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Faith Acts Day 1: The Contributor, Room in the Inn, and Vine Street Christian Church

By Nick Sena and Ava Lindstrom
To start, we apologize for the delay in the post from day #1. It was such a long day that we just had to crash at the end of it, and we just now have time to put our thoughts together here at the end of day #2 (day #2 post coming right after this!)
The Contributor
We visited the monday morning general meeting of one of the world’s largest street newspaper distributors called The Contributor. This newspaper highlights the written and artistic contributions of the homeless and formally homeless individuals living in downtown Nashville. It promotes social justice, human dignity, and the artistic talents of the homeless community. The Contributor is sold for $2 each and sixty percent of that revenue provides an income for their homeless vendors. Allowing the homeless vendors to earn money through honest work restores dignity and encourages positive lifestyle changes.


“Cline-casso” holding up his work, which was submitted for print in this week’s issue of The Contributor.


A display from a recent fundraiser called “The Disposables” in which participants were given disposable cameras to capture scenes from their life through the artistic expression of photography. Some of these were sold to raise money for The Contributor operations.


A group picture of The Contributor vendors before leaving for the day to sell copies of the street paper.

Room in the Inn
Room in the Inn began with a simple idea from Father Charlie Strobel on a cold November night in 1985: why must the homeless sleep outside in the cold when there is room inside the church building? Room in the Inn has since grown to several cities across the country, allowing groups of homeless guests to be housed in churches once a week during the coldest (and sometimes hottest) months of the year. In Nashville, the mission has expanded to include a daytime shelter, meal provision, classes, safe houses, and low-income housing for homeless. All these options provide outlets for community building, respect, and personal expression which allows individuals experiencing homelessness to feel valued as an individual and welcomed in to the community, rather than a statistical number or someone endlessly living off of free support. Social reincorporation happens on the individual level, and Room in the Inn serves to welcome individuals in to receive the resources they need.

A poster for Room in the Inn.


This wall inspiration reminds the guests of one of the seven core values of the organization. The core values are Spirituality, Love, Hospitality, Respect, Hope, Community, Nonviolence.


Some art produced in a studio art class offered at Room in the Inn, allowing people to express themselves in the midst of difficult circumstances.


TCU students taking a tour of the facilities for long-term housing placement.


Individuals can earn points from participating in classes and programs, and have the freedom and dignity to choose how to spend their points, and select care and clothing products they personally like. 


A balcony view of the Room in the Inn courtyard, life-sized chess space included!

Vine Street Christian Church
We had the privilege to meet with the pastor of Vine Street Christian Church, Thomas Kleinert, and discuss how he engages his congregation in social justice conversations. He had several comments about the importance of approaching all topics with loving kindness, while not shying away from the truth of difficult matters.

Pastor Thomas speaking to the group in his book-filled office.


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