100 Years of Ministry

Congratulations are in order for Eleventh Street Church of Christ in East Nashville upon their 100th Anniversary of ministry.  Bob Kerce, prof emeritus at Lipscomb, delivered the anniversary sermon.  He was credited with much of the push, in 1959, to get them in their current building.  Halcyon days, he said. 

The first time for us visit 11th St., we were warmly welcomed.  (Jeff and Paula Todd: we sat in front of the nicest couple who know you).  I also spied at a distance someone I went to high school with, but didn’t see him after the service to catch up.  Bob’s sermon emphasized that there is much yet to do, and to go forward we must embrace the spirit of obedience. 

One unexpected change for us was their procedure for the Lord’s Supper and the contribution.  The sequence of worship was: opening announcements, a couple songs, a prayer, a couple songs, Lord’s Supper, sermon, invitation song, contribution, and dismissal song and prayer.  There was no prayer before the contribution, they just stood up, passed the trays, and before you knew it there was an announcement or two, then the dismissal.  Laura and I agreed that it was nice for once not to have a Lord’s Supper with three elements: bread, wine and checks. 

They had an attractive bulletin board of old directory pictures (neat idea), but no booklet or special program.  I was hoping to get something like that for our files at DCHS.  I estimate there were about 100 (maybe more) folks there. 

Joe Tomlinson is preaching for them now.  A nicer guy with such a tender heart for ministry you will not meet.  I met Joe today for the first time in person, but we’ve talked before.  Joe’s son Daniel was one of the first guys to befriend me at Lipscomb on the 5th floor of High Rise.   Joe and my dad knew each other from DLC days.  Judging from our conversation today, we need more Joe Tomlinson’s in Churches of Christ.

11th Street was one of the early 20th century church plants by a fellow named Joe McPherson.  McPherson was a mail carrier who worked tirelessly to preach and teach among Nashville congregations, holding gospel meetings often…particularly with the intent of beginning new evangelistic communities.  11th Street is but one of about a dozen churches he established (maybe more than that).

I’m nurturing an on-going research project on Nashville Churches of Christ.  As part of that research I need to pin down their former location(s?) and post some history and photographs.  Scouting out the storefront in which they began, and then their first building, would be a good lunch-hour project this week while the weather is nice, the trees still have leaves and the sky is radiant blue. 

One project Laura and I have pondered since before we were married is how one can visit a different Church of Christ in Nashville each week for two years and not repeat churches.  We said many times we’d like to try it.  This morning had us back saying we’d like to visit around more.


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