Expecting only a few, the house was filled to overflowing at New Covenant Christian Church (DOC) during the 2014 Interden-ominational Minister’s Fellowship (IMF) installation of new officers.
January 15th marked a new day for IMF as the first female president was installed, Rev. Dr. Judy D. Cummings who is the Senior Pastor of the historic New Covenant Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She served for eight years at Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church as the Minister of Christian Education and then as the Executive Minister. It is stated that Dr. Cummings is “academically prepared to lead the church in the 21st century and spiritually prepared to lead God’s people.”
Past IMF President, Rev. Sonnye Dixon, pastor of Hobson UMC, presided over the installation service that included a message by Rev. William Buchanan, pastor of Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church. Buchanan asked a question that he said should be rhetorical, “Is it necessary?”
This message was a question of the necessity to follow the “laws of the land.” The laws of the land are simply the laws that each citizen is expected to abide by. However, there are certain “laws” that currently and in the past do not agree with the common good of everyone.
As a preacher, Buchanan used the scriptures as he spoke of the situations facing John and James and references to Shadrack, Meshack and Abindigo. These people spoke out against “laws” that held great consequence when disobeyed. Thus, they felt it was necessary to speak up and speak out against what was the law of the land at that time. And, since that time it was also “necessary” to the common good of everyone that others courageously spoke up on behalf of a select people to make a difference in history. Such people as Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others civil rights leaders found it “necessary” to choose what is right in order to serve the common good. Those who participated in sit-ins, marches and other in acts of support to injustices of “the law,” made a choice. Buchanan said, “We accept things today that in the past was tabu. This makes us a whimsical society.” He said, “Gambling, selling liquor, white only water, black only entrances and all manner of things makes one wonder, ‘if those things were wrong yesterday, how can they be okay today?” He said we allow the laws of the land to determine our morality.
The rhetorical question answered says that unjust laws of the land must be questioned and that’s what makes us Christians. If not us, then who? As believers, we have a moral obligation to stand for justice–protest and protect. He said, while walking with Jesus, Peter and James had seen too much not to speak Jesus’ name. It’s still necessary for people to speak Jesus’ name because we, too, have seen too much in our testimony not to stand for right. The IMF must continue to stand for justice and equality.
IMF, your voice is necessary.
The elected officers were then installed at the lead of Judge Rachel Bell.
Upon receiving their charge from Judge Bell, the now 2014 IMF President, Rev. Cummings gave her remarks that answered the necessity of IMF and the justice that it serves as it has been “a leading voice for justice in this community since 1954.” She noted that the IMF has done important work in addressing issues of racism, education, employment and political action under the banner of fellowship and togetherness. Cummings reminds those in attendance that some Nashvillians are still waging war against these same issues. However, “a shift that will become even more noticeable as the marginalized, the poor, the least of these are pushed further and further away from the heart of the city both figuratively and literally.”
Rev. Cummings accepted the position as President of IMF, quoting from Dr. King’s book, Strength to Love, “ In a real sense, all life is interrelated. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I’m what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality. ”
She concluded saying, “Jesus said it this way in Matthew 18:20, ‘Where two or three are gathered in my name (that is, on one accord) there I am in the midst of them. I said yes to the presidency of IMF so that with the help of God and a group of like minded folk, we could usher in the Beloved community that has a interrelated structure and is on one accord.
She then gave a list of what she called the “Sound Alarm Watch Dogs” that will assist in helping IMF to “not be caught unaware on the issues of legislation, education, health care, economic equality, the prison system and crime.”
IMF meets on Wednesdays at 12:00 noon. The public is always invited.
The 2014-2015 IMF Officers are: Rev. Dr. Judy D. Cummings, President; Rev. Harold M. Love, Jr., President-Elect, pastor of St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, State Representative for the 58th District; Patricia Stokes, Vice President, Urban League of Middle Tennessee, CEO/Executive Officer; Brenda Wynn, Secretary, Davidson County Clerk; Julie Brinker, Assistant Secretary, Community Affairs Director for the Church of Scientology; Brian Fesler, Treasurer, pastor of the Nashville Church of Scientology; Rev. Dr. Chris Jackson, Assistant Treasurer, pastor of Pleasant Green Baptist Church, former pastor of Hosea Community Church; Bishop Minnie Mitchell, Officer-At-Large, pastor of New Life True Christ Ministries and Rev. Dr. Alvin Miller, pastor of St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Clarksville, TN.
New Covenant Christian Church (DOC) is located at 2201 Osage Street.