Joseph Avenue Church of Christ

“May God’s blessing attend every sermon preached and every exhortation delivered over this sacred board. God bless every child of God at Joseph Ave. and crown their every (effort) for the advancement of the cause of Christ made by them in harmony with His will. This the prayer of an humble child of God,” inscribed B.C. Wilkes, Sept. 25th, 1905 on the underside of the pulpit he made for a new congregation.


A relatively young church itself, the Foster Street Christian Church in 1905 saw a need as the neighborhood developed to the north.  They greatly encouraged Joe McPherson in his tent meetings.  A new congregation was formed and later that same year, on the same lot, the church completed a building on the west side of Joseph Avenue at Scott Street (now Richardson Street).  The congregation of about nine families assembled to be taught and exhorted from Mr. Wilkes’ pulpit.


By 1921, the building being too small, the congregation built a larger building and moved across the street to the east side of Joseph Avenue.  This building still stands, serving the neighborhood in gospel preaching and the care of souls; it is now used an outreach center and Children’s Bible Theater by Nashville Inner City Ministry, an outreach of local Churches of Christ.


The work of the church consisted of preaching the gospel, caring for sick, the poor and the needy, and supporting missions, both foreign and domestic.  Revivals were held by some of the best-known writers, editors and evangelists in Churches of Christ, such as (among others) James A. Allen, D. H. Friend, R. H. Boll, Charles R. Brewer, C. E. W. Dorris, J. S. Ward, S. H. Hall, and Hall Laurie Calhoun.  Converts and additions to the church during these early years number into the hundreds.  By 1939, Joseph Avenue Church of Christ had a membership of about 450.


In the early 1970’s plans were made to relocate further north to the Madison-Bellshire area.  The congregation is now known as Kemper Heights Church of Christ and has worshiped on Tuckahoe Drive in Madison since 1974.  Mr. Wilkes’ pulpit is yet in use in the teaching and exhorting ministry of the Kemper Heights Church.

2 thoughts on “Joseph Avenue Church of Christ

  1. Hello, my name is Julie Nicholas Mitchell. During the years of 1973 – 74 (I could be off a little on that time) I was part of a group that worshipped at the Joseph Ave congregation. The group was spearheadded by L. E. Cranford and his wife Marjorie, their son, Dr. Scott Cranford and several others. I worked for L.E. at Nashville Securities (he sold church bonds for the churches of Christ) and also went on 2 tours of the Middle East that the Cranfords hosted. They purchased the building on Joseph Ave. and we cleaned, painted and encouraged other members from various congregations to come and help us rebuild the work in that part of Nashville. I thought I had a picture of the building from that time but I cannot locate it. I lost touch with the Cranfords after I married and left Nashville and I don’t know if L.E. and Marjorie are still living or not. I did find Scott’s office address and his phone number – he might can help you with more information and pictures. Dr. Scott Cranford, 7629 Hwy 70S, Nashville, TN 37221 615-646-6330. I had also worshipped at the Brookmeade Church of Christ for several years before that time and I was originally from Union City, TN (Exchange St. Church of Christ). My husband, Tom Atkinson, has also been in touch with you on this site as he also does research on older congregations of the Lord’s Church. I really hope this will be of some help to you because I know that finding information for history studies can be difficult. If you do get in touch with Dr. Cranford he would remember me by my maiden name, Julie Nicholas.

    Thank you and we appreciate your hard work!!!!
    Julie Nicholas Mitchell

    • Thank you Julie for the kind words and the info. I would like to see any photos of Joseph Ave from that time period. I am aware of the Cranfords and the Northeast Church at Joseph Ave, but as my to-do list is so long have not yet initiated contact. I think their efforts in that neighborhood are worthy of documentation and whatever records or paper remains must be preserved as witness to ministry in/with/to a changed neighborhood

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s