Today’s shooting at Burnette Chapel Church brings great sadness. The Churches of Christ community in Nashville can be a very close-knit web of relationships, kinships, and friendships. When Laura and I taught at Ezell-Harding we formed many friendships and some of those reach into Burnette Chapel Church, including Joey and Peggy Spann. Other connections revolve around common connections we have all over town. Today’s tragedy touches the web in all kinds of ways.
The last time I was at Burnette Chapel, in 2011 I think, I came in just a few minutes after the evening services began. Joey was very warm and kindly introduced me to several folks who could help me with my history pursuit. Burnette Chapel is an old congregation with deep roots in that part of the Nashville/Davidson County community.
Some time ago I posted a few tidbits about Burnette Chapel history on the Nashville Churches of Christ Facebook group:
Samuel Parker Pittman was a fixture, first as a student, then on the faculty, at Nashville Bible School/David Lipscomb College. He preached his first sermon at Burnette Chapel in the fall of 1892, at the ripe age of 16 years. This is the old Burnette Chapel building, the site of which is now under the waters of Percy Priest Lake. The current building is not far from the lake. These photos are from the 1954 biography of S. P. Pittman. Also, TB Larimore preached his first sermon at Burnette Chapel while he was a young student at Tolbert Fanning’s Franklin College. This is a fine example of a congregation growing preachers the organic, natural way: slowly, patiently, lovingly, fanning the flame of the gifts of the Spirit. Burnette Chapel was not unique in this regard; neither were Pittman and Larimore. Jim Allen got his start this way, so did David Lipscomb, Lytton Alley, the Cullum’s, Joe McPherson, Marshall Keeble, and a host of local elders and deacons who regularly taught and fed the flocks in addition to carrying full-time employment responsibilities in the marketplace and family responsibilities at home.
My thoughts, now, though are not on the past, but the very much on the pressing grief and shock of the moment.