Schrader Lane Church of Christ Recalls First 100 Years, Looks Forward

Ananias Anderson, father of Aaliyah Anderson, 4, buttons his daughter’s coat before leaving school. Photo by Clint Confehr

By Clint Confehr

NASHVILLE, TN — Surrounded by Tennessee State University, Schrader Lane Church of Christ is celebrating its centennial throughout 2018.

This congregation officially started in May 1918, so we are recognizing this as our centennial year,” says Robert Gardenhire, minister at the church on 14 acres.

Schrader Lane Church of Christ celebrates homecoming on the third Sunday in June. This year, it’s June 17, Father’s Day.

A recent tour focused on child care and senior housing. Between those bookends of life, Schrader Lane Church of Christ offers much more for congregants and the community at-large.

“TSU was called a normal school” in 1918, Gardenhire says. “We are an island in the sea that is TSU. The president’s home is to our south. The main campus, to our west. Some of their housing is to our east and one of the things about TSU is that it’s well-involved in agriculture, so much of its farm land is to the north.

“Just today, the TSU audiology department was here working with children in our Child Care Center,” Gardenhire said. “And we’ve had TSU students volunteering in our assisted living center.

“We believe in investing in our community and contributing holistically to our community [including] children at the Child Care Center,” he said, emphasizing child care, not day care, a service initiated and then directed by Carolyn Jones, wife of Dr. David Jones Jr. She is succeeded by Shirlee McCluskey. SLCC’s first child care center is on the church’s 14-acre-campus. A second is at the Vine Hill Community off Wedgwood.

Together, they serve nearly 120 children. Daily devotionals are conducted in the Child Care Centers.

“When our children leave the campus center they are prepared for the next level of their educational journey,” Gardenhire said. When the children leave the Vine Hill center, they are prepared for kindergarten.

“We operate our centers with non-profit in mind,” Gardenhire said. “From a business prospective, we try to have them break even … to serve the community at a reasonable cost.”

There’s a waiting list for child care. The service is not free.

Nursing students in TSU’s speech pathology and occupational therapy programs help the church programs. Nursing students provide a more thorough examination than what’s required by the state for child care centers. Occupational therapy students look for children’s eye-hand coordination, their writing, walking, running. Education students observe classrooms.

Opened in 2004, the David Jones Jr. Assisted Living Center is owned and operated by SLCC. Evelyn Walker is the director of the senior centers which provide a continuum of care, meaning the centers offer different levels of assistance.

Gardenhire said “It is cost-friendly for residents” and substantially subsidized by the church to serve those of modest income.

“One of the fundamental values in the culture here is the people,” Gardenhire said. The non-profit housing is helped by volunteers. Seniors have a quality, safe and secure environment.

Professional staffing includes sufficient numbers of registered- and licensed practical nurses and certified nurse technicians. There are a few serving as caregivers only. There’s a dietician as required by the state.

The SLCC’s centennial celebration includes gatherings for members, past and present, and friends of the church

“All are cordially invited to share in our joy,” the church announces.

An earlier version of this story was published April 5-11, 2018 in The Tennessee Tribune’s print edition mailed to paid subscribers and available at hundreds of businesses in Tennessee. This story: omits erroneous references to a program for families; corrects information about child care students and when they graduate toward another institution in their educational journey; and clarifies the aspects of the continuum of care available to senior citizens.

Upcoming programs in Schrader Lane Church of Christ’s East Auditorium include:

• A discussion addressing issues to consider “…When Your Children Ask You.” Starting at 10:45 a.m., it’s on Sunday, April 29.

• Storytelling — “Once Upon an Ekklesia” — is at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 2.

• Song Fest — “Every Tone a Testimony” — is on May 19 at 4 p.m. followed by an ice cream social.

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