A visit by the Director of The Anglican Centre in Rome to Dallas, Texas helped to inspire the formation of our Project Moses Ministry.
In April 2015, Archbishop Sir David Moxon, Global Freedom Network Executive Committee member and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s representative to the Holy See came to Saint Michael to speak at a symposium on human trafficking. This symposium was co-hosted by the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas, and the American Friends of the Anglican Center in Rome. Also speaking at this event was parishioner Jeanne Phillips, former U.S. Ambassador and Advisory Board Member of New Friends New Life.
Mark and I attended this symposium, although we did not have any knowledge of the human trafficking issue—globally or locally. After hearing the presentations that day, Mark and I discussed the information and were overwhelmed with this new knowledge. Why did we not know more about it?
As days passed, we couldn’t let it go. There was a strong tug at our hearts! After reflection, we realized it was God gently guiding us to embrace this topic of human trafficking. To not let it go. To learn more. To find out how we might fit into the work being done against the issue. Could we possibly make a difference?
In 2016, Project Moses was founded as a Mission and Outreach Ministry with a mission of highlighting the truths of human trafficking and sharing the light of Christ with its survivors. Three primary focus areas were chosen to begin the ministry. These were education and awareness, advocacy, and forming partnerships with established agencies to expand our outreach as a ministry.
The words of encouragement from Archbishop Moxon inspired us. The missions of The Global Freedom Network and the Anglican Centre in Rome have propelled Project Moses to grow and become a resource in the North Texas community for the fight against human trafficking. Significant milestones for our ministry have been our participation as board members of the North Texas Coalition Against Human Trafficking, our monthly routine of cooking and serving meals to trafficking survivors and their families, and the 2018 Symposium on Human Trafficking: Fighting For Freedom that was conducted for the community at our church.
Another educational event was hosted by Project Moses in January of 2022, Fighting For Freedom: Understanding Sex Trafficking. This event featured a distinguished panel of executives and survivors that lead several of the most impactful global organizations working to eradicate human trafficking including The Human Trafficking Institute, The Rebecca Bender Initiative, Savhera, and The Kleinert Foundation.
In addition to these milestones, Project Moses has developed a scholarship program to aid trafficking survivors in their education and rehabilitation. In 2022, the Project Moses Ambassador Program was also initiated to provide a closer engagement with our most important community agencies. The purpose of this program is to become closer allies with the direct care of survivors and to better understand the needs associated with their rehabilitation.
A future aspiration of Project Moses is a residential facility in our community to help survivors with their rehabilitation path. It was discovered that long-term residential care is a significant need for survivors in our state. Thistle Farms and their Magdalene program is a model we intend to use as we develop these plans.
As the work of Project Moses continues, we also plan to partner with The Anglican Centre as it continues to work on this issue globally. Under the direction of Archbishop Ian Ernest, Archbishop of Canterbury’s Personal Representative to the Holy See and Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, the Centre will lead efforts in awareness, education, and advocacy for the fight against human trafficking.
We were honored to present the Project Moses story at a recent meeting of the American Friends of the Anglican Centre in Nashville. The audience was the Board of Trustees, led by Saint Michael’s Tony Briggle, Chairman, and Archbishop Ian Ernest and his wife Kamla. The response of our ministry’s story was overwhelming and prompted the Archbishop and Kamla to invite us to submit our story for publication in the Anglican Centre newsletter, Centro. Project Moses will also help to enhance education and communication about the global human trafficking issue throughout the Anglican Communion.
With this recent reconnection with the Anglican Centre, Project Moses has truly “come full circle”. Project Moses plans to host a pilgrimage to the Anglican Centre in Rome in 2024 to focus on the work being done within the Anglican Communion. With these plans being developed, our ministry inspiration from 2015 will take us back to the origin of our first education about the human trafficking issue that affects us all.
Join us in the fight against human trafficking. Learn what’s happening every day in your community. Be an advocate for survivors.
**This article was written by Mark and Terry Demler and was featured in the 2023 Spring Archangel.