Hospitality - Ways to Practice - Ideas

Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

— Romans 12:13

Share Stories
•   Describe ways you've offered hospitality, or received it. If a particular experience was painful, explore options for doing things differently next time.
•   Each Advent, children and adults of the Mission District of San Francisco re-enact the story of Joseph seeking lodging for his young wife, Mary, who is weary from travel and heavy with child. For nine nights in a row, people "become" the weary couple or the innkeepers, exchanging at various houses the ancient request for shelter (posada), and the traditional rejection. On the ninth night, Christmas Eve, one innkeeper offers the couple his stable, and then people celebrate the birth of Jesus as well as the generosity of the innkeeper. Las Posadas is a ritual of rejection and welcoming, slamming the door on the needy and opening it wide. How might you enact this story in your own setting?

Welcome Others
•   Are there some people in your neighborhood who seem to practice hospitality especially well? Ask them to talk with you about how they learned to be hospitable, and how they understand it.
•   Post signs at nearby street corners inviting people to your church's after-worship coffee hour.
•   Educate yourself on immigration issues in your state or nation. Look for ways to help shape public policy on immigration.
•   Invite people in your community who come from other cultures to help you offer a "taste of __________" evening. Organize it and help provide ingredients for preparing special dishes.
•   Invite an architect or landscaper to talk to you about assessing how your home or church space speaks welcome.
•   Have bread-baking parties at someone's home or in the church kitchen. Keep loaves of homemade bread in the freezer as gifts to Sunday morning visitors.

Offer Shelter
•   Establish a house or space where people passing through can spend a night or two.
•   Research organizations in your area that house and feed people on an emergency basis. Make copies of addresses and phone numbers, along with simple maps, and keep them in your car. Offer a copy to any panhandlers you meet.
•   Donate food online at The Hunger Site.
•   Consider offering some of your church space to house a local service organization.
•   Learn about the Sojourner Community and their ministries in Washington, D.C. at
•   Central City Hospitality House has been serving the homeless community in San Francisco's Tenderloin district since 1967. Programs consist of a shelter for homeless adults, a drop-in self help center, an employment program, and a community arts studio.

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