At the core of most faith traditions is the prophetic call to feed the hungry and shelter the homeless. The Family Promise network allows congregations of all faiths in the Kingsport area to respond to the needs of homeless families in a coordinated way. It provides the opportunity to draw together in a shared mission, an interfaith community that builds hope and touches the lives of both those who volunteer and those whom they serve.
There are three ways to become a Network Congregation.
- Host Churches
- Host Congregations provide lodging, meals, and caring hospitality for homeless families with children four times a year for a week at a time. Guests arrive at the church around 5:30 PM and depart in the morning around 7:30 AM. Each host church has a coordinator (or coordinating team) to arrange for meals and volunteers to serve the guests while they are staying at the Host Church.
- Support Churches
- A small church, a Sunday School class, or a Church Service organization can provide much-needed services by working with a Host Church during their hosting week. A Support Church might provide meals or volunteers to serve as Evening or Overnight Hosts one or more times during the week.
- Contributing Churches
- Contributing Congregations provide us with much-needed funds for operating the Day Center and providing supportive services to our Guests.
Four times a year, the Host Church will have:
- one to four families (2 to 14 homeless mothers/fathers with minor children; 10 is ave.)
- stay overnight at your church (5:30 PM to 7 AM)
- seven nights (Sunday evening to the next Sunday Morning.)
Family Promise of Greater Kingsport provides:
- screening for Guests for drugs, alcohol, and violence.
- Folding beds, cribs, pillows, blankets: delivered to you on Sunday of Host Week
- transportation of Guests to the church at 5:30 PM and from the church at 7 AM.
- Weekly Planning Forms to document all the tasks and people needed that week.
- Training and orientation for Coordinators, the church, and volunteers.
The Host Church provides:
- Facilities: Sleeping areas (four for the guest families and two for the overnight hosts), bathrooms, and a common area. Using Sunday School Class Rooms for sleeping areas is the most common setup, but several churches form rooms with movable partitions in their Fellowship Hall or gyms.
- 14 suppers (leftovers are appreciated for lunches the next day.)
- 14 breakfasts.
- Many dinner and companion people from 5:30 PM to about 8 PM.
- Two overnight Hosts (one man and one woman) who sleepover at the church, 8 PM to 7:30 AM.
- 14 sets of sheets and pillowcases (Family Promise of Greater Kingsport has one set of 14 available)
- Showers are nice but not required. (Family Promise of Greater Kingsport will provide showers and laundry at the Day Center.)
(Host Churches are often paired with Support Churches. Support Congregations help out by providing meals and volunteers for one or several nights during the hosting week)
Your church members, in Christian love, will meet homeless families, serve homeless families, and gain empathy for homeless families as your Guests. (Family Promise of Greater Kingsport provides training in compassion, homelessness, and service.)
The Host Church Family Promise Coordinator is the most crucial person in the Family Promise Model.
The Coordinator at your Church must:
- have a heart for serving homeless families with minor children, the people Jesus speaks of when He said, “Whatever you did for the least of these my brothers, you did for me.”
- have the organizational skills of a Field Marshall to get together people and resources for 14 dinners and breakfasts, 14 Overnight Hosts, Dinner and Evening Companions, and knowledge of the church’s other obligations for the building.
Each Host Church sets its own rules, which are explained the first thing Sunday evening as Guests arrive. These include:
- What parts of the building are open to Guests and what parts are off-limits.
- The guests are not allowed to smoke anywhere in the building. Show Guests outside smoking areas.
- Control of telephones.
- Parents are entirely responsible for their children.
- No visitors at the church.
- Guests do not leave the church between 5:30 PM and 7 AM without prior Director/Coordinator approval and 24-hour notice.
- Times of lights-out for children and lights-out for adults.