Our Mission & Vision
Our Mission at Welcome House Knoxville is to share the love of Jesus through the ministries of hospitality and friendship. We provide safe and loving homes for individuals and families in transition to permanent housing.
Our Vision is for Welcome House Knoxville to do more than meet temporary housing needs.
We want our houses to be a place where former guests return and encourage current residents, showing them the possibilities for a good life here in Knoxville. We want it to be a place where interested locals "dip their toes into" working with internationals: from dropping off a package of toilet paper to helping guests move into a more permanent home. We want all our families to have a safe, encouraging place to land in a new country.
Welcome House Knoxville was established in 2019 to help refugees find a safe place to live temporarily as they adjust to the Knoxville Community. Our Founder, Cindy Hood, worked for over ten years with Bridge Refugee Services and the Knoxville Internationals Network. Through this work she learned about Welcome Houses in North Carolina: a series of homes furnished to hold multiple families for short times at reasonable rates. She immediately knew Knoxville needed to join their network.
Why We Serve
The Biblical Response to Immigration
"After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb."
Acts 17: 26-27
"From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would see Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him though He is not far from each one of us."
Matthew 25: 31-40
"When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with him, He will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on His left.
Then, the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"
Board & Staff
Director Cindy Hood
Cindy is wife to Brad and mom to Anna. She has been a member of Central Baptist Bearden for over 20 years and was on their staff as the Women’s Ministry Coordinator for 5 years.
She has had a life-long interest in world travel, cultures and Internationals.
In 2005, she accepted the leadership role for her Sunday School class as they sponsored a Turkish family through Bridge Refugee Services. At that time God called her to Internationals in the Norwood community. Since then, she has been a volunteer with KIN and Bridge, the director of Summer English Camp in Norwood, a parent volunteer at Norwood Elementary and Northwest Middle School, and an ESL teacher at Central Baptist Bearden and Norwood Elementary for Moms and Preschoolers.
The Hoods relocated from West Knoxville to the Norwood community in April 2016 and are very excited about the ministry opportunities that God continues to give them. In October 2018, Cindy was named Director of Welcome House Knoxville.
Michael is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Tennessee. He and his wife, Faith, attend Westminster Presbyterian.
I grew up in a Christian home, but a few encounters with God have established and shaped my faith. I was in the seventh grade when I had a sudden conviction and realized I was not honoring God with my actions, prompting me to repent. This was my conversion experience, and my faith was solidified and matured when i experienced a strong peace the day my mother died during my junior year of high school. Her death influenced my decision to attend college close to my family's home in Sevierville. I graduated from UT in 2016 with a professional degree in Architecture and was married to Doug the same weekend. I now work as an architectural designer with curb studio, and Doug works as an electrical engineer at Texas Instruments. We have no children but have fostered and adopted 10 kittens and 2 dogs. We also work with the youth at our church, Calvary Baptist. I am passionate about affordable housing access and love to worship through creativity. I aspire to equip and empower those who lack mobility and place.
Board & Staff
Director Cindy Hood
Cindy is wife to Brad and mom to Anna. She has been a member of Central Baptist Bearden for over 20 years and was on their staff as the Women’s Ministry Coordinator for about 5 years. She has had a life-long interest in world travel, different cultures and Internationals. In 2005, she accepted the leadership role for her Sunday School class as they sponsored a Turkish family through Bridge Refugee Services. At that time God set in motion a ministry calling to Internationals in the Norwood community. Since then, she has been a volunteer with KIN and Bridge, the director of Summer English Camp in Norwood for several years, a parent volunteer at Norwood Elementary and Northwest Middle School, and an ELL teacher at CBB and Norwood Elementary for Moms and Preschoolers.
The Hoods relocated from West Knoxville to the Norwood community in April 2016 and are very excited about the ministry opportunities that God continues to give them. In October 2018, Cindy was named Director of Welcome House Knoxville which is an ecumenical ministry of Christian hospitality that was established as a nonprofit in 2019. It exists to form long-term relationships through short-term housing.
Michael grew up in Southern Michigan. In 1965 he married his wife, Phyllis
and in 1968 received his PhD from Michigan State University. He taught at the University of Tennessee as a Professor of Sociology for 44 years.
Christina graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Architecture and a minor in Business Administration. An East Tennessee native, she now works as an architectural designer, small-scale housing developer, and affordable housing advocate in the Knoxville area. Christina sees housing ministry and intentional relationship-building as opportunities to share the love of Christ with Knoxville neighbors and to strengthen the local Church. She and her husband Doug attend Calvary Baptist Church where they serve together in the youth and young adults ministries.
Patrick is a small business owner and financial advisor. He is married to Courtney and they have two daughters, Audrey and Anna. He graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2007 with a Bachelors of Science in Service Management (aka Hotels and Tourism). He was raised Methodist and was confirmed in early Middle School. After that, He wandered a little in his faith. He always knew it was there but did not really listen to it. In July of 2012, He and his family joined First Baptist Church of Knoxville and became very involved. Their young adult pastor, Scott Claybrook, played a large role in shaping his faith into what it is now.
Susan Smith Fendley
Susan was born in Alexandria, Virginia but moved to Chattanooga, TN for high school. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History & Political Science from Carson Newman university. Susan earned her Masters in History from the University of Tennessee and attended Law School at the University of Tennessee. She taught Middle School from 1970-1972 and high school from 1974-1977. She came to Knoxville as the Director of the Preschool Weekday program at Central Baptist Bearden in 1978 and has been involved at Central Baptist Bearden as a deacon, trustee, and on various committees as well as being a member. She spent 30 years as a lawyer for TVA and has served on various committees for the Knox County Association of Baptist and Tennessee Baptist Convention, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Carson Newman university, and has been the president of the Knoxville TVA Retiree Association.