, lotions and candles the women make for Thistle Farms
It’s a simple idea, but one so successful that it’s earned Stevens Nashvillian of the Year and Tennessean of the Year nods (from the Scene and The Tennessean, respectively), a Frist Foundation award, and a spot on the White House’s “15 Champions of Change” list. Her new book Snake Oil tells the stories of the women she’s worked with, as well as her own highly personal motives for taking on this work. Stevens discusses the book at a Salon@615 event 6:15 tonight at the downtown Nashville Public library, 615 Church St.