I don’t know about you, but for some time now I’ve wondered what the significance is behind the name of our school. It is really quite extraordinary how much I use the name “Trevecca” without knowing what it means. In hopes of an answer, I did some asking around with the upperclassmen. As it turns out, however, none of them knew, either! So I decided to do some research. I checked out a book in the library called “The Trevecca Story”, which was published for the 75th anniversary of the school. Here are some of the things I found out about what our name signifies. At first I will throw some names, dates, and locations at you, but stick with me to the end and you will see why Trevecca is such a cool name.
In the mid-eighteenth century, there was a wealthy, prominent countess from England that held the title of Lady Huntingdon. Lady Huntingdon was a leader in the Methodist movement that was beginning to emerge at the time. In the 1760′s, she began to notice a big problem: many Methodist students studying to become preachers were under harsh persecution. She sought to do something about it. She discovered the castle of Trevecka in South Wales, located next to a small village bearing the same name. The castle had been built in 1176 and purchased in 1575 by a wealthy woman named Rebecca Prosser. Prosser named the castle Trevecka, which literally translated means “house of Rebecca.”
Okay so I know what you’re thinking: “What?! The only significance to the name of Trevecca is that some lady named a house after herself??” No. Keep reading!
Now back to the 1700′s. In 1768, Lady Huntingdon purchased Trevecka castle and opened it up to be used as a school to train pastors where Evangelical Methodists would not be persecuted. However, it was not just a school for Methodists. The school’s first president, John Fletcher, took office “on the understanding that when students finish their courses, they should be free to enter the service of any denomination.” The school went on to successfully educate students across all walks of life, from all denominations.
Now let’s fast forward all the way to 1901, when the founder of our school, J.O. McClurkan established a college in Nashville, Tennessee to train pastors. The name of this school, no kidding, was “Bible Training School.” Imagine if we had kept that name! Anyways, after the founding of the school, it began to grow. In 1910, upon the purchase of a new school building, it was decided the name needed to be changed (ya think?). J.O. McClurkan, all of those years later, drew inspiration from the Trevecka castle in South Wales. Why would he do that? Because like Lady Huntingdon, McClurkan was interested in a school that accepted all denominations, and one that bridged the gap between Christians of different backgrounds. So in 1910, the name of the school was changed to Trevecca College.
Okay, if you’re still with me, here’s where it gets really cool. Although Trevecka castle got its name because its owner, Rebecca, decided to name it after herself, the name Rebecca is highly significant. Rebekah is a Bible name found in the Old Testament (most notably Isaac’s wife). Like all Hebrew names, Rebekah means something. The root of the name Rebekah is the verb rivkah, which literally means “to bind together.” So, in essence, the word Trevecca could literally be translated as “the house of binding together.” Isn’t that so cool? Even though it was not at first intentional, the name Trevecca came to capture the very core of what the school in South Wales and later in Nashville was all about – binding together people from all walks of life to learn more about Jesus Christ.
So what does this mean for us today? It means that from the very start, all the way back to 1768, Trevecca has been a place centered on community. Even today, that is our primary focus – to be a community that comes together to know, learn from, and worship Jesus. The goal, after hundreds of years, still hasn’t changed. We are still, and always will be, the house of binding together. Sounds like a pretty cool place to be, doesn’t it?