Nations Ministry Center emerged from an April 2002 meeting of nine concerned Nashvillians, all members of the Presbyterian Church (USA). In January 2003, an apartment was rented at Tennessee Village (now Village West) to begin serving the many immigrants and refugees living in west Nashville. NMC organized English classes, fellowship events, computer classes, clothing give-aways, and employment assistance. In 2005, the organization incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. With the arrival of the Somali Bantu refugees, the organization made a significant contribution to this community. Matt McParland served as the first director. In order to reach immigrants beyond the Tennessee Village housing area, NMC opened an English class at Westminster Presbyterian Church in October 2005. Glencliff Presbyterian Church, in 2006, agreed to host classes as well.
In November 2005, NMC enlisted Marie-Aimee Abizera, a Rwandan refugee herself, to serve as the new director. In April 2006, NMC’s offices were moved to First Presbyterian Church.
With the arrival of over 100 Burundi refugees in summer 2007, Nations Ministry Center partnered with African Leadership to provide refugee services at a Refugee Training Center (RTC), a rented apartment in the Richland Hills Apartment community.
In 2008, NMC hired Chris Lovingood to serve as Executive Director. Nations Ministry Center opened a Refugee Center in summer 2008 to expand services. Thanks to a generous grant, NMC hired its first Director of Volunteer Services in April 2009. The Junior League also chose Nations Ministry Center to be a community partner in 2009-2010. We also welcomed in 2009 our first Young Adult Volunteer through the Nashville Epiphany Project.
Nations Ministry Center continued to grow in 2010 and celebrated the 14 Burundi families moving into Habitat for Humanity homes and saw other programs expand. In 2011, Heather Cain received a Mary Catherine Strobel Award for her service with our kindergarten readiness program. Also, in 2011, Nations Ministry added two staff position: Nations Academy Coordinator and Director of Refugee Services. In 2012, in partnership with the Tennessee Office for Refugees, we added another staff position, Job Coach, to assist refugees with employment needs. We also began offering our first citizenship classes.
In May 2013, Nations Ministry Center was recognized by the Department of Justice Board of Immigration Appeals to provide legal immigration services. Our director Chris Lovingood was accredited to provide the services. Chris was also a finalist for the Center for Nonprofit Management CEO of the Year Award.
In January 2015, we opened a suboffice in South Nashville in partnership with Southminster Presbyterian Church. In August 2015, our after-school program expanded to space donated by Acklen Church of Christ. In January 2017, we added a jobs program serving Rutherford County and expanded our services in Davidson County. In April 2017, we purchased an office building at 406 Welshwood Drive and raised over $500,000 to fund that facility. In 2018, we developed a program to serve refugee elders and were a finalist for the Salute to Excellence Innovation in Action Award.
Nations Ministry Center
Welcoming refugees to Nashville. Volunteering to help refugees rebuild their lives in Nashville.