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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 never say goodbyeNightwatch 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


At a recent workshop on non-profit fundraising the leader was asked, “How many times should we approach people about money during the year? Her response: “Probably more than you’re doing, but less than OPB!”

annual campaignNightwatch actually runs only two major fundraising campaigns during the year. The first is in November-December as we participate in Willamette Week’s GiveGuide campaign.

The other is our annual campaign in May, as we seek to tie together financial ends as the completion of one fiscal year, and look forward to funding our outreach for another.

So you’ll be hearing from us in May. And if your habit is to make your contribution to Nightwatch at some other time of year (e.g., December), fret not. We still will welcome your donation then.


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, nami logotoothbrush/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.


Once again, Nightwatch has been privileged to be included among 143 Portland-area nonprofits in Willamette Week’s holiday Give!Guide.giveguide celebration

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, (You’ll also find links to donate there.)   


Alder Street Records and RLM Entertainment have put together the first annual "Keeping Portland Warm" event to collect blankets, coats, and warm clothing for keeping portland warmNightwatch on December 6.

The event will feature live music from local bands Spank!PerkSubconscious Culture, and Free Thought Takeover, and will be held from 2 to 10 p.m. at The Rumpus Room, 10555 SE Division.

If you're a party person, put it on your calendar. If you're not, we still need blankets, so however you can help in that regard would be most welcome.