I have known of the wonderful work of Nashville Rescue Mission since moving to Nashville in 2002, to serve as the Pastor of First Presbyterian Church. Our church is committed to ministries that serve the poor and the homeless, and we have supported the Mission for decades. One of my first experiences with the Mission was offering the opening prayer at an anniversary banquet. As I listened to the stories told that evening, by the people who work at the Mission, and the men and women they assist, I sensed that night, and many times since, an organization with a clear mission to help the homeless of Nashville and to offer people at the margins of our city a lifeline.
This lifeline begins and ends with a focus on the dignity of each person, and a commitment to share the Good News of God’s love. This takes the form of things tangible, from a warm, safe place to stay, and a nourishing meal, to programs that offer hope and skills, and a new life to people who find themselves in dire circumstances.
There are signs of growing prosperity everywhere in Nashville, and with it, the challenges it brings. Some of those problems remain homelessness, poverty, mental health issues, and alcohol and substance abuse issues. Nashville Rescue Mission is an organization that seeks to address the crying needs of this population. As our city prospers, we do well to continue to ask questions about the heart and soul of our community.
Swiss theologian Karl Barth reminded us that societies are judged by how they treat the very young, the very old, and the poor. Nashville has been a city with a soul, that is to say, a city, for all its faults, seeks to be a humane and humanizing place to live. We are a city known for world-class health care and a commitment to music, one of the sublime and humanizing influences upon the human family. We are also called to be a city that cares about poverty, homelessness, family violence, and mental health.
Nashville Rescue Mission is one organization we can point to in seeking to define the heart and soul of our city, in that they are deeply committed to those who suffer at the boundaries of our community. Jesus said, “As you did it unto the least of these, so you did it unto me.” The Mission is a place that seeks to honor the dignity of the poor, the homeless, the sick, and the overlooked in our midst. As such, I can’t think of a more important organization to support!
Todd Jones came to serve as Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Nashville in March 2002. Originally from Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, Todd graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1979. Before coming to Nashville, he served at three congregations and today has nearly 40 years in ministry. Todd and his wife Connie, a Nashville native, have four children and four grandchildren.