Welcoming All

Apr 12, 2023

“Welcoming All as an Expression of Faith”


We’re still exploring RITI’s Core Values with you here each month, and it’s appropriate that we spend Volunteer Appreciation Month highlighting “Welcoming all as an expression of faith.” From RITI’s beginnings in Congregational Shelter, we have worked to keep our shelter as low barrier as possible. We have had space for hundreds of people who have exhausted all other options and stand at our door hoping to finally hear, “Welcome.”

Like our guests, our volunteers come from all walks of life, and even as people of faith our Host Congregations are a diverse crew! This winter RITI had 32 host congregations – among those are two faith traditions and a span of 13 denominations! As we gathered our lead volunteers of those congregations together for an annual appreciation dinner, we were reminded how rare it is to see so many people of different faiths and denominations come together under one roof for one common mission. For each, what is “holy” might have variations, but for every host welcoming all is an expression of their faith.

RITI began as a faith based organization with the Congregational Shelter program. It has now grown to include the Recuperative Care Center and Family Inn. So, how does the core value of “Welcoming all as an expression of faith” fit into those programs? Here is what Recuperative Care Guest Advocate, Jimmy Donlon had to say:

Jesus was and is the defender of the oppressed. One of the most important commands of God echoed throughout the Bible is this:

“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
Maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
Deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

When we welcome guests into the RCC, they are often modern cultural outcasts. Right now in the RCC we have 11 guests. That includes two immigrants, seven disabled people, three people with substance abuse problems, and four people who suffer from mental illness. We have a guest who is a single mom, a guest who is homosexual, and a guest who has a developmental disability. Nine of our guests are from racial minority groups. It’s our responsibility as an organization to care for the people that our society has dehumanized and abandoned. Even when they don’t look like us, or share our background, or even speak our language.

How have you seen welcome extended beyond typical barriers at Room in the Inn or elsewhere in your community? What does “welcoming all” mean to you, and how do you live it out in a real and tangible way? We’d love to hear from you! Email us or tag us on social media @ritimemphis #holyhospitality.

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