On Sunday, April 20 two of our most consistent guests, Bucky and Arianna, were married at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. Although I was not able to attend the momentous event, I can only imagine the little chapel was filled with much love and joy from all parties present.
I met Bucky first, back in August when my year at Operation Nightwatch had just begun, but it wasn’t until a few months later that Bucky brought Arianna to Nightwatch for the first time and introduced her as his girlfriend. From then on, they always came to Nightwatch together and were inseparable.
As I continued to get to know them as a couple I became struck by how devoted they were to each other, even when things became tough. Seeing how hard it is to keep a relationship strong in normal circumstances, I can’t imagine how hard it might be when you’re living on the streets facing those harsh conditions. The physical and emotional stress that being homeless can ignite in a person must make a relationship all the more difficult to maintain. However, Bucky and Arianna’s relationship seems quite capable of withstanding any bumps in the road.
When I saw the pictures from the event I couldn’t help but contrast the small ceremony with the much covered weddings in the media. The gaudiness and expense that these celebrity weddings showcase seems so over the top when compared with the small ceremony of Arianna and Bucky. With all the typical wedding charades stripped away from the event, one was certainly able to see more clearly the love and devotion these two people had for each other. I count myself lucky to have seen this lovely couple come so far with each other and wish nothing but the best for their future together.
IN HONOR AND MEMORY
The following have contributed to Nightwatch in memory or honor of family and friends:
CHAPLAIN’S NOTES: “Stranger At The Door”
The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the citizen among you…
As I drove to St. Stephens to set up for Operation Nightwatch Easter worship, four teenagers at the corner of SW 13th and Main wished me “Happy Easter.” When I arrived, another “stranger” greeted me at the door. I hadn’t seen him in at least three years. Nothing clicked until he told me his name. But he certainly remembered me, even my name. He was looking forward to worship again, and we had a blessed faith chat out on the sidewalk.
No “strangers” greeted me or called my by name out here in Gresham where I live. No one I did not already know well wished me Happy Easter. Strangers downtown did. Turns out, I was the stranger, not they. If we said Operation Nightwatch gets some of its inspiration from the Book of Leviticus, folks might raise an eyebrow or two. Leviticus?
Yes, that book. Jesus knew his Scripture well. He surely had Leviticus and Amos in mind when he spoke about “the least of these” at Matthew 25:40. What a blessing to recognize people, to greet them by name. Likewise, what a blessing to be recognized and greeted—by name! What a blessing to move from stranger to citizen in God’s eyes, and in each other’s—strangers no more. Happy Easter, citizens!
BACKPACK BEDS MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Since the beginning of this year, Nightwatch has distributed over 150 Backpack Beds to homeless folks throughout the Portland metropolitan area. And in doing so, we’ve been noticed—not only by the media (KBOO did a story) but by folks on the streets themselves. Those who have seen others with Backpack Beds see their utility in protecting them from the elements as they sleep outside, and have clamoring to us to get one themselves.
The Backpack Bed is a unique combination bedroll/personal shelter, and Operation Nightwatch is its only distributor on the West Coast of North America. Though they are not inexpensive (about $100 apiece), because they replace blankets that often have to be given out again-and-again as they wear out, they end up being more economical and practical in the long run.
Our ability to distribute so many Backpack Beds is due to a number of generous folks who gave to our several targeted fundraising campaigns, including a successful crowdfunding campaign that raised more than $1000 over our goal of $5000.