Homelessness & Peace

District 7 Councilman Erik Cole

NASHVILLE, Tenn. –Metro Nashville District 7 Councilman Erik Cole will present the 2009 Roger T. Nooe Lectureship on World Peace at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 8 at Vine Street Christian Church, 4101 Harding Road.

Cole—drawing from his experience as a low-income housing expert and as the chair of the Metropolitan Homelessness Commission—will speak toward improving synergies among government services, nonprofit organizations and religious communities to address the causes and consequences of homelessness.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

New for 2009, the Nooe lecture is tied to the Vine Street’s current Homelessness: 360 program. Through this integrated approach, the congregation utilizes education, advocacy, service and worship to increase its awareness of homelessness issues, specifically, and poverty issues, in general. Inviting the public to join its efforts, there is hope for providing relief to local persons in need. 

“For the world to know peace, it must address the problem of poverty,” Vine Street Senior Minister Thomas Kleinert said. “Poverty is a systemic issue—here in Nashville and around the world—and a lack of housing makes all other problems related to poverty worse. So, housing is a good point of entry into the complexities of loving and serving the poor among our neighbors.” 

Cole knows this to be true in his day-to-day work. A well-known local justice advocate, the District 7 councilman serves as the Executive Director of the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services, a statewide network of low-income civil legal service providers. TALS works to ensure that every low-income Tennessean has timely access to the justice system.  

On the Metro Council, Cole has served as chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee and President Pro Tempore of the Council, having been elected by his peers in 2006. He chaired the Council Health, Hospitals and Social Services Committee. Cole also serves on several community and non-profit boards and committees focused on affordable housing, sustainable development, and equal rights.

A native of Nashville, Cole grew up attending Vine Street Christian Church. Cole is married to Jennifer Gilligan Cole and is the father of two children. He is a graduate of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. 

In response to Cole’s lecture and Homelessness: 360 program, Vine Street Christian Church will kick-off another season as a host for Room In the Inn on on Sunday, Nov. 15. Room In the Inn is a local outreach working with 151 area congregations to provide food and shelter for 185-225 people each night during the coldest months of the year.

Vine Street Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is one of Nashville’s oldest congregations and the community’s oldest church of the Stone-Campbell movement. The congregation traces its roots to a Nashville church that formed in 1826 and formally adopted the principles of Disciples of Christ founder Alexander Campbell in May 1828. The church occupied several locations in downtown Nashville before building a sanctuary on Nashville’s old Vine Street (now Seventh Avenue North) in 1889 and formally adopting the name Vine Street Christian Church. The congregation moved to its present location at 4101 Harding Road in 1958 and is affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), a Protestant denomination of about 700,000 members in the United States and Canada. 

Vine Street established the Roger T. Nooe Lectureship on World Peace in 1988 as a memorial to Dr. Nooe (pronounced Know-ee), the church’s senior minister between 1925-1951. Nooe’s ministry reflected a lifelong commitment to promoting world peace and religious ecumenism. The lectureship perpetuates Dr. Nooe's hope of a universal peace and a unified church.

For more information, call the church office at 615/269-5614 or contact Thomas Kleinert, senior minister, at thomas@vinestreet.org.