Room In The Inn (RITI) started in 1985 with four congregations committed to sheltering homeless people in Nashville, TN. It was a vision of a Nashville minister, Father Charles F. Strobel. By the end of that winter, 31 congregations had joined together to house and feed the homeless. Now over 190 congregations in Middle TN, with over 6,500 volunteers, participate in Room in the Inn. They shelter over 1,400 men and women from November to March. Emergency services, transitional programs, and long term solutions are offered 365 days a year at the RITI downtown campus.
First Presbyterian Church Franklin has been one of the member congregations for the past 14 years. What does this mean? Our church hosts 12 guests every Wednesday night (alternating men and women guests). A volunteer driver and rider pick up our guests from the Nashville campus and deliver them to the church. When they arrive at FPC, other volunteers have already set up beds in several of the rooms off of Wilson Hall. Our RITI guests join the congregation for our WNL dinner and fellowship. Volunteers provide breakfast and sack lunches, which are distributed Thursday morning. Members of our church also volunteer as InnKeepers-- they spend the night at the church. Thursday morning, another volunteer driver picks up the guests and returns them to the Nashville campus.
There are many pieces to this puzzle and many ways to be involved in the mission. You needn't come to church Wednesday nights to participate, but we would love for you to join us and interact with our guests. Feel free to reach out to Mary Sellers Shaw or Namaste Anderson if you'd like more information.
"Room In The Inn is not about giving; it is about receiving. It is about everyone, both guests and hosts, receiving a blessing, an encounter with God in the midst of suffering, hardship, pain, and grief. It is an opportunity, not an answer."
Father Charles F. Strobel, Founder of RITI