Imagery of Regent people and campus

Seek the Welfare of the City Held at Regent

By Rachel Judy | April 10, 2012

Bob Woodson

Across America, many struggle in the face of financial hardship, broken families and violent neighborhoods. As both scholars and people of faith, Regent University's School of Undergraduate Studies (RSU) recently hosted the Heritage Foundation's "Seek the Welfare of the City" conference, a two-night event designed to address those needs and look at solutions for change in these areas.

Held April 3-4 in the Moot Courtroom, students, faculty and community members gathered to hear distinguished speakers and panelists from Regent and a number of local community organizations.

"We care about cities, we care about the people who live in cities, we care about their ability to flourish as human beings, and we care about the fact that many of them are trapped in economic crises," explained Dr. Ryan Messmore, a research fellow in the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation.

"The conference provided a tremendous opportunity for the Regent community to be informed about and discuss how to actualize the Great Commands of loving God and our neighbors, especially when the latter are poor and needy," said Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riano, RSU's dean. "RSU was pleased to collaborate with The Heritage Foundation and to provide such a great learning opportunity for our students."

On the first night, the featured speaker was Dr. Jay Richards, senior fellow and director of research at the Discovery Institute. Richards' address was titled "Why Good Intentions Aren't Good Enough" and discussed the danger of enacting social and financial policies without adequately looking at their long-range impact.

"When it comes to economic and political policy, the intended purposes of the policy don't determine the effects of the policy," he explained, citing examples like rent control and the financial crisis. "You can actually master the art of economics if you can learn to ask this one trillion dollar question: 'And then what will happen?'"

Richards was followed by panelists Brad Jacob, associate professor in the School of Law, and Margo Taylor, the co-founder of the Park Place School. Their discussion, like Richards' address, explored what effective solutions to social and economic problems within an urban setting would look like.

On the second night, the discussion turned to practical application. Keynote speaker Bob Woodson, the founder and president of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, titled his address "My Neighbor's Keeper" and called for an increase in entrepreneurs and venture capitalists willing to support visionaries in enacting solutions.

"Solutions exist if we can just be more creative in how we organize and recognize who our leaders are," he said.

The second panel featured representatives of non-profit organizations in the Hampton Roads, Va., area discussing specific ways their organizations are seeking to support and improve the welfare of their city. Their remarks were designed to answer the question: "Who's Responsible?"

The panelists were Ken Gerry, founding pastor of New Life Christian Center (Norfolk, Va.); Vernicia Eure, director of client services for the Crisis Pregnancy Center of Tidewater (South Hampton Roads); Michael Jackson Jr., owner of Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services (Richmond, Va.); and Kevin Turpin, founder and director of the Life Enrichment Center (Norfolk, Va.).

Learn more about Regent University's School of Undergraduate Studies.

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