SAN FRANCISCO NIGHT MINISTRY
the NIGHTLY news AN OCCASIONAL PUBLICATION | VOL 12 | MAY 2011 | ISSUE 1 + LARRY DANNENBERG, EDITOR + LYLE J BECKMAN, NIGHT MINISTER + WWW.SFNIGHTMINISTRY.ORG
NEW BOARD OFFICERS The San Francisco Night Ministry has established a planned giving program to offer its supporters a way to participate in the future of its work. A planned gift may allow current tax savings and a way to provide future income to participants. A planned gift is one you commit to now, through your estate plan, but one the Night Ministry will receive later. Those who include the Night Ministry in their estates will be recognized by membership in the Night Ministry Legacy Society. Their names will be enrolled in the Night Ministry’s permanent archives and on a plaque displayed in the Night Ministry offices. Options include wills or living trusts, gifts of property, a life insurance policy, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts and others. Financial advisers can provide more details. To learn more contact the Rev. Lyle Beckman at the Night Ministry. Night Ministry does not give tax or estate planning advice and asks that you consult with a qualified professional.
At its February meeting the San Francisco Night Ministry elected new officers for the coming year. Virginia Lewis is replacing Marion Brischle as President. Ginny is a psychotherapist and has been an active board member for several years. She has chaired our benefit auction and worked on other committees. Tom Robertson will serve as our new Vice President, replacing Charles Jacobs. Tom has been very active for many years contributing a lot of talent to the success of the Ministry. Dr. Elizabeth Lewis is our new secretary replacing John Macdonald. Elizabeth is a psychiatrist giving the board a one-two punch in the mental health field. She was a new addition to the board last year. Tim Huyler remains as treasurer, a post he has held for many years. Tim is the longest serving current board member. We want to thank the outgoing officers for their great service and wish the new officers the best of luck and support.
IN THIS ISSUE NIGHT MINISTRY ASSOCIATE .......................... 2 2010 FALL GALA ................. 3 COMMENDATION .............. 3 HIDDEN BLESSINGS .......... 4 OPEN CATHEDRAL CASTRO ................................ 6 SUMMER TOUR .................. 7 OPEN CATHEDRAL WEDDING ............................. 8 NIGHT MINISTER’S LETTER ................................. 9 ASSOCIATE MINISTER’S THOUGHTS ........................ 10 STATISTICS ....................... 11
MEET THE NIGHT MINISTRY ASSOCIATE Greetings! My name is Susan Stevens, and I joined the Night Ministry staff in August 2010 as a member of the Lutheran Volunteer Corps (LVC). What does the Night Ministry Associate do? My responsibilities include creating the monthly schedule of Crisis Line Counselors, designing Night Ministry publicity materials like our new brochure, and maintaining our donor database. Currently, I am helping plan two upcoming fundraising events—the Cabaret on Friday, July 22 and our annual Fall Benefit on Saturday, October 15. I also send monthly email updates to churches that support Night Ministry to keep them apprised of volunteer opportunities, special events and new programming initiatives. Contact me at email@example.com if your congregation would like to join our email list! In addition to working in the Night Ministry office during the day, I serve as a Crisis Line Counselor one night a week.
LVC Lutheran Volunteer Corps
a national volunteer service program. Learn more about LVC at www.lutheranvolunteercorps.org.
What is the Lutheran Volunteer Corps (LVC)? LVC is a national volunteer service program. Volunteers commit to one year of LVC, with an option to continue for a second year. During that year, volunteers live together in intentional communities, serve as full-time staff members at organizations dedicated to social justice, and practice simple and sustainable living. There are approximately 145 volunteers in 16 cities across the country. Learn more about LVC at www.lutheranvolunteercorps.org.
What will you do next? In August, I will begin a second year of LVC at Faith in Place, a non-profit organization in Chicago that works with religious groups seeking to become better stewards of the environment. At that time, Night Ministry will welcome a new LVC volunteer who will serve as Night Ministry Associate.
On Valentines Day, February 13, The Night Ministry hosted a fund raiser with this appropriate theme. It was held at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. Jim Fruehling, Elfrieda Langemann O’Neill, Randall Mann, Joey McGuire, Timothy Zerlang and D. A. Powell presented a very enjoyable program of music, poetry and other readings. After the program, champagne and chocolates were served to complete the theme.
FOR THY SWEET LOVE REMEMBERED
What did you do before coming to Night Ministry? Before joining the staff at Night Ministry, I attended Denison University, a liberal arts college located in Granville, Ohio. I graduated from Denison in May 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. During college, I served on the editorial board of an undergraduate philosophy journal, sang in Denison’s gospel choir, studied abroad in Madrid and attended a weekly interfaith discussion group. I am originally from Evanston, Illinois.
2010 Fall Benefit
At the 2010 Night Ministry Benefit Gala about 200 people enjoyed the jazz provided by Brad Niven and his group, good food, lively bidding and a lot of fun. Donna Sachet served as MC and auctioneer creating laughs as the bids went higher. Over $50,000 was raised for the Night Ministry .
Donna Sachet makes her appearance
Andreas, Susan and Tim with Jun and Chuck
The Night Ministry thanks all of our generous guests and the many volunteers who made this night so special. The 2011 Gala will be on October 15 so save the date and be there.
Volunteers having their meal and then to work
The Brad Niven Group
commendation State of California Senate Certificate of Recognition San Francisco Night Ministry
State Senator Mark Leno presented Night Ministry with this commendation at the 2010 Fall Benefit.
Congratulations on the occasion of your 2010 Annual Fall Benefit: “A Little Night Music Round About Midnight.” I commend your caring commitment to serving those who are often the least able to fend for themselves. I further commend your selfless dedication to extending a helping hand to those whose lives are touched by poverty and helplessness on a daily basis. It is through the caring determination of organizations such as yours that those who are most often overlooked can find brightness in the world. Congratulations and thank you for all you do! Mark Leno Senator, 3rd District October 16th, 2010
by Rev. Monique L. Ortiz
or our annual newsletter last year, I wrote a piece on our Open Cathedral – Civic Center Sunday Service. I named it, ―The Hidden Blessings of a Street Church.‖ Well… the many hidden blessings that I shared about, continue to be revealed in most amazing ways through the dozens of our regular OC parishioners – and in our new sisters and brothers, many of whom seem to come back on any of the following Sundays. Hence, we are blessed to unearth from each person increased hidden blessings.
ut you know? The hidden and not so hidden blessings are not simply isolated to Open Cathedral, to our Crisis line callers, in our Crisis line counselors, or while we are out on the streets at night. As we Night Ministers are graced to meet all who invite us into their lives. The hidden blessings emerge while we listen, pray, hug, converse with, give referrals, share life experiences, both joys and sorrows. With God’s grace, we attempt to bring a measure of compassion and hope, pastoral care and, I pray mostly, Christ’s love to all whom we meet on the streets, at their homes, in coffee shops, bars, hospitals, under bridges.
he list of sites where the Night Ministry is present is endless as are our brothers and sisters who find themselves in the midst of isolation, despair, poverty, substance abuse, illness, fear, injustice, hopelessness, triumphs, defeat, homelessness, faith, unbelief, physical hunger and spiritual starvation; it is all there….
ntertwined with the fog of the Bay and mostly invisible to the work-day world of this magical city. Human beauty, plight, suffering and hidden blessings merging by day, by night under a star-lit sky, or in the midst of strong gusts of cold wind - barely visible to most human hearts. I have also witnessed at times how the rain comingles with the tears of a brother or sister as it pours down on a weary face. It is all here, there, everywhere. Yet, blending, guiding, comforting, strengthening and sustaining is the ever present Spirit – God with us.
midst all this, ―blending‖ of Spirit, hardship, illness, isolation, even joy; amongst the hustle and bustle of the city - the fog, star-lit skies, wind and rain. We are honored to get to know, to 4
acknowledge and value in each person their unique inner beauty and human worth. To uphold them as children of the Most High made no less in God’s image. How can one not love, respect, and value them?
ow can we be at times so blinded to the fact that within each person are many hidden blessings? Well, I will speak for myself. After practically two and a half years of serving as one of the pastors with Night Ministry and Open Cathedral every Sunday – I will admit, I too have missed some, if not many hidden blessings. I realized this even more when recently, we began our Open Cathedral, Tuesday Eve Gathering in mid-March.
few months ago, we decided to hold a weekly gathering for our Open Cathedral folks and any one else who would like to join us. Our purpose and vision was to be more readily available to our regular OC parishioners. To provide a warm place where we could meet, offer pastoral care, Bible study, movie nights, spiritual and emotional support. Where we would get to know one another better, have warm dinners and informal but confidential, spirit-led conversations.
e were graced to find a wonderful place at the home of The Faithful Fools Street Ministry. The purple building at 234 Hyde Street is an indication of the warmth and welcoming feeling everyone perceives as they enter the building and go upstairs to the lovely, bright, comfortable, spacious, and warm living room where we hold our weekly OC Gathering and Dinner. We get together from 5:30 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. Some come later, others earlier, some leave in the middle or after dinner, most stay until the end.
Intertwined with the fog of the Bay and mostly invisible to the work-day world of this magical city. Human beauty, plight, suffering and hidden blessings merging by day, by night under a star-lit sky, or in the midst of strong gusts of cold wind barely visible to most human hearts...
he ―Hidden Blessings‖ I have missed until now are manifold – and I would imagine many more will surface as time goes on. As long as The Night Ministry can continue to thrive with God’s help, with the tireless work and dedication of our amazing Board Members, with our faithful supporters, with our incredible Crisis Line Counselors and staff, the hidden and not so hidden blessings surely will continue to come forth at night when we are on the streets, on the Crisis phones, at our Open Cathedrals, and now at our OC Tuesday Eve Gatherings.
recall so vividly at our second Gathering as we were all sitting around comfortably, those who wished to share whatever they are moved to do so, began to speak. One of our OC brothers who has been there every single Sunday for practically the three years of Open Cathedral – Civic Center introduced himself. He proceeded to share how much he enjoys being a part of OC, and mentioned that for 41 years he worked in Oakland in the postal service and is now retired. Unbelievable! For two and a half years I have known this gentle soul, I knew his worth, yet not his being. Even though, every Sunday I ask him how he is doing, etc. He is somewhat quiet and not many more words are exchanged - - until now. At one point while he was talking, I could not hide the look of amazement when he said he still lives in Oakland and drives every single Sunday to OC and now Tuesdays to our Gathering. He believes we are a blessing in his life – yet he has no idea what a blessing he is to us!
Ministry that I can love myself more and now I know God loves me unconditionally.‖ I am in awe at the hidden blessings that continue to emerge from him and from all!
s Ron was talking, another brother interrupted him. He was distraught and wanted to know what he should do. He was about to lose his place and would become homeless within a few days. As the tears rolled down his face, the compassion and empathy from each person in the room was so palpable. More hidden blessings began to surface as people began to share with this brother where to go, what to do, who to talk with, how to get help. As we prayed with him, I could not help but say a silent prayer of thanksgiving for each and every one of God’s amazing children.
hen, there is an admirable lady who is also an usher at OC, she inspires and adds so much love and wisdom to each gathering as she has lived the gamut of life experiences and through incredibly hard times. The other day, she gifted us with another hidden blessing, as she shared that prior to coming to Open Cathedral she, ―No longer believed spiritually in anything much.‖ That sentiment was echoed by several people who are presently very involved with OC and the Gathering. Most importantly they have found God and are cultivating an intimate relationship with their Maker. As a result, they too are seeing many hidden blessings emerge in their own lives and in one another!
fter him, Ron began to talk. He said it would be okay if I mentioned his name. I met Ron in the Mission late one night nearly two and a half years ago. He shared how we met when he was still struggling with drugs and alcohol and was nearly dying. He went on to say he had been homeless for 17 years, and how he was able to get a room at an SRO three years ago. Ron has fourth stage liver disease; he is also one of our ushers at Open Cathedral. As he was talking, he suddenly sat straight -up on his chair and very eloquently and proud he shared that he has been sober and clean for two years since Night Ministry came into his life – everyone applauded and congratulated him. He continued, ―I was dying and they never abandoned me, they were there even when I was in the hospital, they believe in me and love me as I am. It’s because of the Night
...Yet, blending, guiding, comforting, strengthening and sustaining is the ever present Spirit – God with us.
CASTRO | CIVIC CENTER | MISSION | WEST PORTAL
OPEN CATHEDRAL 6
by Rev. Mark Henderson
Each Sunday afternoon, as an extension of Deacon Diana Wheeler's outreach ministry in the Castro, a small congregation gathers outside the Harvey Milk Library for worship, to hear the word and share the sacrament. During one of the times of high Castro energy, Sunday afternoon, there is a heart of prayer at it's center as a group of people come together to pray.
For many in the Castro, Church is a place where they are not welcomed and a
group of people who condemn them. Many have been rejected and scarred by experiences with religious institutions. But Open Cathedral Castro stands in stark contrast. The church building doesn't exist, but the Church is present in the people who witness that Jesus spoke to the outcasts of his day. During the week, Deacon Diana collects the worries, concerns and hopes of the people of this neighborhood and at worship, prayers of intersession and thanksgiving are offered. It's an important message to people who might consider themselves outsiders to know that their concerns are held up and that arms are open to them. A new kind of Church is offered in this place. ď ś
GETTING READY for the
by Rev. Deacon Diana Wheeler
Being a “light in the darkness”. That is the mission of this ministry on the plaza. Our tiny group of faithful people has been meeting every Sunday for a year and a half. The folks who meet for worship are mostly church folks, but our ―congregation‖ is large and mostly un-churched. They are active members of community groups and spend their free time working to raise money for scores of nonprofit organizations, including San Francisco Night Ministry. Our congregation stays in touch with us in face to face meetings in the neighborhood and via social media. During the week we receive requests for prayer from local folks, from people around the country and even international requests. We are asked to pray for personal needs; for the success of fundraising efforts and other special projects. We are asked to do blessings and assist with other rituals in times of crisis, grief, fear, and joy. Our mission is presence. There is no other agenda. Well, almost no agenda. Open CathedralCastro is an opportunity for our volunteer clergy to join a different kind of ministry than they may have thus far experienced. It’s a chance to be the image of God’s love by just ―being‖. Night Ministers coach parish clergy in the streets, bars and cafes. It can be scary to walk around in your collar out there. You can’t be anonymous. If your perception is that the community may be unwelcoming you may be very uncomfortable. It takes courage. My experience of taking that risk has been an experience of great joy.
Clergy who accompany us in this ministry are often surprised by that joy themselves and come back to Open Cathedral- Castro again and again to serve or just to worship. This past Palm Sunday we had our Second Annual Palm Procession through the Castro neighborhood. A group offered prayers at our 16th St. site, blessed the palms and walked the streets, handing out 200 palms. We were bidden into bars and stopped on the sidewalks and in crosswalks. We even made the front page of the Bay Area Reporter. Our good friend, the Rev. Molly Haws is pictured offering palms to diners in Orphan Andy’s! Check out our Facebook fan page and see the joy! This summer Open Cathedral-Castro is going on its Summer Tour! Starting in June, we shall offer a communion service on the first Sunday of every month. The other Sundays we will meet for an evening prayer service, and then hit the streets for a walk and some fellowship time at a local fundraiser (clergy in collars and religious in habit please). It’s our chance to offer presence and support to people who work so hard to serve those in need. What we really are doing is being a reflection of God’s love. God is ever present in people’s lives. Our job is to remind them of that by just ―being there‖. To be a light in the darkness is simple. Our mission is presence. There is no more important agenda.
Former Night Ministers, Chuck Lewis and Don Fox — still going strong!
A WEDDING AT OPEN CATHEDRAL by Vicki Gray On Easter, Open Cathedral celebrated its third anniversary at MacAllister and Leavenworth in the Tenderloin. Having demonstrated faithfulness by providing spiritual and physical food every Sunday – rain or shine – it has become THE church for dozens of the area’s residents, with a regular, steady congregation of about fifty who attend our weekly Eucharist. Some members of our core congregation, moreover, have become ushers, helping to distribute about a hundred lunches after our service and otherwise ministering themselves to their sisters and brothers. And, like any thriving congregation, we share our pains and sorrows in community prayer and in one-on-one counseling. We also share in community the special occasions that are a source of joy. We have, for example, celebrated three Baptisms… and soon a fourth. And, in April, four Baptisms were publicly renewed. April also brought another, very special ―first‖ – our first wedding, a truly joyous event under a bright blue spring sky. The Bride, Lee Ann Rose Tanape, and the groom, James ―Robbie‖ Osborn, were both born in Alaska, but first met in San Francisco thirteen years ago. The Rev. Monique Ortiz, our Open Cathedral pastor, presided over the very conventional Christian ceremony. Lee Ann being a Native American, the incense used to bless the participants was, befitting her roots and tradition, burning sage.
Here Comes the Bride
Love is Patient Love is
The Incense Was Sage
By way of sharing the happiness of Lee Ann, Robbie, and all of us at Open Cathedral, we offer this sampling of photos taken by Dominque Ortiz that are among the many in Lee Ann’s wedding book… memories of a very special, very happy day. With This 8
Ring I Thee
Working together we are a people chosen by God, blessed, broken and given for others. May we all clearly hear God’s word “You are my beloved, and on you my favor rests.”
Letter from the Night Minister
by Rev. Lyle J. Beckman
“You are my beloved, and on you my favor rests.” Henri Nouwen, highly regarded priest, psychologist and author, has taught me much about the spiritual life of God’s beloved. He learned to articulate this concept from his own experiences working and living with people with developmental disabilities, and he has taught me to see the Night Ministry family in the same way – as the beloved of God. Let me say this, that many of the people we meet at night hear only the voices that tell them that they are worthless, that they are a problem, that they are a burden, that they are a failure. They hear the voices that say, ―If you want to be loved, you had better prove that you are worth loving.‖
ne of our goals is to help people gradually learn to listen to a voice that rather says, ―You are my beloved and on you my favor rests.‖
Jesus heard that voice as he came up out of the waters of the Jordan River following his own baptism. Nouwen suggests that once we hear this voice as well, we can learn to live the life of the beloved, which is marked by four themes: we are chosen, blessed, broken, and sent.
ago moved away from their spiritual grounding. She said that God had sent me to be among the most forgotten of souls, and that I would always know the power of God in my life. Now that was a blessing! My blessings have changed since that experience, and the people I meet are changed by God’s blessings. It is important that we are in touch with our blessedness, that we can bless others and be blessed by others too. People need our blessing and to know that their God and their family of faith bless them too.
We are chosen. That means we are seen by God in
We are broken.
all our preciousness, in all our individuality. Sometimes people have a difficult time believing they are chosen by God, and that they matter. The words ―I don’t want you here‖ and ―Go away‖ leave their impact. The life of the beloved, however, starts by trusting that we are chosen in our uniqueness and that in God’s eyes, we are precious.
We are blessed. Almost every night as I walk the streets of San Francisco someone will ask for a blessing. In the early days I was more tentative, offering liturgical blessings or ones based on biblical passages or images. Sometimes I would make a small cross on a forehead as if blessing a child at the baptismal font. One night a woman said, ―Tonight I’m giving you a blessing.‖ At that she threw her arms around me and held me with all her strength. For eight minutes she prayed - that I might truly know who I was, how important my work was, that people in her neighborhood depended on hearing a word of comfort and hope from me, that I was bringing God and faith back into the hearts and minds of those who had long
Nouwen teaches that as the beloved of God, we have to dare to embrace and befriend our own brokenness. A challenge for us at Night Ministry is to not ―fix things or people‖ or to make everyone and everything better. Our main task is to put our own brokenness and the brokenness of those whom we serve under the blessing of God. Brokenness without blessing can lead to the downward spiral of anger, shame and despair. Brokenness under God’s blessing can lead to forgiveness, growth and opportunities to teach, share and serve.
We are sent.
Not the most scientific observation, but often as I talk with people at night I like to ask them what they would do if they were to win the lottery. After the usual house, travel and wardrobe answers, attention is very often placed on those around them who have great need. It is heartwarming to hear sincere conversations about how they would address the needs of the poor, the sick and the lonely in their communities. Even more powerful are the examples of faithful service and acts of mercy, sharing and caring that we witness almost every night. 9
of an Associate Night Minister by Rev. Thom Longino
Recently at a group gathering, the scriptural focus for the group was John 13:34-35 (―A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.‖) In the course of the discussion, a brother in Christ brought up that when we talk about the importance of loving each other, what is also needed is a frank discussion about the ways hatred taints our hearts and minds, and that part of learning to love others is to unlearn false assumptions and judgments. This got me thinking about the assumptions I make of others, but also about the assumptions people make about me as a Night Minister, and how those assumptions may impact my work. I will be honest, as a 6’2‖ gentleman on the better side of 250 pounds, I am aware that when some people see me for the first time walking through the Tenderloin, they assume I am an undercover officer. I wish I was just imagining this, but people whom I have gotten to know have disclosed their initial assumptions
to me. This can be frustrating, and sometimes I feel I am as effective as walking into a brick wall. As frustrating as this is for me, some words of wisdom from my spiritual director comfort me, ―Shaddai does not ask you to be successful, just faithful.‖ My call from Jesus to be a brother to all does not entail winning souls, but being a faithful presence of love and compassion. So, the more faithful I am to my call, the more I will confront with love others’
false assumptions of who I am. I have, and I will. The Night Ministry thanks all of our generous guests and the many volunteers who made this night so special. The 2011 Gala will be on October 15 so save the date and be there.
Accept that some days you’re the pigeon, And some days you’re the statue.
CAUSE PAGE San Francisco Night Ministry FAN PAGES San Francisco Night Ministry Open Cathedral-Civic Center Open Cathedral-Castro
SAVE the DATE! 10
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2010 Statistics These statistics give a record of all contacts made in 2009 by the Night Ministers and by the Crisis Line Counselors and the combined total. These are broken out into various categories which show the variety and diversity of the population and situations the Night Ministry encounters. CATEGORY Gender:
Female Male Transgender
Adult Teen Child Hang-up Religious/Spiritual Moral/Ethical Lonely Depressed Anxious/Frightened Psychiatric Grief Suicidal Homicidal Criminal Relationship/Family
Physical Psychological Sexual Domestic Violence
Legal Job / Vocation Financial Medical/Health HIV/AIDS
Issue Request Transportation Information Other
Crisis Line Counselor Total
Night Minister Total
2682 2740 59 4666 4 0 679 523 361 1696 898 725 388 188 122 9 44 1252 59 89 54 23 44 84 36 24 98 306 284 578 7 9 0 4 1 122 5 13 192 43
2708 8119 240 10943 145 9 137 7341 5276 2111 1629 1819 1273 817 230 67 44 6706 314 357 123 179 931 1632 536 118 775 3424 2219 2598 189 1010 20 1863 1364 1941 163 231 2951 828
5390 9859 299 15609 149 9 816 7864 5637 3807 2527 3544 1661 1005 352 76 376 7958 373 446 177 202 975 1716 572 142 873 3730 2503 3176 196 1019 20 1867 1365 2063 168 244 3143 871 11
San Francisco Night Ministry MAILING ADDRESS 1031 Franklin Street San Francisco, CA 94109-6801 PHONE E MAIL WEB
415 441-0123 firstname.lastname@example.org www.sfnightministry.org
The Night Minister The Rev. Lyle J. Beckman
Associate Night Minister The Rev. Thom Longino
Associate Night Minister The Rev. Monique Ortiz
Deacon to the Night Ministry The Rev. Diana Wheeler
Crisis Line Counselors Coordinator Brother Jude Hill
Assistant Night Ministers
Members of the Governing Board
The Rev. Don Fox - Episcopal Church The Rev. Berni Fricke - Evangelical Lutheran Church in America The Rev. Bernie Griesel - Episcopal Church Br. Jude Hill - Episcopal Franciscan Friar The Rev. Valerie McEntee - United Church of Christ The Rev. Chuck McNeil - Roman Catholic The Rev. Andreas Pielhoop - Evangelical Lutheran Church in America The Rev. David Stickley - Episcopal Church
Marian Brischle Barry Clagett Larry Dannenberg The Rev. Victoria Gray Tim Huyler Charles Jacobs Elizabeth Lewis Virginia Lewis Keith Packer Tom Robertson Ron King Judith Dancer The Rev. Roland Stringfellow
Jun Ranches - Office Manager Sue England - Administrative Assistant Susan Stevens窶年ight Ministry Associate 12