By: Celinda J. Hughes, JW Communications
The Reverend Daniel M. Hayes, Sr., Senior Pastor/Teacher, and the John
Wesley United Methodist Church family will host the Reverend Herbert
T. Brown, Pastor Emeritus of Greater St. John Missionary Baptist
Church, Nashville, TN, as the guest preacher for their 124th
Homecoming celebration, Sunday, October 30, 2022, 11:00 am. John
Wesley is located at 901 Benton Avenue, Nashville.
Rev. Brown is well known in the Nashville area and beyond, as a
powerful preacher and committed community leader, during his 34-
year tenure at Greater St. John. He was installed March 6, 1988, and
began a ministry of outstanding magnitude in the North Nashville area.
His reputation as a dynamic leader has led to several awards and
recognition including the J.A. Consistory #48 Community Service Award
(2001), WQQK’s Minister of the Year Award (2003), and the Greater
Nashville Black Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Community Leader
award (2002-2003). Pastor Brown is married to Dr. Shirley Rainey-
Brown and together they have five children.
The 124th Homecoming Celebration of John Wesley will include the
powerful music ministry of the John Wesley Gospel Chorus, under the
leadership of Millard Hayes, III, one of the founders of the 22-member,
now world- renowned New Direction Gospel Choir of Tennessee State
University. Prior to his passing in 2019, the multi-talented Director
Emeritus, Dillard B. Montgomery was the director of music. His
professional career spanned many years of musical collaborations in
various styles from jazz to Negro spirituals and gospel music. This rich
heritage was inherited by Bro. Hayes, who also incorporates music from
popular greats like Ricky Dillard, Sean Tillery, Jonathan Nelson &
Purpose, Vincent Bohanan and other classic greats much beloved in the
gospel music arena.
Special presentations will honor various John Wesley members for
dedicated, exemplary service, with the prestigious Ring of Honor
award, initiated by The Reverend Danielle M. Hayes, Sr., during his
second term at John Wesley. This historic time of praise and worship
will be celebrated in-person and live-streamed via John Wesley’s
Facebook Live and YouTube channel. This year’s celebration colors of
sage green and mustard gold will give everyone an opportunity to
visually support the celebration, in addition to the financial
responsibility each member is asked to make.
Rev. Hayes and Rev. Brown became friends greater than 30 years ago.
As a son of North Nashville, Rev. Hayes grew up with a calling to
ministry on his life that started as a child. The two were drawn together
by their vision to build new churches and expand opportunities for
In 1995 Rev. Brown responded to the vision to build a
new church building. The land was purchased and so was a new church
van. In 1997 Rev. Brown and the Greater St. John church family faced
rising cost of materials, labor and everything else associated with
building a new facility.
Yet despite an increase from $1,700,000.00 to
$2,600,000.00, and additional monies for the land and construction of
parking, prayer prevailed and God’s vision was the divine power that
forged the new Greater St. John Missionary Baptist Church structure.
During his first appointment to John Wesley, Rev. Hayes led a major
building project of an education wing, including church offices, and a
new fellowship hall, affectionately named for Robert Swett, long time
church chef. In addition, he helped the church overcome what many
saw as a burden the church would not be able to handle and set forth
the plans to purchase a church van. In 1999, Rev. Hayes was appointed
to Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church, the neighborhood
church in North Nashville, where he grew up as a child. Often referred
to as the “Building Pastor”, Rev. Hayes’ leadership was instrumental in
the building of Gordon’s new sanctuary, educational suite, and multi-
purpose room, as well as the renovation of the historical church
renovation: updated kitchen, dining hall, fellowship hall, restrooms,
Sunday School/ladies lounge, and meeting venue. Ms. Shiela Hayes
Greer and Joan Robinson co-chaired the interior design committee of
the 46,000 square facility.
Shiela is currently leading the John Wesley Board of Trustees in the completion of a new kitchen. This renovation will help support the plans the church has for new ministry growth and expansion.
The homecoming celebration is a dynamic experience highlighting the
124 years of service John Wesley United Methodist Church has had in
the Nashville community. From its historical roots on Edgehill, to the
current location on Benton Avenue, John Wesley has seen tremendous
change. According to an article most recently published in the Nashville
Scene, John Wesley is one of three remaining historically Black
churches still serving in the newly gentrified 12South neighborhood.
John Wesley has maintained ministry and worship throughout the
pandemic, and with effective COVID -19 protocols, proceeded as a
church that has persevered when many others left the area.
It is very appropriate these two dynamic preachers, both of whom are
builders in the Nashville community, should celebrate the 124 years of
ministry of John Wesley. It is even more of a celebration since this year
marks the 20 th celebration of Rev. Hayes’ leadership at John Wesley,
from 1989 – 1999 and 2012 to the present. Rev. Hayes and his lovely
wife, Sis. Janice A. Hayes, and their family: Dr. Danielle, Chase, and
daughter Charli Watson; Dr. Daniel Hayes, Jr., his wife Miranda Hayes
and their daughter, Zuri Hayes; Danicia M. Hayes Wyly and her husband
Darin Wyly, along with the entire John Wesley UMC congregation,
invite you to share in this historic occasion and help us lift high our
theme from Romans 8:28-31, “Together, Forever!”