The Library as a Place to Stand

A couple weeks ago I spoke at the 2017 board meeting of the Friends of the Abilene Public Library.  Tasked with a making a speech of 20 minutes (or less) on a topic of my choosing, I decided to preach to the choir.

This group is already committed to libraries.  They donate thousands of hours on behalf of our city library in the form of facility and program development, publicity, fundraising, and advocacy.  Their work is largely unheralded because so much of its behind the scenes.  But all of it is vital work.

So, what to say?  Good question.  I decided to articulate why their support is so important and motivate them for continued shared work on behalf of our libraries.  It is an inductive speech: it builds a case to ask a question.  Throughout the speech I repeat refrains like ‘this is what we know.’ I want to underscore what I think are our shared values and having articulated them, use them to ask a question to move us forward.  Again, I’m preaching to the choir, but I want the choir to keep at it.

Here is the full speech: The Library as a Place to Stand.  It is also available on the Spoken Word page.

 

 

 

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The Fisk Jubilee Singers and the Stone-Campbell Movement

One distinctive contribution Nashville made (and still makes) to the world of choral music, particularly Negro spirituals, is through the long history of the Fisk Jubilee Singers.

A fine early source of information about the group is The Story of the Jubilee Singers; With Their Songs. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1875.  Authored by J. B. T. Marsh, it went through several editions and printings.  My copy is a second edition (likely a second printing).  Later editions vary and there are a few editions online.  The quote below indicates an intersection of the Stone-Campbell movement with this world-famous group:

“Every member of the company is a professing Christian, one or two having been converted in connection with the religious influences that have be God’s lessing ever attended the work.  The unsectarian feature of the work at Fisk could not, perhaps, be better illustrated than by the fact that the singers represent in their church-membership five different denominations–the Methodist, Baptist, Congregationalist, Presbyterian, and “Christian.”  Whenever the exigencies of hotel life or railway travel do not prevent, family worship is held each morning–a novelty to hotel servants usually, and a season of spiritual refreshment with friends who are occasionally present always refer to afterward with peculiar interest…” p. 89

In particular, the intersection centered on one of the founding group members, Georgia Gordon.  This short notice was published in James T. Haley’s Afro-American Encyclopaedia (1895) p. 222:

Marsh included this longer sketch in his book, pp. 100-101.  later editions shortened and deleted some detail.:

In 1897 James T. Haley produced another book and featured Georgia again.  This sketch appeared on pages 75-76 of Sparkling Gems of Race Knowledge Worth Reading:

To read more, here are a few links:

Mark Lowe blogged about Georgia and Preston, providing greater detail. Emma Bragg compiled a helpful short biographical sketch.  Taneya Kalonji has a nice short blog as well.

 

David Lipscomb: A Bibliography

Compiled by McGarvey Ice, 9 November 2017

I list entries under three headings: BOOKS and MONOGRAPHS are stand-alone publications authored by David Lipscomb, or contain his works as edited by others; ESSAYS or CHAPTERS are materials authored by Lipscomb and published during his lifetime. These are not stand-alone publications; finally, BIOGRAPHICAL and INTERPRETIVE list biographical sketches about Lipscomb (published during his life and after his death) and scholarly interpretive works about his life and thought. I list entries under each heading chronologically by date of first publication. I note subsequent editions and/or reprintings only at the entry of first publication. In a few cases I add additional notes. Additions, corrections, and comments are welcome at mac.ice@acu.edu.  Click here to download the bibliography in PDF format.

BOOKS and MONOGRAPHS

Lipscomb, David. The Religious Sentiment, Its Social and Political Influence: An Address Before the Alumni Society of Franklin College, Tenn., delivered on the 4th of July, 1855. Nashville: Cameron & Fall, 1855. 36 p.

Lipscomb, David. Offerings to the Lord: A Tract. Nashville: Lipscomb & Sewell, 1878. 42 p.

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David Lipscomb. Offerings to the Lord: A Tract. Nashville: Lipscomb & Sewell, 1878.

[Lipscomb, David] The Standard and the Hymn-Book, with An Exposition of Its Course Toward the Missionary Society. Nashville: A. M. Sewell, 1883. 32 p.

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[David Lipscomb] The Standard and the Hymn-Book, with An Exposition of Its Course Toward the Missionary Society. Nashville: A. M. Sewell, 1883.

Lipscomb, David. Difficulties in Religion Considered. [Nashville?: Lipscomb & Sewell?, prior to 1888, possibly in 1885]. Perhaps bound with John T. Poe, What Must I Do To Be Saved? and John T. Poe, The Identity of the Church. This content may be the same as the chapter by the same name in Salvation from Sin (1913).

Lipscomb, D. Christian Unity. How Promoted, How Destroyed. Faith and Opinion. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Publishing Company, 1891. 64 p. Reprinted by McQuiddy Printing Company, Nashville, 1916. Reprinted under a short title, On Christian Unity, by Doulos Christou Press, Indianapolis, 2006.

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D. Lipscomb. Christian Unity. How Promoted, How Destroyed. Faith and Opinion. Nashville: McQuiddy Printing Company, Nashville, 1916.

Lipscomb, D. Civil Government. Its Origin, Mission, and Destiny, and the Christian’s Relation To It. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Publishing Company, 1889. 158 p. Reprinted by McQuiddy Printing Company, Nashville, 1913; Gospel Advocate Company, 1957. Reprinted by Vance Publications, Pensacola, 2006. This material appeared earlier in Christian Quarterly Review, issues of October 1888, January 1889 and July 1889.

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D. Lipscomb. Civil Government. Its Origin, Mission, and Destiny, and the Christian’s Relation To It. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Publishing Company, 1889.

Lipscomb, D. Life and Sermons of Jesse L. Sewell. An Account of His Life, Labors and Character. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Publishing Company, 1891. 318 p. Second and third ‘editions’, actually printings, in 1891 by Gospel Advocate Publishing Company. Fourth ‘edition’ by Gospel Advocate Company, Nashville, 1954.

Lipscomb, David. Notes on the International S. S. Lessons for 1895. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Publishing Company, [1895]. 279, 1, 34 p.

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David Lipscomb. Notes on the International S. S. Lessons for 1895. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Publishing Company, [1895]

Lipscomb, David. Notes on the International S. S. Lessons for 1896. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Publishing Company, [1896].

Lipscomb, D. A Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, with Questions Suited for the Use of Families and Schools. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Publishing Company, 1896. 249, 5 p. Printed at least four times, one perhaps as late as 1939.

[Lipscomb, David] Instruments of Music in the Service of God: An Examination of the Subject from the Teaching of Both the Old and the New Testaments. Nashville: McQuiddy Printing Company, [1903]. This tract first appeared in a three-part series of articles in Gospel Advocate in October 1901.

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[David Lipscomb] Instruments of Music in the Service of God: An Examination of the Subject from the Teaching of Both the Old and the New Testaments. Nashville: McQuiddy Printing Company, [1903].

Lipscomb, David. The Sabbath: Which Day Shall We Observe—The First or the Seventh?  [Nashville?: Gospel Advocate Publishing Company and/or McQuiddy Printing Company?, prior to 1910].

Shepherd, J. W. Queries and Answers by David Lipscomb, Editor of the Gospel Advocate. Nashville: McQuiddy Printing Company, 1910. 458 p. Second and third editions in 1910 and 1911 respectively, both by McQuiddy Printing Company. Fourth and fifth editions by F. L. Rowe, Cincinnati, 1918 and 1942 respectively. Also a Fifth edition by Gospel Advocate Company, Nashville, 1963. All subsequent ‘editions’ after the first are actually printings.

Shepherd, J. W. Salvation from Sin by David Lipscomb, Editor of the Gospel Advocate. Nashville: McQuiddy Printing Company, 1913. x, 440 p. ‘Second edition’, actually a printing, by Gospel Advocate Company, Nashville, 1950. Reprinted by Faith and Facts, Indianapolis, ca. 1995.

Kurfees, M. C., ed. Queries and Answers by Lipscomb and Sewell being A Compilation of Queries with Answers by D. Lipscomb and E. G. Sewell, covering a period of forty years of their joint editorial labors on the Gospel Advocate. Nashville: McQuiddy Printing Company, 1921. 767 p. Apparently the first printing bears the title as above, both on the title page and spine of the book. Second printing changed to ‘Questions Answered by Lipscomb and Sewell…”. Reprinted under the latter title by McQuiddy Printing Company, Nashville, 1952 and 1957 and by Gospel Advocate Company in 1963 and 1974. The title change may have occurred as early as May 1921; the book was first noted in February 1921.

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M. C. Kurfees, ed. Queries and Answers by Lipscomb and Sewell being A Compilation of Queries with Answers by D. Lipscomb and E. G. Sewell, covering a period of forty years of their joint editorial labors on the Gospel Advocate. Nashville: McQuiddy Printing Company, 1921.

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M. C. Kurfees, ed. Questions AnswereD by Lipscomb and Sewell being A Compilation of Queries with Answers by D. Lipscomb and E. G. Sewell, covering a period of forty years of their joint editorial labors on the Gospel Advocate. Nashville: McQuiddy Printing Company, 1921.

Shepherd, J. W., ed. A Commentary on the New Testament Epistles by David Lipscomb. Volume I. Romans. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1933. 285 p.

Shepherd, J. W., ed. A Commentary on the New Testament Epistles by David Lipscomb. Volume II. First Corinthians. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1935. 274 p.

Shepherd, J. W., ed. A Commentary on the New Testament Epistles by David Lipscomb. Volume III. Second Corinthians and Galatians. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1936. 304 p.

Shepherd, J. W., ed. A Commentary on the New Testament Epistles by David Lipscomb. Volume IV. Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1939. 330 p.

Dorris, C. E. W., ed. A Commentary on The Gospel by John by David Lipscomb. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1939. 339 p.

Shepherd, J. W., ed. A Commentary on the New Testament Epistles by David Lipscomb. Volume V. I, II Thessalonians, I, II Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1942. 324 p.

Shepherd, J. W., ed. A Commentary on the New Testament Epistles by David Lipscomb. Volume I. Romans. Second ed. rev. and enl. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1943. 292 p. The commentaries were reprinted many times by Gospel Advocate Company, 1940s-present. In 1997 Gospel Advocate Company published a Spanish language edition under the series title Un Comentario Sobre las Epítolas del Nueve Testamento translated by Lionel M. Cortez.

ESSAYS or CHAPTERS

Introduction, Jarvis, Ida Van Zandt, Texas Poems. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Publishing Company, 1893.

“Man: His Beginning, Training, and End” in F. D. Srygley, Biographies and Sermons, A Collection of Original Sermons by Different Men, with a Biographical Sketch of Each Man Accompanying His Sermon, Illustrated by Half-tone Cuts. Nashville: [Gospel Advocate Publishing Company] 1898. pp 165-184. Reprinted by Gospel Advocate Company, Nashville, 1961.

Introduction. Calhoun, H. L. and M. C. Kurfees. Instrumental Music in the Worship. A Discussion Between H. L. Calhoun and M. C. Kurfees, with an Appendix. Introduction by David Lipscomb, Editor of the Gospel Advocate. Nashville; Gospel Advocate Publishing Company, 1901. 48 p.

“Tolbert Fanning’s Teaching and Influence” pp. 7-111; “Address” p. 358-363; “Notice of the Death of William Anderson” pp. 443-447 all in Scobey, James E. ed. Franklin College and Its Influence. Nashville: McQuiddy Printing Company, 1906. Reprinted by Gospel Advocate Company, Nashville, 1954.

Contributor. Lipscomb, A. B. ed. Christian Treasures, An Exposition of Vital Themes by Earnest and Forceful Writers. Volume 1. Nashville: McQuiddy Printing Company, 1916.

Contributor. Lipscomb, A. B. ed. Christian Treasures, An Exposition of Vital Themes by Earnest and Forceful Writers. Volume 2. Nashville: McQuiddy Printing Company, 1916.

BIOGRAPHICAL and INTERPRETIVE

Srygley, F. D. “Life of David Lipscomb,” in F. D. Srygley, Biographies and Sermons, A Collection of Original Sermons by Different Men, with a Biographical Sketch of Each Man Accompanying His Sermon, Illustrated by Half-tone Cuts. Nashville: [Gospel Advocate Publishing Company] 1898. pp 150-164. Reprinted by Gospel Advocate Company, Nashville, 1961.

“David Lipscomb Memorial Number’ of Gospel Advocate, 59:49 (December 6, 1917) contains numerous articles, tributes and memorials.

Boles, H. Leo. Biographical Sketches of Gospel Preachers, Including the Pioneer Preachers of the Resotration Movement and Many Other Preachers Through Decades Down to the Present Generation Who Have Passed to Their Reward. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1932. pp. 243-247.

West, Earl Irvin. The Life and Times of David Lipscomb. Henderson: Religious Book Service, 1954.

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Earl Irvin West. The Life and Times of David Lipscomb. Henderson: Religious Book Service, 1954.

Vaughn, J. Roy, “David Lipscomb” in B. C. Goodpasture, comp. The Gospel Advocate Centennial Volume. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1956. Ch. 3 devoted to David Lipscomb, pp. 14-40, which includes several articles by Lipscomb.

Barnett, Herman L. “David Lipscomb’s Doctrine of the Church.” MA Thesis, Butler University, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1956.

Harrell, David Edwin, Jr. “Disciples of Christ Pacifism In Nineteenth Century Tennessee,” Tennessee Historical Quarterly, 21:3 (1962): 263-274

Holland, Tom. David Lipscomb: An Example of Ethical Power in Preaching. MA Thesis, Abilene Christian College, Abilene, Texas,1964.

Campbell, Thomas L. The Contribution of David Lipscomb and the Gospel Advocate to Religious Education in the Churches of Christ, Or, David Lipscomb’s Contribution to the Restoration Movement. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, 1968.

Robinson, John Louis. David Lipscomb : Journalist in Texas, 1872. [Quanah, Texas] Nortex, 1973.

Murrell, Arthur V., “David Lipscomb: Moderate in the Middle; or David Lipscomb Reconsidered,” Discipliana 34 (Winter 1974): 43-57.

Seawright, Sandy, “Ten ‘Greatest Tennesseans’—A Reappraisal,” Tennessee Historical Quarterly 35 (Summer 1976): 222-224.

Hooper, Robert E. A Call to Remember: Chapters in Nashville Restoration History. [Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1977].

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Robert E. Hooper. A Call to Remember: Chapters in Nashville Restoration History. [Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1977].

Hooper, Robert E. Crying in the Wilderness: A Biography of David Lipscomb. Nashville: David Lipscomb College, 1979.

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Robert E. Hooper, Crying in the Wilderness: A Biography of David Lipscomb. Nashville: David Lipscomb College, 1979.

Hooper, Robert E., “The Lipscomb Family,” Nashville Families & Homes, Paragraphs from Nashville History Lecture Series 1979-1981. Nashville: The Nashville Room, The Public Library of Nashville & Davidson County, 1983, pp. 90-103.

Dunnavant, Anthony L. “David Lipscomb on the Church and the Poor.” Restoration Quarterly, 33:2 (1991): 75-85.

Dunnavant, Anthony L. “David Lipscomb and the ‘Preferential Option for the Poor’ among Post-Bellum Churches of Christ.” Poverty and Ecclesiology: Nineteenth-Century Evangelicals in the Light of Liberation Theology, Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1992, pp. 27-50.

Brewster, Ben. “Torn Asunder the Civil War, David Lipscomb, and the 1906 Division of the Disciples.” MA Thesis, Cincinnati Bible College & Seminary, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1999.

Foster, Douglas A. “Churches of Christ and Baptism: An Historical and Theological Overview.” Restoration Quarterly, 43:2 (2001): 79-94.

Roberts, R. L. “Lipscomb, David” in Richard T. Hughes and R. L. Roberts, The Churches of Christ. Denominations in America, 10. Henry Warner Bowden, Series Ed. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2001: 252-253

Little, David L. “The Aversion to Biblical Interpretation in the Thought of David Lipscomb and Tolbert Fanning.” Restoration Quarterly, 44:3 (2002): 159-164.

Casey, Michael W. “From Religious Outsiders to Insiders: The Rise and Fall of Pacifism in the Churches of Christ.” Journal of Church & State, 44:3 (2002): 455.

Hooper, Robert E., “Lipscomb, David (1831-1917), Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement. Douglas A. Foster, Paul M. Blowers, Anthony L. Dunnavant, D. Newell Williams, Eds. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004: 480-482.

Hicks, John Mark and Bobby Valentine. Kingdom Come: Embracing the Spiritual Legacy of David Lipscomb and James Harding. Abilene, TX : Leafwood Publishers, 2006.

Foster, Douglas A. “The 1906 Census of Religious Bodies and Division in the Stone-Campbell Movement: A Closer Look.” Discipliana, 66:3 (2006): 83-93.

Mead, Jason. “An Abandonment of the Christian Religion”: War, Politics, and Society in the Writings of Tolbert Fanning and David Lipscomb, 1855-1876.” Journal of East Tennessee History, 82, (2010): 33-52.

Hooper, Robert E. Crying in the Wilderness: The Life & Influence of David Lipscomb. [Nashville: Lipscomb University, 2011]

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Robert E. Hooper. Crying in the Wilderness: The Life & Influence of David Lipscomb. [Nashville: Lipscomb University, 2011]

Grubbs, Shaun. The Heritage of Pacifism in the Stone-Campbell Movement: A General Study. MA Thesis, Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas, 2012.

Brown, Joel A. “Concern for the Poor in the Nashville Bible School Tradition: David Lipscomb and James A. Harding.” Restoration Quarterly, 55:2 (2013): 91-106.

 

That you may give it in due time to others: a brief meditation for congregational historians and others who care about the past and the future

In 1939 Frederick John Foakes Jackson* published A History of Church History: Studies of Some Historians of the Christian Church (W. Heffer & Sons Ltd: Cambridge).  His final book–he published it at age 84–it surveys in fourteen chapters just what its title suggests using biographical and bibliographical lenses.

Foakes Jackson studied under Bishop John Lightfoot at Trinity College, Cambridge and likely he first read church history under Lightfoot.  He returns full circle to his teacher in the final chapter of this final book under the title “The Books Recommended by Bishop Lightfoot.”

The entire book though is somewhat of a tribute volume to Lightfoot.  Foakes Jackson not only ended the book with a very kind nod to his teacher, he prefaced it with a subdued compliment to Lightfoot’s erudition and personal magnanimity. After three unsuccessful attempts at gaining a scholarship to study at Cambridge, Foakes Jackson obtained in 1880 the Lightfoot Scholarship in Ecclesiastical History.  From there his teaching career launched and sailed for the next six decades.  The Preface to A History of Church History contains the reply Foakes Jackson received when, upon learning of this award he wrote a note of thanks to the Bishop.  The closing line of the reply reads: “I trust you will take up some portion of history and make it your own that you may give it in due time to others.”

Take up…make it your own…give it to others.  I imagine Foakes Jackson at near ninety rereading the treasured letter from the patron who enabled his early university career.

There is wisdom here from Lightfoot and Foakes Jackson.  As church historians, or congregational historians, or teachers in congregational settings, or preachers, we stand in a tradition.  We are not the first to undertake the task of sorting out our past.  We are not the first to stand before a class or congregation.  We are not the first to write or research or sift or evaluate or craft the product of our study.  We are not the first and we will not be the last.  We have neither the first nor the final word.  But we have our word, and with that a responsibility to pay close attention to those who precede us, add to it in our own way with criticism, insight, research and commentary, and then hand it off again.  Just as our predecessors entrusted the work to us, we entrust it to others.  We have responsibility to look backward at the tradition we have inherited; likewise we bear a responsibility to pass it forward after we make our contribution.  We care about the past, we steward our gifts and resources in this moment, and we care about the future.  We receive, we give.  We take up, make it our own, and then give it away.

This inspires me to be responsible with what I receive.  It inspires me to take seriously and steward wisely the opportunities and resources available to me.  It underscores for me the reality that I am part of a community, one that ‘right now’ as much as it is past/future.  For some of us the community may be a professional guild, or it may be the Wednesday night regulars, but there is a community.  It encourages me to submit the fruit of my work to the good of the community.

Wikipedia will get you started; follow the links there to good and useful information about FJFJ.

Burnette Chapel Church of Christ

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.

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My thoughts, now, though are not on the past, but the very much on the pressing grief and shock of the moment.

 

 

 

Clay Street Christian Church

The Christian Churches who used instrumental music in worship and conducted mission work through organized societies were never strong in Nashville.  Comparatively speaking there were far more members and scores more congregations among the conservatives.  This is due to the local on-the-ground leadership of conservatives whose convictions closely paralleled David Lipscomb and E. G. Sewell (which found expression in the pages of Gospel Advocate), the school Lipscomb established (Nashville Bible School), and especially the congregations they planted.

Yet, the Christian Churches planted a few congregations.  The old downtown congregation, Vine Street Christian Church, was the most visible and well-known and served as the ‘mother church’ to most of the earliest church plants in the city limits.  Vine Street, with Woodland Street, assisted in planting Seventeenth Street Christian Church in East Nashville.  Further out along Gallatin Road was Eastland Christian Church (built in a day, too!).  In North Nashville the state society (with assistance from Vine Street) planted a little mission on Clay Street at 10th Avenue, North.  Vine Street assisted also with the efforts at North Spruce Street (later 8th Ave. North) in 1885 and South College Street in 1887, both of which predated division over the issues, remained acapella, and did not support societies.

Zenos Sanford Loftis was a student at Vanderbilt Medical School ca. 1903-1904.  He earned his Ph.C. from Vanderbilt in 1901 (and would stay to complete the MD in 1908) and had experience in “slum work” in St. Louis.  It appears the working-class neighborhood of emerging North Nashville appealed to Loftis as an ideal place to plant a congregation.  With the assistance of Vine Street Christian Church and the Tennessee Christian Missionary Society the mission launched.  Loftis graduated and sailed for Tibet in September the same year as the Living Link missionary of Vine Street Christian Church.  The little band at Clay Street continued with Vanderbilt divinity students filling the pulpit.

Clay Street Christian Church (at 10th and Clay in North Nashville) by 1909 erected a small one-room frame building at the rear of the lot.  The “entire lot on which the present Church now stands [1929] was purchased and paid for by the members, donations, the Ladies Croquet Clubs, and by Socials over a period of struggling years.” For almost twenty years it perked along under the service of temporary, year-at-a-time ministers–mainly Vanderbilt divinity students–until 1927 when Stanley H. Dysart began a ten-year term as minister. The 1910s and 20s were decades of growth for their neighborhood and congregation.  A feature of the weekly church program was a Sunday School which often topped 200 pupils.  By then Vine Street Christian Church was heavily involved which seems to have given the little mission the push it needed to launch out as a viable independent congregation.  Some of the Vanderbilt students who served Clay Street are known only by their last names: Morgan, Vance, Shepard, Reynolds, Hoosinger, Spiegel, Saum and Harris.

Dysart began with a 14-member mission, four Sunday School classes, and the backing of Vine Street Church.  Dysart’s month-long July 1928 tent meetings gave a major boost, adding over forty members to reach a membership of 59.   A year later the little frame building at the rear of the lot was replaced by the neat brick building that still stands.

Clay Street membership reached a peak of about 200 members through the 1930s-1940s into the 1950s.  Long-time Vine Street minister, Dr. Carey E. Morgan, inspired an outreach program named in his honor: the Carey E. Morgan Baby Welfare Clinic.” By 1960, however, most members no longer lived in the neighborhood and drove in from the suburbs to attend services.  Financially they were only able to support a minister and keep the doors open.  In April 1960 the minister wrote to the Alex Mooty, secretary of the Tennessee Christian missionary Society “we are in an area that is fast becoming a Negro area.  In two years I have seen five Negro families move in on Clay St. between 10th and Owent [sic] across the street from the church.” In 1960 there were only five residences between 10th and Owen; in other words, that side of the street opposite the church building went from all-white to all-black from 1954-1955 to 1959-1960.

In September 1960 the minister, citing “the population moves, racial migration, and spiritual indifference,” resigned in the face of a “growing feeling of discontentment” among the congregation.  The congregation badly needed encouragement, trained leadership, and a larger vision.

A dozen years later, by 1972, after years of declining membership and conflict, at times there would be only two or four present for worship.  The consensus of the remaining members was to disband and return the property to Vine Street through the Tennessee Christian Missionary Society.  When Clay Street mission launched in about 1904 it joined these Christian Churches: Vine Street, Gay Street, Lea Avenue, Woodland Street, Seventeenth Street, and Belleview.  Eastland, University Place, Woodmont, and Donelson would join the ranks by the middle of the 20th century.

Eastland and Woodland Street would merge to form Eastwood; Vine Street would launch Woodmont; Gay Street and Lea Avenue would merge to form Gay-Lea; University Place would close, as would Seventeenth Street.  The situation in 1972, in terms of number of congregations and congregants, differed little from 1904.  While the conservative Christian Churches–by the 1920s exclusively known as Churches of Christ–outpaced the Disciples in both number of congregations and adherents, they would reach the zenith of their growth in the 1970s and thereafter enter a slow overall decline.

Since 2002 Swift Tabernacle Baptist Church has called home the brick building built for Clay Street Christian Church in 1929.  I took these photos in the early morning light of May 26, 2010:

 

John William McGarvey Jr.

For a short while John William McGarvey Jr. served as State Evangelist under the auspices of the Tennessee Christian Missionary Cooperation. He began this work early in 1911 but died unexpectedly in April; his father J. W. McGarvey died later the same year in October.

Jr. preached a few times at Woodland Street Christian Church. This scan is from the April 22, 1911 issue of Christian Standard.

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