‘Rockin’ Rev’ to lead concert, workshop here

Published 1:43 am Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A rock singer-turned United Methodist minister who has spent the past 10 years working with the homeless, refugees and immigrants in Nashville will present a concert and workshop in Andalusia next week.

The Rev. Sherry Cothran, pastor of St. John’s United Methodist Church in West Nashville, said she grew up dreaming of being a rock star.

Cothran picked up her love for music at a very young age, she said. Her family was involved in the church and they played music as a group in the church. Her brother was the piano player and Cothran said, “I would stand up on the piano bench so people could see me and belt out songs.”

Later, she was the lead singer of the Evinrudes, a popular alternative pop band with a hit single “Drive Me Home.” During this time she left the church scene to pursue her career. The group disbanded in the late 1990s and Cothran decided it was her time to pursue her spiritual journey. She began to write songs about her experiences and this led her to become a United Methodist church pastor.

The award-winning recording artist, who is nicknamed “The Rockin’ Rev,” said her work in urban Nashville has taught her that people are often healed by “those we reject the most.”

“It seemed very natural to write songs about my experiences and put them out as projects that I could go and share with the world, hopefully holding a deeper meaning for people,” she said.

These experiences have led her to the creation of her recent music video for the song Tending Angels and her up-and-coming e-book Tending Angels: Stories From the Frontlines of Heaven and Earth. Both the song and e-book correlate with Sherry’s burning passion to help the homeless and those who suffer from poverty, she said.

“Over time, I developed relationships with many people from this population and learned so much about the systemic reasons people end up in homelessness,” she said. “It’s much different than the stereotype. It became a passion of mine to tell their stories, to show the real reasons people spiral into homelessness.”

She also finds a personal connection in the movement of women stepping out of the mold and coming into their own in faith. She has a series of songs about the women she calls the “Untamed women of the Old Testament.” These are women who made their way out of the pre-determined lifestyles expected of them. She said she has been touring over the past few years trying to share the idea through workshops and music.

Cothran said that this was important to her because the church in which she grew up had more restrictive beliefs about women’s roles, which took a toll on her psychologically over time.

On Fri., Aug. 18, she will hold a 6:30 p.m. concert at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church to benefit the church’s Rice and Beans ministry, which provides food to more than 100 families each month. There is no admission, but an offering for the program will be collected.

At 5 p.m. on Sat., Aug. 19, she will lead an interactive workshop, “Prophets, Harlots, Witches and Warriors: Untamed Women of the Old Testament,” which explores the lesser-known stores of the women and men of the Old Testament.

The workshop explores the question, “What gifts have you always carried inside of you that you would lie to connect with and use in service of your church and community?”

The format is a covered-dish meal, and a monetary offering and/or a contribution of canned goods will be accepted for the Rice and Beans ministry. To register, call St. Mary’s office at 334-222-2487.

Cothran also will preach at St. Mary’s 9:15 a.m. service on Sun., Aug. 20.