Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Join Nashville's Inn Crowd

by Mary Wilder
Room In The Inn Winter Shelter Director

Everyone wants to be cool. None of us really get past that feeling we had in school, that desire to fit in with just the right group. We all look for our place to belong.

As adults, though, our criteria for choosing a group may mature. We may look for people who pursue similar professional goals or who share interests with us. Recently, I searched for a book club to join. A quick internet search uncovered dozens of choices representing every genre of literature imaginable. There is a web site called Meet Up, which features clubs from Scrabble playing to hiking to poetry writing. We are all searching for ways to connect and find meaning.

Then there is the Inn Crowd.  For twenty-nine years Room In The Inn has been a community of people bound together to offer shelter and compassion to people experiencing homelessness. 188 congregations open their doors to welcome guests in the winter months. It is a ministry that creates a real mutuality, a chance to break down barriers that separate us. We take part in time together and focus on relationship in the simple act of offering a meal and a place to stay.  It is a movement that allows people to experience something sacred. On one level, Room In The Inn is about bringing people inside from the cold. But, in a profound way, it is about encountering God in the faces around the table.

The polar vortex last winter taught us a hard lesson at Room In The Inn. We learned how brutal and life-threatening the weather can be. In response, we are working diligently to expand The Inn Crowd. We are asking congregations already part of Room In The Inn to do one of two things: take an extra guest or two or schedule extra nights in the coldest months of January and February. We also need help identifying congregations who do not take part in Room In The Inn and invite them to join us. We are looking for contacts within those congregations.

Everyone should know what it is like to be in The Inn Crowd.

Contact Mary to let her know how you and your congregation plan to help.

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