by Rev. Antoinette Robinson, Peace Lutheran Church, Memphis
Peace Lutheran Church, Memphis, formed Trinity Ministries in partnership with two other local churches to serve the Great Commission of God: To go out serve the Lord in the community, taking God’s love, through Jesus Christ, to bring hope, joy and love to people who have fallen into the pits of life and whom the world has discarded.
It was through Trinity Ministries, more than 10 years ago, that Peace Lutheran Church joined hands with Carpenter’s House, of Room in the Inn – Memphis, an ecumenical ministry that serves people experiencing homelessness. Room in the Inn partners with churches all over the city to provide hot meals, warm beds, showers, clean underwear, T-shirts and clothes, as needed. Through this partnership, Peace Lutheran Church provides overnight shelter for more than a dozen people one night per week from November through March.
Serving up encouragement
We met Keith one night. He was homeless and hopeless. He had given up on himself. He was invited — along with all the guests that night — to join us at Monday / Wednesday Lunches being served each week at Peace Lutheran. Keith said he was encouraged to come to the lunch because of how the people treated him during his overnight stay at Peace Lutheran.
Keith continued to sign up for “room in the inn” through Carpenter’s House, requesting to come back to Peace Lutheran Church every Friday during the winter season. Keith said, “I was encouraged not to give up on myself, to see that God has greater things for me to do with my life. God’s love for me was shared every time I came to eat lunch with the community.”
Keith got a job working at night, so he would come to lunch every Monday and Wednesday so we could fix him a take-out lunch for dinner that night at work. From there he was given housing through Carpenter’s House. He continued to come and volunteer to clean up and do whatever Peace Lutheran needed to be done. Keith started donating to the ministry by works, and funds, as available. Keith is in his twenties and looks forward to living a life with his wife and daughter.
Spreading God’s love, reviving hope in Memphis
Trinity Ministries continues to spread the love of God throughout the community. Just 10 years ago, people in the neighborhoods around Peace Lutheran Church didn’t know what being Lutheran means. Now Lutherans are known as Christians doing God’s will – reviving hope – in the community of Memphis. We serve with the support of all the Lutheran churches around the Memphis area as well as Methodist, Presbyterian and nondenominational churches; the Vollintine Evergreen Community Association neighborhood organization; Girl Scouts; and a host of individuals.
Future programs will be children’s church on Tuesday afternoons for the children to enjoy story time, crafts, and dinner, and to explore their God-given talents. Trinity Ministries is needed in the community to continue to lift Christ’s love and acceptance.
The Rev. Antoinette (“Tonie”) Robinson is pastor at Peace Lutheran Church, Memphis. She is also a leader of the Homeless and Justice Ministries Network of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This network provides strategic leadership and resources to ministries across the country to walk with the marginalized — those who struggle with homelessness, poverty, mental illness, reentry and addiction — to share the good news of Jesus Christ with people wherever they are. Learn more about Peace Lutheran Church’s outreach ministries. Learn more about the Homeless and Justice Network of the ELCA.
edited by Kris A. Mainellis, Program Director for Communication and Events, Congregational Vitality