At this point in Advent, I like to imagine that Joseph and his very-pregnant wife Mary have set off on foot to Bethlehem, where they will be looking for “room in the inn.” Of course we all know that in the bible story they find none, and instead Mary gives birth to a baby boy who will change the world, and places him in a manger.
I’m sometimes blown away when I pause and reflect on how that story is still changing the world today. For example, every Thursday night through Friday morning in the coldest and hottest months of the year, First Street Methodist Mission hosts Room in the Inn (obviously named after the nativity story), a ministry in which volunteers welcome 14 men experiencing unsheltered homelessness into our church for a night of respite from a difficult life. Room in the Inn is coordinated in partnership with DRC, and other churches host other nights of the week.
When our guests arrive on Thursday evening, they usually enjoy a hot shower and then gather for a meal provided by our volunteers. Volunteers and guests eat together, family-style, and socialize; the communal breaking of bread is a spiritually rewarding experience for all. After dinner activities might include movies, games, or jigsaw puzzles, and this week Lux Machine salon is stopping by to offer haircuts. Guests then go up to a freshly-made bed with a mint on the pillow for comfortable night’s sleep and share a hearty breakfast with volunteers before they depart Friday morning.
I think what makes Room in the Inn such a special ministry is that it nourishes the body and the soul simultaneously—and not just for the guests, but the volunteers as well. And it changes lives; countless Room in the Inn guests across the country have found respite and stability at Room in the Inn and gone on to permanently leave chronic homelessness behind.
We would love to have you volunteer with us. There is a job for everyone, from arriving early to make beds, to providing meals, to serving as an overnight host. There is some training and preparation required prior to volunteering; if you’re interested in sharing your God-given gifts and/or talents with neighbors in need, contact me (email@example.com | 817-335-6080 ext. 102) or Linda (firstname.lastname@example.org | 817-335-6080 ext. 101), and we will be sure to get you more information!
Wishing you a joyful Christmas and a prosperous new year,
Assistant Director of First Street Methodist Mission