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FROM OUR NEW PROGRAM COORDINATOR, STEVE HUTCHINSON

Hello!steve hutchinson

I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah and grew up skiing the greatest snow on earth and experiencing the other wonderful beauties of Utah.  For the past four years I lived in Seattle and attended Seattle Pacific University.  During those years I fell in love with the Northwest and all the beauty in this part of the world. I graduated this past June with a major in Sociology and a minor in Christian Scripture.  I am passionate about engaging with people experiencing homelessness and others at the margins of society.  I also love playing and listening to music and spending time in nature.  I thank you for this opportunity and I look forward to serving at Operation Nightwatch for this upcoming year!

CHANGES

 

You may have missed it, but over the summer—July 1, to be exact—we began a new Nightwatch year. At the end of June we closed the books on our previous fiscal year (in which we did very well, ending with a $19,000 surplus!). But we also had a shuffle of Board members.

 

Having completely two full terms on the Board, Bergen Allee moved into “retirement.” Bergen has been a critical member, having chaired our Fund Development Committee and then having moved up last year into the position of Board chair.juliana

 

Coming new onto the Board is Juliana DePietro. Juliana began her relationship with Nightwatch as a volunteer when a student at Lewis & Clark. She later served us as an intern. Upon graduating, Juliana worked with Central City Concern and now is employed by AirBnB.

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But changes haven’t been limited to the Board level. After years of serving as our primo barista, John Dunham has retired from serving at our Downtown Hospitality Center. John has volunteered since we moved to St. Stephen’s five years ago, and has hardly missed a Thursday, Friday or Saturday evening. He was an invaluable part of our time.

 

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Also sharing the “invaluable” category is Katie Ouzounian. Katie first came to Nightwatch as a Linfield College nursing student. After graduating, she stayed on, apprenticing under Ginny Gaines as a Saturday morning foot care provider. When Ginny retired, Katie took on the responsibility of Saturday foot care, and has faithfully been on the scene ministering to our guests over the past several years. Katie's career is now taking her elsewhere, and she has to say good-bye to Nightwatch.

 

Thanks to all of these who have made Nightwatch the special place it is!

FEWER OUTINGS SET FOR 2015; CO-SPONSORS SOUGHT

We have only one-third the number of outings scheduled for 2015 than we have had in previous years. Two things have motivated that. One is rising expenses. We were trying to keep our outings budget at the same level it was a dozen years ago, which of course was impossible. Donations to outings were not meeting expenses, and we were seeing red ink. If we set realistic budgets, some potential sponsors might find the costs out of their league, but if we had fewer outings, maybe some sponsors could team up to make them quality experiences.

The other reason for the cutback is that outings among our guests are just not as popular as they used to be. When we started outings in the 1990s, they proved a great diversion from the hard life of the streets. Today, our guests have other diversions—specifically going online at the library—that an outing has be interesting, much more than simply “being there.”

So we’ve scheduled four outings for 2015. They are among the most popular. We are offering a realistic budget for each of them. By encouraging co-sponsors for them, we hope all costs will be covered.

Please consider a co-sponsoring contribution for one of them!

MONTH

OUTING - COST

SPONSOR(S)

February

Bowling

Al Bowen

June

Spiritual Retreat ($1750)

 

August

Beach ($250)

 

September

Silver Falls State Park ($175)

 

CHAPLAIN’S NOTES: “At What Cost, and To Whom?” (from “Kramer vs. Kramer, 1979)

The area pastor asked about Operation Nightwatch and said, “Thank you for doing that. How we could get our middle class people involved? Could we send our youth group?” I replied that we could find a way for the youth to volunteer. “But honestly,” I said, “if you send anyone, send us your adult leaders. They have the most power to change the community.”

I get this pastor’s question a lot when I talk with folks from other churches. It assumes that young people, not adults, are sheltered and need exposure to the wider community. In fact, the opposite may be true. We adults have chosen where to live, usually among folks very much like ourselves. I’d venture that kids in school today experience far more diversity than their parents do. I often find volunteers in their late teens and 20’s much more willing to engage in conversation with our Nightwatch guests than folks over the age of 40. So who’s sheltered?

Oregon Department of Education data reveal that we now have about 20,000 homeless students in our schools—twice the number we had 10 years ago. That’s a Keystone XL pipeline of poverty and homeless adults a few short years from now. The full page story in the November 7 edition of the Street Roots newspaper also reveals that my home church in outer NE Portland is sandwiched between the two districts having the highest percentages of homeless students in the state: Reynolds and Parkrose. One church cannot solve this problem alone, but through cooperative efforts of ministries like Operation Nightwatch and New City Initiative we could make a difference, one person, one family at a time.  

Equally important, our ministry with one family or one volunteer opportunity at a time makes a difference in us. Followers of Christ, called to love our neighbors as ourselves, cannot love those whom we do not know. Costly ministry in Christ’s name offers the priceless payback of ending our isolation and learning to know our neighbors--perhaps finding our own faith footings for the first time in the process.

The most costly ministry of all is ministry undone, whether it be hunger, addiction, poverty, untreated physical or mental illness, unhoused adults or homeless students. Blessings as you scan the human landscape of our area and ponder this: “at what cost, and to whom?”

   --Pastor Roger

FROM OUR INTERN

My name is Marie Harp, and I’m the intern here at Operation Nightwatch. Sometimes, I think it’s hard to describe what interning here entails. In the last three months, I have passed out clothing, cooked spaghetti,marie harp postage stamp done fundraising research, fought with the office’s ancient computers (the computers won), dug through huge bins in a desperate hunt for socks, done security checks, made gallons of coffee, and listened to guests talk for hours at a time. I’ve learned how to defuse an argument and how to break a chokehold should diffusion fail (thankfully, this is not a skill I’ve needed to use). Above all, I have learned so much about people and how frustrating and wonderful they can be.

Though many guests—and volunteers—have given me a hard time, I still feel privileged to have met them. Out at the mobile center, where people cluster around heaters in the winter and enjoy the block-party atmosphere in the summer, there is a feeling of relaxation I have never found anywhere else. At the end of many nights, I leave with a grin plastered on my face. Though it’s hardly all fun—try scrubbing down a full-sized RV sometime—it is still the best work I have ever done.

I may be a glorified errand girl, but I’m a glorified errand girl working for a great organization with a group of incredible people, and that makes it more than worthwhile.