The Justice Conference (an emzee’s eye view)

25 02 2013


If you read my last post, you already know I attended the Justice Conference in Philadelphia this past weekend. Here’s my official conference bag that contained schedules, maps, bios of speakers, and other important items, including my personal badge which alerted the gate keepers to my level of access. Check it out:

IMG_0179Yes. That says All-Access VIP. Sounds very ooh-la-la, doesn’t it? Of course it had nothing whatsoever to do with me. As part of Arts Aftercare and Jubilee’s entourage, I received the same badge and access they gave Curtis and Grace and the rest of their band. All the same, I felt pretty cool wearing it. And I did have a very important job to do. In addition to all the ordinary care-giving responsibilities of an Emzee (that’s my grandma name), I was the official escort of the Bee for Justice.


I guess I should explain that the whole Bee for Justice thing wasn’t premeditated. I gave Harper the bee costume as a late Valentine’s present, and the rest happened spontaneously. When you walk around a huge exhibition hall with an adorable little bee, conversations stop, and people point and smile, and the thought pops into your head, why not call her “Bee for Justice,” snap her photo with various justice-doing folk, and post on instagram and twitter? (At least that thought pops into the head of a self-amusing grandmother.) So that’s what we did.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you The Bee for Justice with . . .


Food for the Hungry. I stopped by this booth originally to meet Lindsey Nobles (at the suggestion of my good friend, Mary DeMuth). I did meet Lindsey, and it turns out she’s awesome just like Mary said.  We enjoyed several nice chats throughout the weekend, but she wasn’t at the booth when I snapped this shot. One of her lucky colleagues gladly accepted the honor.


Anna Del Vecchio, a young woman I met online years ago through Anna Carson’s photo-blogging community, and met in person for the first time in Philly. Such a fun, unexpected treat! She and the bee hit it off right away.


Mike Hogan, Director of Church Mobilization, Northwest, for International Justice Mission (IJM). Mike was so excited about this photo, he whipped out his cell phone to alert IJM’s social media person, “I just had my picture taken with the Justice Bee!” No doubt said SMP shared Mike’s enthusiasm. I mean, sure, you can always tweet an endless stream of inspiring quotes from phenomenal speakers, but a photo op like this doesn’t happen every day. (I should probably divulge that Mike and the bee do have a history. Curtis and Grace are IJM Justice Advocates in his jurisdiction, personal friends of his, and also played at his wedding.)


Sidney of YWAM San Jose, Costa Rica. She and her husband are missionaries working with YWAM’s Freedom Street Ministries, reaching out to victims of human trafficking and others involved in prostitution. Her husband is a music therapist. After this photo op with the Bee for Justice, I told her about Arts Aftercare, and she was excited about the possibility of their bringing the Healing Arts Toolkit to Costa Rica. She later came by the Arts Aftercare booth to talk with Curtis and Grace. This kind of networking is one of the best things about the Justice Conference.


Kristin, wife of Jubilee lead guitarist, Jonny, music therapy intern at Arts Aftercare, and tireless booth host throughout the conference. She’s also way too much fun. What a precious little family, this band!


Wendy Sale, a lovely friend who hosted a church home group we attended years ago, when our kids were teens and hers were tiny. Their family moved to Michigan (maybe ten years ago?), and though we’ve been in touch off and on since, I hadn’t seen her again until this happy reunion. (It was so great hanging with you, Wendy! Thanks for all your help with Bee control!)


Curtis and Grace Romjue of Jubilee (aka, mommy and daddy) and an official conference photographer. This was right before Jubilee’s first performance in the cavernous main hall.


Jubilee on stage. They were so good!


Jumbo-tron shot mid-fade. (Grace is playing keyboard on Curtis’s face. hee hee. Good place to mention that the camera work and sound mixing for this conference were super impressive.) Before their second song, Curtis spoke briefly and, among other things, shared their band’s motto: “Do what you love to undo what you hate.” After the conference I checked the #justice2013 feed on twitter and found these:

2013-02-25 05.40.05 pm 2013-02-25 05.41.04 pm 2013-02-25 05.41.45 pm

How fun is that? Made my heart swell with joy! Other happy Emzee moments:


Curtis and Grace in a side hallway warming up their voices. (I don’t think they realized their gorgeous harmonies echoed out into the exhibition hall. Our gain.)



Band members chatting with attendees at the Arts Aftercare booth.

Oh, and Friday night?



A screening of Arts Aftercare’s documentary, Do What You Love to End What You Hate, kicked off the Film Festival. Then Curtis spoke briefly about their work, right before Gungor took the stage. (Yes, that Gungor.) Grace, the kids, and I left early, though. The Bee for Justice and her baby sister needed to go night-night. (You may or may not have noticed that babies are generally unimpressed by how many hits your song has on YouTube. But a hotel swimming pool on the seventh floor? Now that’s cool.)

As official conference Emzee, I heard only a few snippets of the amazing conference speakers’ sessions, but I did get to connect with some wonderful people, spend precious time with beloveds, color with an adorable bee . . .


and snuggle a cuddly little bear . . .


and I’m already making plans to join Jubilee and Arts Aftercare in L.A. for Justice Conference 2014. Maybe I’ll even set up a Bee for Justice photo booth? Anything for the cause.

Hope to see you there!

Giving thanks in community for (#695 – 714)

safe travels
doers of the Word
meeting God’s people everywhere
Harper Sparrow
Malia Eden
enduring friendship
warm welcome home from George
Mom not recognizing me, and yet . . .
grace to embrace the hard, hard gift of Alzheimer’s
a new heart, an eternal hope



14 responses

25 02 2013
Patricia Hunter

Oh, Jeanne…you are just too cool! And that Bee for Justice and Baby Bear….what joy!!! Love and miss you, Patricia

26 02 2013

Thanks, Patricia! I love and miss you, too. One of these days (hopefully soon?) I’m going to get back to regular blog reading and writing. Hope all is well with you, dear friend. xo

25 02 2013
Sharon D

Love this post, love creative you, and love that little Bee!

26 02 2013

Thanks, Sharon! Love you, too! 🙂

25 02 2013

This is JUST TOO COOL FOR WORDS, Emzee Jeanne. LOVE every picture and what your kids are doing. What a gift you were to them – and they to you. Thanks so much for sharing it here.

26 02 2013

Aw, thanks, Diana! It was so much fun to come alongside them in their beautiful work. I thank God every day for His hand and favor on their lives, and for His faithfulness — not only to bless, but to humble, discipline, and teach according to His kind and perfect wisdom. What a good and glorious God we serve! Love to you.

26 02 2013
D. Farrow

Oh Jeanne! What a joy to know you’ve partnered with International Justice Mission. I get their e-mails, and I use them as a basis to pray for an end to human-trafficking in my city and throughout the nation. Also, thanks for sharing pictures of the Justice Bee. She’s such a cutie! 😀

26 02 2013

Thanks, Daniel! Yes, IJM is a beautiful ministry. Ten years ago, Curtis heard Gary Haugen speak and was inspired to make his band a registered non-profit and to use the platform of music to fight human trafficking and modern-day slavery. It’s so amazing to see what God is doing with that calling.

26 02 2013
Nancy Franson

Ahhh! My daughter used to have a bee costume–this brought back so many memories! I know many dear young friends who attended the Justice Conference last week–I’ll have to ask if they spotted the adorable little bee 🙂 Clicking through some of your links now to see what I missed.

26 02 2013

Fun! Do let me know if any of your friends spotted the Bee or connected with Curtis and Grace. For that matter, if they didn’t connect and would like to, send them my way and I’ll make the introduction! xo

26 02 2013
Mary DeMuth (@MaryDeMuth)

Love this post. I have a crush on it. Thanks for sharing!

26 02 2013

Thanks, Marzipan! (That “entourage” was for you. xo)

28 02 2013

You have the sweetest little family, Emzee! These photos made me smile like a great big dork x

28 02 2013

Thanks, dearie. Great big dork smiles are the best kind. Much love to you. xo

Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

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