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UC Represented at 2013 Passion Conference


On Tuesday, January 1, 2013, the University of the Cumberlands (UC) had several students attend the 2013 Passion Conference held in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. Students attending the conference included Karlie Blackburn (Corbin, KY), Julie Paris (Ashland, KY), Kendel Vickers (Corbin, KY), Micah Ward (Barbourville, KY), and Tyler Ward (Brodhead, KY). They were able to make the trip through the sponsorship of UC’s Baptist Campus Ministries (BCM).

This year’s theme at Passion was, “A Jesus Generation United for His Fame.” This union is also called the “End It” movement. The Passion team partners with several organizations locally and globally that aid in fighting for freedom and healing for those who have been victims of slavery and sex trafficking, both abroad and in the United States.

“I went to Passion honestly because one of my friends from church told me it was a great experience to grow closer to God,” said student, Karlie Blackburn. “However, not only was it that, but I learned a lot about human slavery and sex trafficking and how to begin raising awareness for this.”

While at the conference, the group was able to hear Christian speakers like Louie Giglio, Beth Moore, Francis Chan, John Piper and Judah Smith. All 60,000 students and leaders joined together in worship that renewed their spirits. They were also able to help support the fight for freedom as over $3,000,000 was donated during the conference from everyone in attendance and watching via live web stream.

“I went to Passion because I wanted to experience God and be surrounded by sixty thousand-plus believers,” said Kendel Vickers. “It was a huge blessing that moved me and bothered me. I was bothered that 27 million people every day are victimized by slavery of some capacity. Not only does this happen throughout the globe, but in our backyards as well.”

Through the knowledge gained at Passion, Kendel has setup a petition in the state of Kentucky that he will present in February at the Capital to try to get a Safe Harbor Law Bill passed. The law will treat under aged children involved in sex trafficking as victims rather than criminals, protecting them from prosecution. Kendel will present the petition and make a speech during the press conference. Anyone wishing to join the cause can contact him through Facebook.

“Each year more than 500,000 under aged children (80% female) are used in the sex trafficking industry,” said Kendel. “This bothered me! So I began looking up how I could get involved in my state.”

While also on the trip to Passion, everyone in attendance was broken up into community groups of a few thousand and those groups were broken down into family groups of about eight. Students were placed with people they didn’t know and shared with others from all over the nation.

“The power of the Passion movement is truly indescribable,” said UC sponsor, Gina Bowlin, Chair of the Department of Human Services. “As a professor who teaches about child slavery and genocides in my courses, it was very encouraging to see students becoming passionate about these issues and to see organizations that are making a difference. There was actually a wall of pictures of children and adults who had been rescued from slavery based on the work of the organization with which Passion partners. It’s great to know that the money we give toward the cause can produce visible results that truly help those who have no voice.”

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; nine pre-professional programs; twelve graduate degrees, including two doctorate, two specialist and eight master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs. For more information visit