Midtown 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.

The Reverend Sara Dorrien-Christians
901-726-4681 ext. 242

Compassion & Justice

This ministry prioritizes adults who are most vulnerable and marginalized in Metro Memphis.

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!

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, and most especially by special offerings several times a year. To donate to the Compassion Fund, mail/bring a check (note “Compassion Fund”) or you can donate in Realm.

Through its Community Support ministry, 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.

2020-21 Community Support Grants were awarded to: A Step Ahead Foundation, Adult & Teen Challenge Memphis, Binghampton Christian Academy, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis, Church Health, Community Alliance for the Homeless, Community Legal Center, Community of St. Therese of Lisieux, Doors of Hope, Harwood Center, Hope House Day Care, Hospitality HUB, Las Americas Youth Development, Memphis African Community, Memphis Area Legal Service, Memphis Child Advocacy Center, Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA), Mid-South Food Bank, Multi-National 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, and YMCA Greater Memphis Family Shelter.

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.

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 immigration/intercultural equity. 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. If you would like to be part of Idlewild’s MICAH “Core Group” or learn more about MICAH, please contact Stephen McIntosh


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.

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.

At 5:00 p.m., guests are invited to a half-hour worship service that includes the celebration of Communion, and at 5:30 we gather in the dining room for supper, where we do more than eat: we listen to music, share concerns, pray for our community, and form friendships. If you are interested in joining us, please contact Dare Estok at dareestok@gmail.com, or simply arrive on Thursday evening by 5:10 for an orientation.

As a congregation with a long history of opposing racial violence and stratification, 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. 

Children & Families

This area of outreach ministry prioritizes children, youth, and families in the 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.

Children and Family Enrichment (CAFE) is a not-for-profit organization that was chartered November 9, 2016.

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. For more information, contact Dr. Kristi Nobbman at 901-746-9450.

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.

International Missions

This outreach ministry prioritizes partnerships and projects that are in communion with the Presbyterian Church (USA).

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.