We were sad to have to say good-bye to Sean Meehan, our Health Care Coordinator for the past couple of years. To merely call Sean our “coordinator” for health care, however, is to be woefully insufficient. Our health care program was itself pretty much on life-support when Sean came on board, and he transformed the program into something vital and indispensible.
Our good fortune is that we have Kristen Murray to welcome in Sean’s place. Kristen's background is in emergency medical services. She was a firefighter EMT as well as an instructor for EMS. She has been teaching CPR for healthcare providers and CPR/ First Aid classes for over 25 years. Her love for Operation Nightwatch started two years ago when she began volunteering. She says, “I love being here and seeing all the expressions of goodness and kindness. This is home.”
In other staffing news:
After eight years of being assisted by a Jesuit Volunteer, we will be without one starting August 1. The JV traditionally filled the role of supervising the Downtown Hospitality Center, and with the end of our relationship with Jesuit Volunteer Corps, we will be hiring a person to fill that role from outside the JVC pool. If you know someone who might be interested in the position, please let us know.
Having received grant support from The Collins Foundation and The Oregon Community Fund, we will be adding a mental health specialist to our staff to serve at our Downtown Hospitality Center. At the time this newsletter went to press, interviews were being conducted. We’ll let you know who that person is in our next newsletter.
FROM OUR PROGRAM COODINATOR
As my time here at Nightwatch draws closer to its end, I want to express my thankfulness to all of you for my time as Program Coordinator. First of all, thank you to all of the volunteers that I’ve had the pleasure to serve with this year. I am inspired by how consistently many of you give of your time, especially late into the night while we are in operation. Thank you for all of the food served, blankets and socks distributed, foot care given, tables wiped, floors swept and mopped, and messes cleaned up. But more importantly than all of that, thank you for showing up and sharing your lives with our guests. Relationships and hospitality are what we are all about and you all are what make Nightwatch such a great place to be. Operation Nightwatch literally could not function without all of you, so thank you for your great attitudes and all of the positivity and compassion you spread at our hospitality centers.
I also want to express my gratitude to everyone who serves “behind the scenes” to make Nightwatch a possibility. Thank you to the Board of Directors and to everyone who supports Nightwatch through donations of finances, coats, blankets, socks, shoes, etc. and/or through preparing food for our hospitality centers. The support Nightwatch receives from you all is extraordinary and truly helps people living in very vulnerable situations.
This has been a formative and grounding year for me and you all have played a part in that. Along with impacting the lives of our guests, you have impacted my life and for that I am sincerely grateful. Many thanks for this experience and know that you are deeply valued by Operation Nightwatch.
CHAPLAIN’S NOTES: “Farewell is Not Good-bye”
“And all of them… escorted us outside the city. There we knelt down on the beach and prayed and said farewell to one another. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home.” --Acts 21:5-6 NRSV
The scene took place at the ancient Syrian city of Tyre, now a part of Lebanon. Apostle Paul and the believers in Tyre would not see one another again, but they did not say goodbye. They wished one another to fare well, as well as possible. That is my heartfelt wish as I step aside from my ministry with Operation Nightwatch on February 28.
I first heard of Operation Nightwatch 34 years ago from Gwen Williams in a class at church. Gwen was a regular Nightwatch volunteer almost from the beginning. Her infectious love of people planted a seed that germinated in my life 20 years later. Little did I know that seed would lead to volunteering at Nightwatch, seminary, a call, ordination and nearly nine years of ministry as Chaplain of Operation Nightwatch.
Today, I’m no longer 35 years old. I’m 69 and beginning to know it. All of my seminary work was done while working full time. Even parish internship required 30 hours a week at my aviation work to maintain health insurance. I have no PERS or church pension waiting for me. So after 15+ years of working two jobs, only one of which offers pay, the time has come to cut back to one. The Lord has provided just enough, not an excess. That has been a true blessing.
Looking back, I would not change a thing except to have involved more people in the ministry of humanity that Operation Nightwatch is. The worship, fellowship, prayers and hospitality in 460 Sunday worship gatherings, our Bible studies and retreats have been the most honest expressions of Christian faith and hope that I have known. We have contributed over $15,000 to repairing the world in places as far away as Syria, Haiti, the Philippines and Joplin, Missouri. The people—guests and volunteers--have truly been “church” to me. None of that is lost as my life takes a turn and I await the next steps to be revealed. This change is not goodbye to Operation Nightwatch. It is my deepest wish to fare well. Thanks be to God! Amen.
-- Pastor Roger
THANKS TO THE HELPER ELVES FROM NAMI!
Our guests have gone away from our Christmas parties without Christmas stockings. They have been stuffed with a lot of practical items—a razor, soap, shampoo, toothbrush/toothpaste, facial tissues, sewing kits, etc—with the stockings themselves being real socks they can wear.
This year, the stockings will take the form of gift bags which are being compiled and put together by volunteers from the Oregon chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They are striving to have enough to grace us fully with 500 gift bags!
NAMI has become a great partner with Nightwatch, and we thank them for their help.
THE GIVE!GUIDE CAMPAIGN IN UNDERWAY!
Once again, Nightwatch has been privileged to be included among 143 Portland-area nonprofits in Willamette Week’s holiday Give!Guide.
The campaign is underway and by midnight of December 31, we hope to raise $25,000 through the campaign (that’s an increase over the nearly $15,000 goal we raised last year). Everybody who gives gets something in return (other than the warm feeling in their heart). All donors received a coupon-laden Chinook Book for gifts and discounts from local businesses. And donors of $1000 or more receive gift bags of appreciation that include wine and other goodies.
Give on special “Big Give Days,” and you will be entered into drawings for extra-special gifts, including Blazer tickets and vacation stays.
Keep up-to-date as to upcoming gifts being offered, as well as progress in the campaign by frequently checking in to our Web site, www.operationnightwatch.org. (You’ll also find links to donate there.)