Statistics and Stories
East Nashville Cooperative Ministry is a Christian, ecumenical ministry organized for the purpose of improving the health and welfare of the residents of the East Nashville Community. We do this through a focus on Food Relief and Food Development.
We focus on building healthy relationships with our neighbors, our community, and the earth by offering emergency food assistance to the elderly, poor, disabled, unemployed, and disadvantaged while working to empower community wellbeing through food security.
By 1965 the Cooperative Church Council of Edgefield was busy making a difference in East Nashville by providing food and clothing to the poor as well as hosting Vesper Services at the newly constructed Edgefield Manor under Rev. Carson Fraser of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church’s leadership. The Cooperative Church Council of Edgefield was comprised of Edgefield Baptist, Fatherland Free Will Baptist, First Baptist of East Nashville, First Church of the Nazarene, Holy Name Catholic Church, Payne’s Chapel AME, Tulip Street Methodist Church, Woodcock Baptist, and Woodland Presbyterian Church.
The East Nashville Cooperative Ministry had begun with two Methodist churches in the early 1970’s and provided many services similar to those of the Cooperative Church Council of Edgefield (CCC). In a couple short years, East Nashville Cooperative Ministry (ENCM) was the collective effort of ten United Methodist churches. On January 15th, 1978 the CCC led by Rev. Fraser of St. Ann’s merged with the ENCM led by Rev. D. Wayne Davis. This merging coupled United Methodists with an already ecumenical group made up of Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist, and Episcopalian. They agreed upon the fitting name East Nashville Cooperative Ministry.
Since its beginning, ENCM has had a history of ecumenical interfaith cooperation, believing that together, despite doctrinal dissimilarities, we are more productive in serving our neighbors than we are apart. For over forty years the churches of East Nashville have cooperated to provide food, clothing, medical, spiritual, and social services to a variety of persons varying in age, faith, and ethnicity. Drawing strength from the faith of its volunteers and supporters that believe God has called us to help our neighbors, ENCM continues to help churches, individuals, social organizations and businesses invest in people, not projects. ENCM’s slogan “neighbors helping neighbors” is a reality in the rapidly changing dynamic community called East Nashville.
QUOTES THAT SUM IT UP:
“If we apply our minds directly and competently to the needs of the earth, then we will have begun to make fundamental and necessary changes in our minds. We will begin to understand and to mistrust and to change our wasteful economy, which markets not just the produce of the earth, but also the earth’s ability to produce. We will see that beauty and utility are alike dependent upon the health of the world. But we will also see through the fads and the fashions of protest. We will see that war and oppression and pollution are not separate issues, but are aspects of the same issue. Amid the outcries for the liberation of this group or that, we will know that no person is free except in the freedom of other persons, and that man’s only real freedom is to know and faithfully occupy his place – a much humbler place than we have been taught to think – in the order of creation.”
~ Wendell Berry (The Art of the Commonplace)
“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.”
~ Wendell Berry
“We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons.”
~ Alfred E. Newman
“Over the past 60 years, the foods we eat have been stripped from localized economies, itemized as profit margins, and produced for mass consumption without regard to other contributing factors such as the land, water, communal dependence, and workers wages. Our “fast food nation” eats food without respect to our personal health, the workers who grow it, the animals sacrificed for it, or the ecosystems destroyed to maintain it.”
~ Eric Paul, Volunteer and Development Manager at ENCM
“At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge,” said the gentleman, taking up a pen, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.”
“Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge.
“Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.
“And the Union workhouses?” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”
“They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, “ I wish I could say they were not.”
“The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigor, then?” said Scrooge.
“Both very busy, sir.”
“Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,” said Scrooge. “I’m very glad to hear it.”
“Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,” returned the gentleman, “a few of us are endeavoring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?”
~ Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol