Memphis “Inn Crowd” Begins 8th Season with 35 Host Congregations
Seven years ago a tiny congregation, Colonial Cumberland Presbyterian Church, answered God’s call to welcome strangers into the warm, safe sanctuary of a building that was underused during the winter. Four guests shared dinner and fellowship that night with members of the church. This small group felt that this would be a good outreach “project.” Room in the Inn is no longer an outreach project, it has become a way of life and ministry for 35 congregations, and that number continues to grow.
The Room in the Inn story is simple. Small acts of faith and kindness are being transformed into something powerful and life-changing. Faith communities have a unique opportunity to share hope and hospitality to those living on the streets of our city. Around the dinner table, volunteers break bread with their guests and learn about the struggles of homelessness. Listening to the needs of the guests constantly inspires new ways of serving and deepens the bonds of community.
As the network of congregations grows, the dreams of making a greater impact also grows. The building next door to First United Methodist Church is being leased at no cost to RITI. However, the long vacant building needs major renovations to meet the need for day hospitality for our guests. Plans for restrooms, showers, training areas and worship space have been made, and the space is currently used as the pick-up location for RITI.
We call this former Carpenter’s Union, “The Carpenter’s House.”
“When someone experiences hospitality and safety and a feeling of belonging, they experience sanctuary. Sanctuary is defined by the people, not the space. Everyone can become an expression of sanctuary. Ultimately, sanctuary offers one an experience of something sacred, something holy.”
-Father Charles Strobel, founder of Room in the Inn (Nashville)
For those who have begun another year of hospitality with us, thank you for the dedication you have shown to our guests. Lives are changed, both the lives of guests and of volunteers. With your continued support, both through volunteering and financial gifts, those experiencing homelessness will know the transformational grace that all of God’s children deserve.
For those seeking ways to join this sacred experience, there are many ways to become part of our Inn Crowd this winter:
- Open your place of worship for shelter this winter to a small group of individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness.
- Volunteer to support the mission of Room in the Inn-Memphis.
- Offer essential financial support that guarantees continued growth and holy hospitality.
- Celebrate RITI Sunday, December 18
- Help us spread #holyhospitality!
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