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Operation Nightwatch has been taking guests on regular outings since the 1990s. But times change, and various factors have caused the Nightwatch Board of outingsDirectors to re-examine the practice. For one thing, the cost of outings has become much more expensive. Furthermore, our guests don’t evidence as much interest in outings as they once did.

Therefore, the Board has decided that we shall no longer actively solicit funds for group outings. It would still be a donor’s prerogative to designate a contribution to taking guests on an outing, e.g. to the beach—but all would be at the donor’s initiative. The Board will generally direct the energies and resources of Nightwatch in other directions.

We had some great times on our previous retreats, and we’d certainly like to thank all of our part supporters who made them possible.   

CHAPLAIN’S NOTES: “What’s the Hardest Thing You Do?” 

People have asked the question.  After eight years, I don’t think of Operation Nightwatch ministry as hard.  Life is ministry; ministry is life.  So here are two short lists of easier things and harder things.

Easier things:

  • Sharing prayer with people who may not have showered recently
  • Trying to calm and reason with someone who is high or desperately needs to be
  • Mopping floors, cleaning intentionally messed up restrooms, picking up discarded clothing
  • Finding musicians or having enough food.  Somehow usually have all we need.
  • Keeping worship and Bible study in focus amid outbursts from a guest with Tourette syndrome
  • Treating people with mental illnesses or anger issues with dignity and kindness
  • Being thanked for a free meal by someone who hasn’t “earned” it.  Do we “earn” grace? 

Harder things:

  • Seeing how utterly exhausting mental illnesses and addictions can be
  • Listening to a person’s perceived threats and fears that may not be real—but very real to them
  • Telling cold and wet people that we are out of blankets, socks or sleeping bags when store shelves and home closets are filled with them
  • Internet trolls and newspaper letter writers who want “something done” but don’t offer to help
  • Seeing the gap between our fractured responses to poverty, mental illness and homelessness vs. what those things honestly require of us; wondering how to break the cycle for today’s kids 

A friend asked one thing ministry with Operation Nightwatch had taught me.  I said it was two things:

  1. We must not judge people we don’t know.  Better still not to judge at all.  We are called to love.  Love means doing the right thing, always.
  2. Preaching and teaching the good news of Jesus calls us to BE good news.  Otherwise, our words are empty.  God is good; we can’t be less.  

Yes, Jesus is good news.  There is nothing else to carry.  That’s not hard.  Thanks be to God! 

                                                             --Pastor Roger


group picture low res 280x208Our annual spiritual retreat has skyrocketed in expense, and it looked for a time that we might have to cancel this much-loved event due its costliness. But a number of contributors came forward to assure its existence this year, and they deserve a special shout-out and thank-you: 

April Rhodes, Tim and Mary Shamrell, Jeremy Marks, David and Ginny Gaines, John Skelton, Roberta Taussig, Jan Indermill, Claudia Roberts, Greg and Becky Mowe, Jenny Pietka, Carol Silva and Mary Cox, Jenna Sted and Peter Schwimmer,  and Meg Kaczyk

Our September outing is still lacking a sponsor (or two or more co-sponsors). The plan is to take our guests to Silver Falls State Park for a BBQ and waterfall hike for the day. Cost for the outing will be $175, and we welcome all possible funders!


Hello all,

I am Amanda Smith, the new intern at Operation Nightwatch. I just completed my first year as a Social Work major at the University of Portland. At amanda smallthe end of this year I was lucky enough to happen upon this internship through a lovely program at my school called Interns for Justice. This program aims to help students find a local organization that will enhance their knowledge of social justice issues. After serving at Operation Nightwatch for a semester as the work study student, I thought this organization would be the perfect fit for an internship. So, Gary and I met up and talked about an internship that would fit the criteria of this program.

Gary and I decided on a few activities I can help with. Apart from little tasks such as organizing paperwork and folding clean towels, I intend to start a weekly event on Tuesday afternoons, help plan the annual spiritual retreat, and help to form relationships between Operation Nightwatch and local mental health clinics. Another part to this program is setting and achieving goals. I have five main goals for this internship. First of all, I would like to understand more about the current social justice possibilities in Portland. Secondly, I would like to become more comfortable in leading or working with large groups. Thirdly, I would love to learn more about administrative work. Fourthly I would like to learn more about leadership roles in nonprofit organizations. Finally, I would enjoy learning about multiple aspects that contribute to running a non-profit organization.

Thank you all for your support and generosity towards Operation Nightwatch, and I look forward to a wonderful summer with this organization.