50thSan Francisco Night Ministry 50th Anniversary Grand Festivities
On November 16, 2014, a festive and innovative Commemoration Service of Thanksgiving featured author Anne Lamott as guest speaker. Choral ensemble Volti offered musical accompaniment and the interpretive dance group Wing It filled Grace Cathedral expressing gratitude for 50 years of this unique ministry.

Congregants of Open Cathedral -- Civic Center, almost all of whom are homeless, were bussed up to Grace for the service. They weren't mere spectators. Rather, they  blessed the Night Ministers who care for them, and then those Ministers blessed the Bishops and other higher-ups in attendance. This was a nice reversal to the usual top-down order of such blessings.  The congregation was also blessed.

Author Anne Lamott spoke to the three themes structuring the program: Chaos, Night Shift, and Dawn. To symbolize the Night Ministry's motto, "Lighten the darkness, rekindle the hope," everyone sang, "This Little Light of Mine" and turned on mini flashlights that they received.  Read Anne Lamott's words.

At the banquet at Delancey Street, proclamations and good wishes were shared including a proclamation by San Francisco Mayer Ed Lee of Night Ministry Day in San Francisco, a congratulatory letter from Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and a proclamation from the California State Senate from State Sen. Mark Leno.

Listen to the Voices of Night Ministers and Volunteers

It takes a special kind of person to want to work with people who are needy or in crisis in the middle of the night. It takes courage, creativity and conviction to carry a ministry of listening love and pastoral presence into the night, onto the streets, and even to the earpiece of a telephone. Night Ministry attracts many special people to work as ministers and volunteers listening and responding from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. every night of the year.

Yale PhD student Joey Plaster has conducted oral history interviews with nine key staffers to help celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Night Ministry. These audio profiles offer insights into what these special Night Ministers and volunteer Crisis Line Counselors do and how they feel about their work on the phone and walking the streets. To learn more about Joey Plaster, click here.

The. Rev. Lyle Beckman is The Night Minister, serving as Director of Night Ministry from 2007 to the present. He is a priest of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

The Rev. Don Fox is an Episcopal priest, served at The Night Minister in charge from 1995 to 2007. He continues to contribute his abundance of ministerial experience walking out monthly as an Assistant Night Minister and stands in for Lyle, as needed.

The Rev. Chuck Lewis of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America has been with the Night Ministry ever since its beginning in 1964. After serving as Assistant Night Minister to founder, The Rev. Don Stuart for 12 years, Chuck became The Night Minister from 1976 to 1996, totaling 32 years of active involvement and leadership. He still contributes his time and talents. Read more about him here.

Gordon is the Crisis Line Counselor who has served longest.

Joanne Chadwick served as Volunteer Coordinator for Night Ministry at the very beginning of the organization, 50 years ago and continues to volunteer, currently Co-Chairing our 50th Anniversary Committee.

John, a musician by profession, has brought a keen attentiveness to his 13 years of listening as a Crisis Line Counselor.

Brother Jude Hill is a Franciscan Friar, an Episcopal priest, and the coordinator of Night Ministry's Crisis Line Counselors.

The Rev. Monique Ortiz, UCC, is an Associate Night Minister who conducts services at our Open Cathedral.<

The Rev. Vicki Gray is an Episcopal deacon, a transgender woman, an author, and a self-described "Troublemaker" (as she titled her book) who advocates for social justice and brings a particular empathy to her work as Assistant Night Minister.