Brooks Memorial United Methodist Church was established 150 years ago. It was founded and built on Old Wilson Pike in Brentwood, Tennessee in 1867. In the late thirties, under the pastorate of Reverend D. M. Gresham, the church was relocated to Frierson Street in Brentwood, Tennessee. The cornerstone laying of the Frierson Street structure was completed in 1947 under the pastorate of the late Reverend J. J. Bowen.
Many milestones have occurred in the life of the church. One in particular was the “Mortgage Burning” and Dedication Celebration on May 21, 1962, under the leadership of the late Reverend Samuel R. Sims, Sr. The name was changed to “Brooks Memorial Church” at that time. In 1967, when the Central Jurisdiction was formed in the United Methodist Church, we became “Brooks Memorial United Methodist Church”. On February 10, 1985, Brooks Memorial United Methodist Church moved from Brentwood, Tennessee to its current location on Brick Church Pike in Nashville, Tennessee bringing a membership of seventy-four.
The first worship service at the new location was held on February 17, 1985, with the late Reverend Samuel R. Sims, Sr. still presiding as pastor. Reverend Sims later retired with thirty years of service to Brooks Memorial and its congregation. In July of 1985, Reverend Daniel M. Hayes, became the pastor of Brooks Memorial. Under his magnetic leadership, the membership grew to over two hundred and the church adopted the theme “The Church Committed to Make a Difference”.
After Reverend Daniel M. Hayes was appointed to another church, Rev. Alvin R. Goodwin became the pastor of Brooks Memorial United Methodist Church on June 24, 1990. He served with dedication for a brief time.
On March 17, 1991, Reverend Joe K. Shelton was assigned to the pastoral role at Brooks Memorial. Under his leadership, the church continued to strive to make a difference. That endeavor was visible through the Children’s Ministry, Men’s Choir and Tutorial Program. Reverend Joe K. Shelton’s vision for Brooks Memorial extended beyond the visible things, through the preaching and teaching of God’s word, we became stronger supporters of Christ and His church.
Reverend Isaac Davis joined us on July 3, 1993 and served until June 1995. He was instrumental in starting our “Children’s Lesson”, which was a delight to all our children here at Brooks Memorial.
Reverend William C. Dobbins, II, came to Brooks Memorial in June 1995 and served until June 1998. He was instrumental in forming a new children’s choir and reorganizing our acolytes.
Dr. Roland E. Long served from June 1998 until June 18, 2004 and under his leadership the church adopted a new theme of “Believers Witnessing Christ Through Love, Faith, and Service” and began incorporating a time of sharing during the worship service called “Sharing the Brooks’ Spirit”.
Reverend Linney G. Moore, joined us on June 27, 2004. He encouraged our children to become more involved in the worship service by reincorporating the “Children’s Lesson” now called the “Children’s Message”.
Reverend Shirley Rayford, joined us on June 24, 2007. She served at Brooks for nine years, retiring in 2015. Under her leadership she was a very caring and praying pastor. She always told the congregation that God was in control. Her Vision for Brooks was to grow prayerfully, spiritually, financially and to draw men unto Christ. Many of visions came into fruition. She was always so concern about the children and youth of Brooks.
Under her leadership, on Wednesday nights the church was opened so the Children and Youth could come after school for a meal, bible lessons and tutoring. This was known as Wednesday Night Lights. Out of this program the Praise Dance and Mine Ministry was started. This enhanced our Worship services and was embraced by the members, families and the Nashville community. Noon Day Bible Study took place each Wednesday gave our members, families and the community a place to come and study the bible and other spiritual readings. This was a spirit filled class where continued prayer took place.
Rev. Rayford. felt the need that the church have a prayer room where members, families and friends could pray privately giving their petition to Our Lord and Savior. The Mabel Frances Smith Archives and History Room was also made available to house the rich history and memorabilia of the church. Rev. Rayford was very instrumental in the church acquiring a Van to pick up members and community families. This was ministry that has really been a great access to Brooks. When Rev. Rayford began her ministerial duties at Brooks the church had a second mortgage, with much faith, prayer and encouragement the mortgage was paid off and the church is now debt free. Her faithfulness and exceptional service to the Lord will always be cherish memories of the Legacy of Brooks Memorial United Methodist Church.
Dr. Gwendolyn A. E. Hill Brown Felder, joined us on 2016. With her leadership, members of Brooks Memorial United Methodist Church are looking forward to new growth and vitality in our church.
Reverend Wille J. Burchfield