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St. Stephen & Room in the Inn Fort Worth: Looking Forward to Serving Women

St. Stephen & Room in the Inn Fort Worth: Looking Forward to Serving Women

This fall will mark the 17th anniversary for St. Stephen to host Room in the Inn. Along with Broadway Baptist, St. Stephen helped bring this important mission to Fort Worth— one that has now grown to involve more than 13 host congregations serving the unhoused in Tarrant County.

During our necessary two-year Covid break, St. Stephen was instrumental in keeping RITI congregations communicating— helping to promote and facilitate sack lunch preparation and deliveries to Presbyterian Night Shelter. Also, during this break, St. Stephen worked with other congregations to prepare move-in baskets of home goods and supplies for individuals moving into housing, and care boxes for those living outside of shelters.

Before resuming RITI after Covid, we needed to establish a new partner relationship with True Worth Place, the day shelter provider of Presbyterian Night Shelter. It was also necessary to strengthen the RITI FW Advisory Council that meets regularly to oversee, maintain and grow our mission. Once again, St. Stephen has provided leadership to help make these changes.

As we looked forward to resuming RITI the summer of 2022, we visited True Worth Place daily, handing out brochures to potential guests and letting them know we would again be hosting men for overnight stays at RITI. And each day, women would ask “Why don’t you host women?”

Obviously, a good question. The answer, however, is complicated. We know that congregations which hosted women in Fort Worth in 2013 and prior experienced low attendance. Even so, the facts show that single women represent about one-third of the homeless in Fort Worth. Furthermore, they require an understanding of and empathy for issues unique to women experiencing homelessness.

Over the past year, RITI FW has continued to explore the issues unique to hosting women, including conversations with RITI Nashville (our guide star) and pursuing direction and training from The Women’s Center of Tarrant County. With this guidance, RITI FW has encouraged existing and new congregations to consider addressing this need.

In its continuing RITI leadership role, St. Stephen stands at the nexus of observing the need and attempting to move forward to address it by actually hosting women. However, in order to do that, St. Stephen needs more WOMEN and COUPLES to serve as Drivers, Innkeepers and Evening Hosts.

Specifically, to host a proposed 7 women each of the 9 weeks this summer, we will need a total of:
9 women drivers (1 for each Thursday evening)
9 women drivers (1 for each Friday morning)
18 women or 9 couples as innkeepers (2 people to stay overnight each week)
9 women as evening hosts (1 each Thursday, to be on site between dinner and innkeeper arrival)

In order to finalize plans, St. Stephen will need to make a decision whether we will be able to host women this summer (rather than men) no later than June 12. If you are able to volunteer to fill any of these critical roles, or would like more information, please contact Mike Tyson (817-372-3127) or Wendy Larmour (

We know that hosting women will be different, so training will be provided for all volunteers to better prepare for any issues that might arise. We are confident our church will continue to faithfully lead the way as we pursue expanding this mission to our neighbors. Sincere thanks for your commitment to Room in the Inn at St. Stephen.

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