Seven United Methodist churches are helping homeless in Memphis via 'Room in the Inn'


Seven United Methodist churches in the greater Memphis, Tennessee, area are partnering in ministry this winter with Room in the Inn-Memphis. (Submitted photo)

by Jennifer Brezina

For the eighth straight winter, dozens of Memphis-area churches are banding together to help people needing shelter from the cold weather.

The list includes seven churches in the Metro District of the Memphis Conference of The United Methodist Church: Bartlett, Christ, Covenant, Emmanuel, Germantown, Heartsong and Trinity.

Room in the Inn - Memphis, a non-profit network of churches that provides free overnight shelter and meals to the homeless, kicked off a new season on Wednesday, Nov. 1. The program has grown from one church to nearly 40 throughout Shelby County.

"Room in the Inn is such a simple ministry that helps with a complex problem," Alise Davis, fundraising coordinator of Room in the Inn, said. "We exist to shelter and feed homeless individuals in small, safe environments, thereby sharing the love of God through hospitality."

Davis explained that although the local community provides several shelters, the need is too great. That’s the need Room in the Inn seeks to fill.

Room in the Inn's season runs from November through March and includes more than 150 of the coldest nights. With multiple churches hosting every night, the total comes to about 430 nights of hospitality offering 5,600 beds. 

Davis explained that people needing shelter gather each evening at The Carpenter's House, located at 212 N. Second Street in downtown Memphis. They are then transported to a church that is hosting for the night.

That church provides a warm evening meal provided by its members, some of whom spend the night with the homeless people, who are then returned to The Carpenter's House the next morning.

Davis said the organization plans to ramp up its fundraising this season, with the goal to add paid staff and ultimately renovate The Carpenter's House for daytime hospitality, including restrooms, showers, and more.

"Every human being deserves to be treated with dignity and respect," Davis concluded. "No matter how many congregations participate or how large the program grows, the intimate experience of eating together and offering the gift of holy hospitality is the critical element."

For more information or to donate to Room in the Inn, visit online at