By Miriam Rixon
After much planning and research, a canceled trip and nearly two years of waiting, a group of history, religion, music and film students spent the week of fall break in Rome.
The Theological and Moral Formation in Early Christian Worship class was originally planned as one of the university’s FLARE (Faculty Led Academic Research Experience) projects in 2020. The idea was that a group of students from several departments in the university were going to travel to Rome to make a documentary about early church practices.
But Italy was one of the first countries to experience a Covid-19 outbreak during the early spring of 2020 so the trip was canceled.
“When the pandemic broke loose, we obviously couldn’t travel,” said Timothy Gaines, associate professor of religion. “This trip was our best attempt at recovering the trip that we lost in 2020.”
The money for the initial trip was non-refundable, so it was considered beneficial to postpone the trip to a more convenient time rather than cancel it altogether. Several of the students who went on the trip had already graduated.
“Several of the people who were scheduled to go on the trip in 2020 have graduated and are no longer Trevecca students, and so some of them did not travel to Italy with the team,” said Gaines. “It was definitely a flexible trip because half the people we took were recent Trevecca graduates rather than Trevecca students.”
When the trip was originally set to take place in 2020 there were a total of 26 people going, including students and staff. That number dropped down to 19.
The Theological and Moral Formation in Early Christian Worship class consisted of religion, history, music and film majors who were originally going to Italy to work on a mini-documentary series based on the first four centuries of the Christian church’s history.
“The original intent was to go over and film documentaries that allowed music majors to compose music, and we didn’t get to do any of that because of the pandemic,” said Gaines.
The students were unable to film the documentaries but were still able to see their research come to life when exploring how Roman culture shaped early Christian tradition, said Gaines.
The trip lasted 8 days, during which the team explored Italy.
“We went all over Rome. We went to the Vatican. We went to some of the old Papal Basilicas, which are the big churches that are there,” said Seth Conley, associate professor of communication studies.
According to Trevecca’s policy, all student and faculty members had to get tested for Covid-19 48 hours prior to their flight. All international travel requires a negative Covid test result to leave and re-enter the country. Trevecca’s clinic helped achieve this.
“The clinic was absolutely fantastic, and we could not have done this trip without the good work of Samantha Craighead and the rest of the team at the clinic,” said Gaines.