Wednesdays in May

During May, we continue our aging:360 focus with a series of Wednesday night programs and meals. Our members have raised many good questions, and we will address at least some of them each week:

As an adult child, how can I be more diligent in ensuring that my parents are able to retire and be cared for? Are there any tips on how to talk with aging parents about choices? At the end of life, when is it time to let go, and how do I make my wishes known? Medicare, long-term care insurance, supplemental insurance, reverse mortgages – it’s such a jungle! Where is God in the so-called Golden Years?

May 4 – Easing Difficult Conversations

Dinner 6pm – Program 6:30pm - Dinner reservations by Monday, May 2
Childcare provided - Call the church office if you need transportation

Facilitator: Carol Smith, Counselor, Pastoral Counseling Centers of Tennessee

Communication between aging parents and adult children is often strained because of difficult decisions that need to be made. Many of us just don’t know how to talk about making the home more accessible, changing living arrangements, finding in-home care, monitoring bank accounts, writing living wills, managing medications, or dealing with driving limitations.

Carol Smith is a Family Therapist; she will give us some tips that apply to all kinds of situations, and she will also try to answer our very specific questions.

May 11 – Caregiving and Support

Dinner 6pm – Program 6:30pm - Dinner reservations by Monday, May 9
Childcare provided - Call the church office if you need transportation

Facilitator: Nancy Pertl, Caregiver Education Specialist with the Mental Health Association of Middle Tennessee

Caregivers provide 80% of the care for individuals. Especially with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia, caregiving can be particularly stressful. Making decisions about healthcare, communicating with physicians, knowing what to expect as the disease progresses, mobility and safety, making arrangements so the individual can stay at home and making decisions when that may not be possible any longer, are all decisions that caregivers face. What about the caregivers needs? When do they feel that they have time for friends, church, a movie, or a walk in the park?  What about the caregivers’ health and well-being?

May 18 – End of Life issues

Dinner 6pm – Program 6:30pm - Dinner reservations by Monday, May 16
Childcare provided - Call the church office if you need transportation

Facilitator: Greg Rumburg, Chaplain, Odyssey Hospice

Our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs change as we near the end of our life. When individuals and families are faced with decisions about the type of care they prefer at the end of life, they often wait too late to make their plans. Discussions about hospice care for life-limiting illnesses and discussions about palliative care for those with terminal illness can often be supportive to both the individual and to the family members. Knowing what to expect and making plans can take some of the burden off the family. Grief is inevitable, but support from clergy and bereavement experts can help. Knowing the individual’s wishes about funeral arrangement can help the family make better decisions with which they feel comfortable.

Greg Rumburg is an Elder at Vine Street, and as a hospice chaplain he walks, talks, sits, and prays with individuals and their families as they approach death. He will share his knowledge and wisdom with us.

May 25 – Navigating Medicare and Planning for the Future

Dinner 6pm – Program 6:30pm - Dinner reservations by Monday, May 23
Childcare provided - Call the church office if you need transportation

Facilitator: Lucy Utt, Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability, Supervisor, State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)

Medicare is a federal government health insurance program that provides medical care and prescription drug benefits. You become eligible for Medicare when you turn 65 years of age or if you are under the age of 65 and have a disability. Medicare Part A is for hospital coverage, Part B is for medical care, and Part D is for prescription drug coverage. What all does Medicare cover? Do I need an Advantage Plan? Do I need supplemental insurance? What about long-term care insurance? What happens if I need long-term care in my home or in a nursing home? What if I can’t make decisions on my own? What if I run out of savings, will I lose my home?

Meals at 6pm

The Wednesday nights in May are great opportunities for learning, but they are also opportunities for fellowship and for getting to know each other. So pick up the kids and come on over for dinner! We have partnered with Copper Kettle to provide a delicious meal for us each week, and we will have childcare available as well.

We ask that you make meal reservations no later than Monday morning of each week, but you can make them as early as right now. We will take your reservations online, over the phone (call the church office at 269-5614), in person on Sunday mornings (look for the people carrying sandwich boards!), or with print forms available in various places at church.

Aging Baby Boomers

“Every generation refreshes the world” was the voice over at the end of the Pepsi commercial during the 2009 superbowl. The soundtrack was a mashup of Bob Dylan’s song, Forever Young, with Will.i.am rapping about busy hands and swift feet.

Bob Dylan’s song was one of the hymns of the baby boom generation. The boomers have long been famous (some would say, infamous) for their desire to stay young, and many wonder what they will be like as seniors. Many predict that they will reshape the nation’s view of old age by staying active longer than their parents. Others worry that their numbers will break the generational contract behind programs like Social Security and Medicare: On October 15, 2007, Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, 62, a retired schoolteacher from New Jersey, applied for Social Security. She was born a second after midnight on January 1, 1946, the first of a generation of 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964. Until 2025, one of them will retire every eight seconds.

Aging has more dimensions than I could even begin to name in a brief article. There are the personal aspects of a life story with physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions; there are interpersonal aspects of changing roles and relationships; there are societal aspects with economic and political implications. We are familiar with some of the questions; we have either asked them ourselves or heard each other ask them: Will I ever be able to retire? Why don’t they have shows on tv I’d actually want to see? How do I tell dad that it’s not safe for him to drive? Who will take care of me when I’m old? Can’t they make a phone that’s just a phone? How can I explain to my children that I don’t want to move to a nursing home? He says he loves my wrinkles, but I wish they hadn’t come so soon. What’s wrong with my eyes? Dad has Alzheimer’s – what am I supposed to do now?

During April and May, in a program series we call aging:360 we will get together several times to address various dimensions of aging. Our first meeting, Aging Baby Boomers, will be on Sunday, April 10, at 12:30pm in our fellowship hall. Kathy Zamata will introduce us to some key issues such as

  • Increase in population and the need for increased services
  • Planning for your future
  • Staying independent and healthy for as long as possible

During that first meeting, we will also solicit your input: What questions do you have? What particular issues would you like so see discussed? The results of that survey will determine how we fine tune the remaining sessions, which will take place on Wednesday nights during April and May. So far, we have identified five areas we want to address:

  • Medicare – navigating the complicated world of health insurance
  • Caregiving – understanding Alzheimer’s disease and identifying resources for caregivers including communication, support, and respite
  • Senior Housing – identifying resources to maintain as much independence as possible
  • Legal issues – a look at wills, durable power of attorney, guardianship, insurance, reverse mortgages
  • End of life – discussing questions around palliative care, hospice, funeral planning, and bereavement

If you would like submit your questions and suggestions now, you can do so with this simple form.


Mapping the Pantry

by Thomas Kleinert

The sweater I’m wearing today was made in China. My socks in South Korea, pants in Lesotho, shirt in Hong Kong, underwear in Honduras, shoes in Slovenia.

For breakfast I had coffee from Sumatra/Indonesia, milk from Middle Tennessee, cereal from somewhere in the United States, and an apple from New York State. Before I left for work (in a car from Japan), I filled my thermos (made in Nashville!) with tea from India. I’m typing this on a laptop made in Malaysia while listening to music from Italy on a device designed in California and assembled in China.

I’m amazed at how connected my life is with people in so many other places around the world, and how most of the time I’m not aware of that reality.

As part of our hunger:360 ministry project, we invite you to do a little domestic geography and economy research. We call it Mapping the Pantry in phase one, and Mapping a Meal in phase two.

Phase one. Between now and the end of March, take a moment (ideally in the company of all members of your household, especially the children),find a pencil and a piece of paper, and pick up all the food items in your pantry and/or your refrigerator and/or your cupboard, and write down where they came from. List their place of origin as accurately as possible – countries, states, and cities.

Phase two. This is a very similar research project.  Between now and the end of March, choose a meal and write down where all its ingredients came from, again, as accurately as possible (the honey in my tea is from Goodlettsville, depending on how far Mr. Johnson takes his beehives around Middle Tennessee).

On two Sundays (March 21 and 28) and on the days in between, we will transfer all the results to a couple of maps in our sanctuary, one of the U.S. and one of the world. We want to get a visual impression of just how connected we are with people all over the whole world in the things we eat. We want to create opportunities for questions and wonder.

You can use the form below to report your results, or return one of the “grocery lists” from the hunger:360 bulletin board (these lists will also be available in the Sunday bulletins). Better yet, bring your list to worship on March 21 or 28, and transfer the results to the maps yourself!

hunger:360 continues

We are happy to announce upcoming events and programs in our hunger:360 ministry project.

On Saturday, March 6, from 5-7pm, we have the opening reception for muddy hymnal, a photography exhibit in our sanctuary. The artist, Tallu Schuyler will be present and give a gallery talk at 6pm about her experience in Nicaragua.

Also on Saturday, March 6, the Vine Street youth group will host another fantastic Fair Trade Coffee House.

On Sunday morning, March 7, at 9:30 a.m. we look forward to welcoming Prof. Douglas Heimburger, the Associate Director for Education and Training at the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health. Prof. Heimburger will help us understand what happens to our bodies when we don't get proper nutrition, and what the impact is on an individual's as well as the larger community's development.

Hunger in Nashville

Perhaps you think of hunger only as something that happens in far away countries, but there are men, women, and children in our city who know hunger. Not just the kind of hunger anybody knows who has ever skipped a meal; people in our city experience the kind of hunger where you never know where your next meal will come from, and when you will eat it.

There is hunger in Nashville. Food security is a term from the dictionary of bureaucrats. Hunger is a human experience that impacts body, mind, and spirit. There is hunger in Nashville, and there are people who help us see and understand and address it.

Following the 10:45am worship service on Sunday, February 28 (approximately at 12:30pm), Tallu Schuyler will be at Vine Street to talk about food security, food deserts, and hunger. She is the Executive Director of Mobile Loaves and Fishes, a ministry named after a miracle. We will eat a simple, nutritious meal (rice, beans, and cornbread) and we will learn together - statistics, terms, facts, numbers, and the human experiences that so easily get lost behind them. Come and join us for this Sunday afternoon opportunity to eat and learn together!

This lunch & learn is part of our hunger:360 ministry project, and more events and programs are coming up soon. Check the calendar for details, and watch for more information early next week.


In our 360 projects, we bring together what belongs together. Too often, we treat church life and ministry like a pizza: a slice of worship, a slice of education, a slice of service in the community, etc.

At Vine Street, we want to integrate what we do in those areas: the life of faith is not a pizza, but more like a circle where all points are defined by a common center. Our work, our worship, our family life, our study, our hopes, our fellowship – they all share, we all share a common center in the God who meets us in Jesus Christ.

360 is the sum of all angles. 360 is our way of saying, “We want to look at this from as many angles as possible. We want to experience this as completely as possible. We want to bring together what we know belongs together.”

hunger:360 is our second 360 project. Why hunger? That’s the question. Our gardens, fields and farms produce more than enough food for all, and yet there is persistent, deadly hunger on every inhabited continent. In November, the Department of Agriculture reported that here in the United States the number of Americans who lacked consistent access to adequate food soared last year, to 49 million. The government began tracking what is now commonly called “food security” 14 years ago, and the number of men, women, and children lacking “food security” has never been higher.

During Lent this year, beginning with Ash Wednesday on February 17, we will bring hunger and faith together to see how and where they touch.

We will study, we will fast, we will prepare and serve meals, we will pray, we will map our pantries, we will walk, we will read, we will trust the God of abundance in the deserts of scarcity.

hunger:360 offers us opportunities to

  • talk with Tallu Schuyler, Executive Director of Mobile Loaves and Fishes, about hunger in Nashville, and how we can address it
  • hear Kevin McCoy, Coordinator of the Nashville CROP Walk, who is passionate about the work of Church World Service and its fight against hunger
  • prepare meals and serve them in unfamiliar places in our city
  • walk through a photography exhibit in our sanctuary
  • pray with Jesus, the bread of life
  • watch a movie about a community garden project in L.A.
  • tour Second Harvest Foodbank
  • ask ourselves what hunger drives our insatiable consumerism
  • talk with Prof. Douglas Heimburger from the Vanderbilt Institute of Global Health about the effects of hunger and malnutrition on the human body
  • read Sara Miles, Take This Bread and discuss it in a small group
  • participate in the Nashville CROP Walk
  • map our pantries and refrigerators and find out where all this food comes from
  • worship God with our whole being

Watch for updates on individual events on this website.

The calendar below looks best in Agenda view.


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. 


New Ministry Project

homelessness : 360 is a ministry project that brings together what belongs together.

Too often we treat ministry like a pizza: a slice of worship, a slice of education, a slice of service in the community… But ministry is more like a circle where all points are defined by the common center.

Our worship, our study, our work, our fellowship, all share a common center in the God who meets us in Jesus Christ.

homelessness : 360 brings together all dimensions of our ministry around just one issue, homelessness.

At Vine Street, over the course of approximately four weeks

  • we pray every day, guided by a simple question like, “What do I look forward to when I go home at night?”
  • we visit places like the Oasis Center and Campus for Human Development;
  • we listen to speakers who have left behind easy answers a long time ago, but won’t stop pushing for better responses;
  • we learn together how and why women, men, and children lose their homes;
  • we build little houses for our hopes and our sorrows;
  • we watch movies that help us imagine and understand the reality of not having a home;
  • we bring the little houses we have built and filled with our prayers to worship and we build a city with them;
  • we make beds, prepare meals, open the doors, and invite homeless men to spend the night and tell their stories.

No, we won’t look at the complexities of homelessness from every angle, but we will go full circle in engaging with them: with all our heart, mind, and strength. This is how we love and serve our God. This is how we love and serve our neighbor.