Spirituality & Nightwatch
No one is required to conform to any particular belief or faith practice in order to receive our services.
Yet our guests themselves have made it impossible for us to avoid integrating a spiritual component into Nightwatch.
Nightwatch was originally founded by a coalition of church people, but from the beginning they were clear that Nightwatch was to involve no proselytizing. The teachings of Jesus--especially Matthew 25:40 ("as you did to the least of these, you did also to me")--were simply a stimulus to them to show compassion, not to manipulate toward conversion. Indeed, the very notion of "hospitality" precluded it; true hospitality does not push one's own agenda upon guests, but welcomes and honors guests just as they are.
What we discovered, however, is that just because people are homeless, they do not cease being spiritual creatures. And it came to pass that our guests approached us saying, "You know, just like others we feel the need to pray and go to church, but we just don't feel comfortable sitting in pews where everybody else is so clean and looks so nice."
Thus we sponsored our first Bible study. A Sunday worship service followed. No one is obligated to attend. But we realized that the spiritual needs of our guests needed to be met as much as any of their physical or relational ones.
Our Board of Directors designated the Rev. Roger Fuchs as the Nightwatch chaplain in 2010. Roger leads the Tuesday night Bible studies and Sunday afternoon worship services. Roger comes from the Christian tradition, but we are intent to also meet the needs of those from other spiritual backgrounds as they present themselves. An annual spiritual retreat with our guests often involves those of many backgrounds. Our annual memorial service honoring those who died on the streets in the past year involves a blended leadership from Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Native, and Christian backgrounds.