Nashville Churches of Christ History Group on Facebook

Nashville Churches of Christ History group is open to anyone interested in the Stone-Campbell movement in Nashville and Davidson County.  Here is the first post I made a few days ago:

I envision this community as a place to share common interest in the rich story of the Stone-Campbell Movement in Nashville. I am conducting research for a book which will highlight each congregation of Churches of Christ and Christian Churches from the 1820’s to the present…basically the entire movement from its beginning in our city until now. I envision this group as a place to share memories, photos, news and generate discussion and interest. Please join and contribute. Please feel free to contact me directly at icekm (at) aol (dot) com.

The group is open to all.  Help spread the word and generate interest.

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Save the Paper

Regular readers of this blog know that one of my research interests is Nashville’s Stone-Campbell heritage.  Judging from the folks who find my blog by searching for old Nashville churches like Foster Street Christian Church or Vine Street Christian Church or South College Street Church of Christ, I see I am not alone in my interest.  Here’s my appeal:

I am assembling information from, by and about these churches, ministers and related organizations.  Do you have paper (like directories or bulletins), photographs, sermons, postcards, old issues of periodicals like Gospel Advocate or Apostolic Times or ephemera from Nashville events like the Hardeman Tabernacle meetings or the Collins-Craig Auditorium Meeting, or the Nashville Jubilee?  Do you have photographs or postcards of church buildings?  For that matter, do you have an old map of Nashville that shows what the city was like in the 1940’s?  or earlier? Do you have clippings from the newspapers about people or events or congregations in the Nashville or Davidson County area?   Do you have memories of growing up at Vine Street Christian Church when it was still downtown?  Or Reid Avenue Church of Christ, Russell Street Church of Christ or Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ (all three are now closed)?  Would you be willing to talk with me–in person or by email or even by postal mail–to share your memories?  Would you allow me to borrow your old paper, copy it and learn from it?

Old paper is the stuff from which history is written.  And if it isn’t preserved then not only will vital data be lost but a story will be silenced.  I believe the Nashville story is a rich story, and a story worth keeping and worth telling and worth preserving.   With every funeral we lose some memory or story.  The time has come for us to assemble what remains while we can, and ensure that through its preservation the story will not be forgotten.

Check the steamer trunks in your attics, the boxes in your basements and the files in the closets.  Before you throw it away, email me.  Let’s preserve it.

icekm (at) aol (dot) com

DLC Honors Veteran Preachers, 1954

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Here is another installment in my Dorris research.  From the February 25, 1954 Gospel Advocate, page 157, the men pictured are the “honor guests” of the 13th Annual Fellowship Dinner at the Lipscomb Lectures.  Each having preached more than forty years, the combined number of years preached, Willard says, is near 1300 years.  As one I know is wont to say…that calls for a lot of patience from all concerned.

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Of the 26 men honored, 14 are from Nashville. Seven more are from Middle Tennessee.  Again we see the familiar faces of the elder statesmen from years past at these Fellowship Dinners.  Seated on the far left is George Bethurum, one-time classmate of Hall Laurie Calhoun at the College of the Bible and the man who was very likely behind Calhoun’s move to Nashville in 1926-ish.  Front-row-center is Price Billingsley, who published a paper–the Gospel Advance–and who took over Dorris’ Tidings of Joy in the summer of 1920.   To Dorris’ right is O. C. Lambert,  whom Dorris took to task a decade earlier concerning his (Lambert’s) stand with Cled and Foy Wallace on the ‘War Question.’  Lambert was in cahoots with the Wallace War Baby and CEWD was none to pleased about it.  There is much, much more to be done on that one.  And, I’m still sorting through what is happening even as this photo was snapped between Dorris and Benton Cordell Goodpasture, who appears in this august company for the first time.  He is standing behind Dorris’ left shoulder…close enough to shake hands but I think they are growing farther apart by the day.

As I remarked in an earlier post in this series, look carefully, ponder deeply the faces you see, and consider those who were absent.

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.