FELLOWSHIP has been the cement that has held this INTERDENOMINATIONAL
group together for the last 35 years. This TOGETHERNESS has been an effective
working reality and has not suffered because of the lack of a RIGID FORMAL
STRUCTURE, nor because of non-adherence to the traditional Robert’s Rules of Order
PARLIMENTARY PROCEDURES. We started as a deliberate direct action group,
attacking social evils without subscribing to the formalities of structure or bureaucracy.
These characteristics were left to the seven or eight traditional denominational ministries
alliances existing at that time. We were anxious to get all the ministers of all
denominations to come together for fellowship-discussion which would strengthen us for
DIRECT SOCIAL ACTION. We were anxious to get the Seventh Day Adventists,
Salvation Army, Baha’i Faith, Muslims, Episcopal, Church of Christ, Church of God, (and
other groups as we discovered them) to come together and UNITEDLY, COLLECTIVELY
and COOPERATIVELY attack the social evils which plagued Nashville after the 1954
Supreme Court Decision on Public Schools Desegregation. Many of the above named
groups would not or could not JOIN and ORGANIZATION, but COULD and WOULD and
DID participate mightily and effectively in the FELLOWSHIP CONCEPT OF WORKING
TOGETHER TO DEAL WITH THE SOCIAL EVILS WHICH AFFLICTED NASHVILLE.
Because IMF has been successful in keeping an action oriented series of
relevant activities going on all the time, and because it has dealt with the issues and
concerns which it has to deal with, and because the LEADERSHIP of IMF has
always been highly visible and courageously vocal, it appears as though we were a
RIGIDLY STRUCTURED ORGANIZATION. But the fact is, we have never been a
rigidly structured organization. We achieved and stayed on the job and stayed
together because of the FELLOWSHIP STYLE OF LEADERSHIP.
PURPOSE AND MISSION
When we came into existence no merger of organizations was thought of or necessary.
We did not need a NEW organization; we needed UNITY, WORKING TOGETHER, using
our resources to attack the evil social practices in our community and all areas of our daily
life. The several denominational alliances were not abolished or merged. They kept their
individuality and continued to operate in their customary and traditional ways. IMF
became the PLUS channel through which we could get the strength we need to achieve a
The purpose and mission of IMF when we started was to provide an Interdenominational
Bridge which would bring about a UNIFIED COOPERATIVE CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP
CADRE without the trappings, frills and trimmings of the customary organizations and
alliances. We were interested in Social Progress and SOCIAL CHANGE, and decided that
the FELLOWSHIP STYLE of leadership was the answer. Our community needed to
become a BELOVED COMMUNITY, and we were determined to take the initiative and
make our contribution.
Complete flexibility helped us as we carried on. The ACTIVIST CONCEPT kept us on the
job. We had no standing committees. We created committees and task forces to do what
needed to be done, and terminated them when the WORK was done. The Social
Concerns which engaged us consumed all of our energies and other resources, and we
never regretted functioning under this FELLOWSHIP style of TOGETHERNESS.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
I hope that we do not separate ourselves from our first love, or abandon that which brought
us to where we now are—THE FELLOWSHIP STYLE OF FUNCTIONING. This style has
given us our ability to deal with the big issues of RACISM, EDUCATION, EMPLOYMENT,
AND POLITICAL ACTION.
There had to be a meeting of minds and a great degree of agreement and understanding
to bring into being the IMF which we now have. Thanks be to God that this is what we
had. Among those who led the way in this noble achievement were: Reverends Kelly
Miller Smith, N. Samuel Jones, Andrew Porter, A. Louis Powell, W.T. Brooks, Sr., Joseph
R. Reed, Alex M. Anderson, to mention only a few.
(Nashville Christian Leadership Conference)
It is important to report that the predecessor to our present IMF was the NCLC led by Rev.
Kelly Miller Smith, the first President and by Rev. Andrew White, the second President. It
was during the presidency of Rev. Andrew White and Rev. N. Samuel Jones that the idea
for the birth of IMF was born.
IMF has had four Presidents:
Andrew White 1954-1970
Michael L. Graves 1970-1972
Dogan Williams 1972-1982
Marcel Kellar 1982-1989
Under the leadership of Rev. Marcel Kellar the IMF has not only carried on significantly,
but has achieved. The most significant feature of Rev. Kellar’s leadership is the success in
establishing the Trust Fund for Students of Historical Black Colleges and Universities.
Subsequent President’s have included:
Forrest Harris 1989-1993
John Corry 1993-1997
Edwin Sanders 1997-2001
James Thomas 2001-2004
Enoch Fuzz 2004-2006
George Price 2006-2007
Ed Thompson 2008-2009
Raymond Bowman 2010-2011
V.H. (Sonnye) Dixon 2012-2013
Judy D. Cummings 2014-2015
Rep. Harold M. Love Jr. 2016-2017
James C. Turner II 2018-2019
Chris Jackson 2020-2021