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With the hot weather we’ve been enduring for the past several weeks, who can think about Christmas?

Well, we need to, because it will be December by the time you receive the next newsletter and we can’t defer talking about our annual sarah handing out stockingsChristmas Party until then.

The reason we can’t defer is that we need to begin collecting =items for the Christmas stockings we give out to all guests who attend. The Christmas stockings typically contain helpful items such as these:

  • combs
  • razors
  • chapstick
  • toothbrushes
  • toothpaste
  • gloves
  • knit caps
  • Kleenex (pocket pack)
  • soap
  • shampoo
  • lotion
  • sewing kits
  • candy

We would welcome contributions of any such items if you have them. We would also happily receive any monetary contributions towards purchasing such items.

CHAPLAIN’S NOTES: “Watch Your Language” 

But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

                                                                                                                       –Matthew 5:37  KJV

Yes, our guests occasionally drop the f-bomb at Operation Nightwatch worship and Bible studies.  I respond by gently reminding them that hospitality means leaving such speech outside.  Most comply. Unfortunately, one can hear much worse at any MAX stop or school bus stop these days.

Last month, there was a double shooting at 16500 NE Halsey Street within shouting distance of my house.  Three weeks prior to and three blocks west of that tragedy, a man on the corner yelled into his phone using every obscenity and racial slur he could muster.  Who was the foul language bubbleother party?  An adult or a child?  His neighbor?  Did this and other exchanges eventually lead to gunfire and death?  The very next day outside FedEx Office, a woman was verbally assaulting two children in her car.  Obscenities, slurs and soul-crushing anger.  How will these children restrain their own anger, talk to their own partners or children one day?  It’s not “just words.”  It’s a contagious epidemic.  I’m firmly convinced that relationships blown up by explosive speech are a major cause of homelessness.  It matters.

The title of this piece, besides being your parents’ wisdom, is a caution from the late Lutheran pastor and professor Joseph Sittler to the church.  Don’t dumb down or cheapen our language for God.  Don’t speak in arcane and unintelligible terms, but don’t let our God-talk fall to the least-common-denominator speech of the street.  Or movies.  “Speech” also includes what we do.  Actions say how we see and think about other people and ourselves. 

Yes, relationships explode.  Others may never have the chance to properly form.  I weep when I see the young Mom holding her child on her arm at the bus stop.  He’s looking at her, but she’s looking at her phone.  I grieve when I see the weekend Dad home from work and out with his wife and young daughter in the stroller.  He’s rocking the girl, she’s looking at him; but he’s looking at his ipad.  Much of learning to speak and think and communicate happens before we ever speak.  Communication happens through our eyes, through touch, by being fully present to another person.  That language needs to be watched, too.  It needs to happen early and often. 

And don’t forget silence, at worship, in the home, in the world.  Jesus often went up on the mountain to pray.  He was never wired with earbuds and ipod.  Language is listening, and God speaks in silences.  Silence is golden.  Many days in this noisy world, it would even be Divine.

-- Pastor Roger


Paige Sanders and Ashley Garber are Lewis and Clark students who have volunteered at our downtown Hospitality Center this past school portland panty project logoyear. Especially sensitive to the needs of homeless women, this summer they took the initiative to start the Portland Panty Project to obtain clean women’s undergarments for distribution. As Ashley describes their goal on the PPP’s Facebook page, it is "to raise $3000 to provide up to 1,000 homeless women with one bra and two pairs of underwear per person." To that end, they've launched a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe, and have already raised $1285.

Paige and Ashley are shining examples of the many great student-volunteers we’ve had working with us. So this is a “shout-out” to them.

But it’s also a “shout-out” to their campaign. They had a sensitivity to a portion of our service-population that most of the rest of us had been overlooking. Support the Portland Panty Project!


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!



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.


katie o portrait

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!