The University City Adventist Church in Charlotte operates under the motto “Know Love. Live Love. Share Love,” and the church strives to demonstrate God’s love through service. As part of this mission, the church relaunched its “Room in the Inn” program in partnership with Roof Above, an organization that supports the homeless community through transitional and permanent housing, basic needs, shelter, and substance use treatment. Roof Above practices
radical compassion and encourages every partner to treat each individual with dignity, which is why they refer to those experiencing homelessness as “neighbors” rather than “homeless.”
The program operates on Friday evenings from December through March, when volunteers pick up eight “neighbors” from Roof Above and transport them to the church’s Family Life Center. The neighbors have access to showers, restrooms, and a free store where they
can select from a variety of items, such as shoes, clothes, jackets, sleeping bags, and backpacks. Volunteer groups cook and provide homemade meals for dinner and breakfast, as well as a sack lunch for the next day.
On Friday evenings and Saturday mornings, volunteers spend time with the neighbors, talking, having meals together, playing, or simply being present. The neighbors sleep in beds prepared each week by the Cornerstone Adventist Academy school children using sheets and covers made ready by volunteers.
The “Room in the Inn” program is a testament to the idea that it “takes a village” to make an impact. After a three year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program has returned and has already made a difference in the lives of those it serves. Participants have been
invited to prayer vigils, worshipped and prayed together, and most of all, had their lives impacted for the kingdom of God.