Metro Memphis is much more to us than an address. Freed by God’s grace and called to model the life and ministry of Jesus, Idlewild has a history of extending her hand to those in need and helping to build a more just, inclusive, and welcoming community in Memphis and beyond.
Whether embarking on large-scale initiatives (such as building transitional housing or forming a nonprofit to assist at-risk children and families) or offering a hot meal and fellowship to unsheltered neighbors, Idlewild embraces outreach that is both consistent and constantly evolving. There is a place for everyone looking to live out their faith in the community.
Through its Community Support Grants, Idlewild Presbyterian Church seeks to respond to the call of God to minister to the needs and hurts of people by providing annual funding to community nonprofits that provide compassionate services to the hungry, prisoners, the homeless, the sick and those living on the margins of society or with a unique, unmet need in the metro Memphis area.
2021 Community Support Grants were awarded to:
– A Step Ahead Foundation
– Binghampton Christian Academy
– Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis
– Church Health Center of Memphis, Inc.
– Community Alliance for the Homeless
– Community Legal Center, Door of Hope
– First Presbyterian Church Soup Kitchen
– Friends For Life Corporation
– Harwood Center
– Hope House
– Las Americas Youth Development
– Memphis Area Legal Service
– Memphis Child Advocacy Center
– Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA)
– Mid-South Food Bank
– Multinational Ministries
– Neighborhood Christian Centers
– Porter Leath/Books from Birth
– Refugee Empowerment Program
– RISE Foundation
– Room in the Inn-Memphis
– Samaritan Counseling Center
– Sister Supply
– Thistle & Bee Enterprises
– World Relief Memphis
– YMCA Greater Memphis Family Shelter
Room in the Inn is a hospitality oriented ministry for our unsheltered neighbors, and we are officially sheltering guests at Idlewild this season.
During the months of November-April Idlewild will host women on the first and third Thursday of each month during the nights. We will transport our guests from First United Methodist Church downtown to Idlewild and provide dinner, a warm and safe place to sleep, and a quick breakfast with a snack to-go. The following morning we will transport them back downtown. There are various ways that you can help make this ministry a success! Per Room In The Inn guidelines, any volunteer who will come in contact with a guest must be vaccinated.
See the upcoming volunteer plan here.
No Longer Strangers – Responding Faithfully to Immigration is a relatively new Outreach Ministry at Idlewild that came out of a year long discernment process studying immigration and contemplating a faithful response from the church. The ministry has 5 main areas of focus:
Have any questions or want to get involved? Email nolongerstrangers@
When the pandemic struck the country in March of 2020, Idlewild began offering a Mobile Food Bank in its parking lot on Wednesday mornings in partnership with the MidSouth Food Bank. That partnership continues on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month. Signing up is required. Please sign up here.
Every Thursday evening, Idlewild opens her doors to anyone that desires a hot meal and warm fellowship. This includes many in Memphis who are experiencing homelessness or poverty.
During the pandemic, meals have continued but fellowship has been suspended. Individually packaged hot meals are given “on-the-go,” with guests arriving and departing anywhere between 4:15 and 5:00 PM.
The Compassion Fund is a benevolence fund used by our Outreach Ministry to provide help for those seeking assistance with rent, utility bills, prescription medication, counseling, bus cards, and emergency housing. The Compassion Fund is supported exclusively by donation– most especially by special offerings. To donate to the Compassion Fund, mail/bring a check (note “Compassion Fund”) or you can donate in Realm.
The Memphis Interfaith Coalition for Action and Hope (MICAH) is a regional faith-and-value-based coalition working for social justice in the Memphis area. It is an “organization of organizations” (mostly congregations) that seeks to identify areas of social concern, find consensus, and work with community leaders for lasting change. Currently, MICAH works in the areas of Education, Economic Equity, and Race and Class Equity in the Justice System. Their motto, taken from the prophet Micah, is to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God Micah 6:8).
As a founding member of MICAH, Idlewild participates in the life of the organization through membership on the board and participation on task forces. The Idlewild MICAH Core Team meets regularly.
To learn more about MICAH, visit their website.
MICAH Newsletter signuup
Every Sunday morning, one or more members from this committed team provides welcome, care, and compassion for God’s people seeking assistance. These members greet, listen to, pray with, and build relationships with guests who need help because of poverty, crisis, mental illness, addiction, or a temporary setback.
If someone asks for money or help on Sunday mornings, please introduce the guest to one of our Hospitality Team members on call (they are generally located on the bench outside the T.K. Young Room). Thank you for the many ways you care for God’s people year round!
HopeWorks, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to serve the under-resourced through outreach programs that develop individual worth, encourage personal responsibility, and promote the honor and value of work. By implementing a holistic approach through daily classes and meals, educational training and spiritual counseling, HopeWorks strives to break the cycle of crime, addiction, and generational poverty that traps so many in our city (www.whyhopeworks.org).
Idlewild Church has supported the HopeWorks organization by organizing volunteers to serve as “Faith Encouragers” in the Prison Ministry unit. We’ve also provided space for classes and invited speakers in to grow community awareness.
In the Binghampton community, gardens full of fresh tomatoes, okra, green beans, and other nutritious veggies are teeming with life. They are tended by Idlewild gardeners, neighbors, and friends who meet on Saturday mornings and Monday evenings to plant, tend, and harvest the produce. Children in the Binghampton community share in the work and the fun as they learn about gardening, fresh food, and money management. In 2010 the gardeners started working with GrowMemphis, which supports community gardens throughout the city.
Share in the work and the fun as they learn about gardening, fresh food, and money management. See garden activities, photos and contacts at mcmertongardening.godaddysites.com.
Coordinating with Memphis Area Legal Services and volunteer lawyers, Idlewild organizes, promotes, and hosts two free legal clinics each year, offering assistance to anyone who seeks it.
Idlewild Church supports and participates in this project of truth-telling and healing. This growing network of citizens is part of a national effort to memorialize over 4,000 known lynchings in the Unites States between 1877 and 1950. In our local context, we intend to tell the whole and accurate truth about the history of Shelby County, opening our hearts and our communities to racial healing. In the service of acknowledging our shared history of racial violence and our ongoing resolve for racial justice, The Lynching Sites Project seeks to identify the names of victims of lynching in Shelby County, locate the sites of these lynchings and place a memorial at each one, and to hold interfaith services at those sites. In addition, The Lynching Sites Project partners with others in Shelby County are working for racial healing and truth, and seeks to create groups and classes where the deeper, more difficult conversations about race and racism can take place.
This area of outreach ministry prioritizes children, youth, and families in Metro Memphis.
For many years Idlewild Church has been an “adopter” of Idlewild Elementary School, a neighborhood public school. About 100 elementary students spend an hour or two each week with tutors from Idlewild’s Adopt-A-School program. More than 50 Idlewild members tutor reading and math. Through the Idlewild Community Readers program, volunteers read books to kindergarten classes. Fifth graders are sponsored to attend Junior Achievement of Memphis’ JA BizTown Program. Idlewild Church partners with Idlewild Elementary School in many other ways as we seek to show God’s love to children.
At the Mid-South Food Bank, 2 teams of Idlewild volunteers pack non-perishable items for an hour on alternating weeks providing weekend meals for food-insecure children in the Memphis area. The packs ensure that the children receive six nutritious meals before they return to school each Monday.
It is the product of the church’s discernment and planning for the “next steps” in Idlewild Church’s outreach in the city. CAFE’s mission is to provide children and families tools for lifelong resilience. CAFE’s dual initiatives offer these tools through the Early Enrichment Center (EEC) and the Parent Enrichment Place (PEP).
The EEC opened in January of 2019 to offer weekday enrichment for children 6 weeks to 27 months, adding 3-year-old children and aftercare for K–5 children in the fall of 2019. EEC teachers are specifically trained to use their own tools for resilience and to share the resulting self-regulation with the children.
PEP offers free individual and couples counseling services to parents with children of any age. This front-end counseling helps parents who are in search of help with parenting challenges, personal hardships, co-parenting issues, effective communication skills, and more. Additionally, PEP offers space for parents to engage in non-judgmental and meaningful relationships with other parents in order to develop their own tools of resilience.
The long-term purpose of CAFE is to teach Memphians of all ages how to deal with stress and adversity when they inevitably come. Studies prove that people with intentional tools for resilience “bounce back” and deal with conflict and adversity in healthy ways. CAFE is committed to being part of the solution with its new, creative approach. For more information about CAFE, contact Vicki Cox, the Executive Director.
This outreach area prioritizes partnerships with ministries in other parts of the world.
Partnering with Living Waters for the World, Idlewild Members have installed water purification systems in Ghana, with more on the way. Living Waters for the World (a PCUSA)ministry) has shared water with over 900 communities in 25 nations. In addition to installing the systems, mission trip participants learn how to train our partners in Ghana, empowering them to sustain their systems and install more, ultimately providing clean water access to other communities.
Seeking to grow together in Christ across the traditional barriers of culture, political systems, and experience, the members of Idlewild Church and Juan G. Hall Presbyterian Church in Cardenas, Cuba, have formed a partnership of mutual love and support. Included in the partnership’s shared objectives is to experience from each other the power of God’s love, the meaning of being brothers and sisters in Christ, and the joy of sharing with, and learning from, one another. An exchange of visits nurtures the development of friendships and greater understanding.