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by Natalie Yemenidjian, KQED News, June 29, 2016

 

10:30 p.m.: Pastor Lyle Beckman, the S.F. Night Minister, waits for drag king Kit Tapata to finish her trivia hosting duties to talk about fliers for an upcoming fundraising. Helping others costs money and the Night Ministry relies on folks like Tapata. Beckman orders club sodas, but enjoys the community in local bars. As more neighborhood bars are priced out, he says the only people who talk to him at the new ‘sterile’ spots are the bartenders. (Natalie Yemenidjian/KQED)

Read the complete article.


 

  APR 18, 2016 - KALW
Lyle Beckman

EXCERPT FROM THE ARTICLE about the San Francisco Night Ministry.

Many people living in need rely on churches for meals, support or simply a place to get off the street and rest. But like other types of service centers, churches close their doors at the end of the day. And for those without a home or family to turn to, the night can be a long and difficult time.

For the last 52 years, The San Francisco Night Ministry has stayed awake all night so that nobody in need has to face the night alone. They operate a crisis phone line, and they have ordained clergy literally walking the streets of San Francisco all night long.

Listen to the article by clicking here.


 

by Amy Gutierrez

Published on Sep 15, 2015

What started in June as a project to teach my daughter and her friends how to cook soup became so much more! With God's grace and blessings, it blossomed and grew into a rich and generous opportunity for believers and non-believers to come together and demonstrate goodness and caring and serve the homeless in San Francisco. And, along the way, we were touched and grew thanks to the wisdom of those in the City. Isn't that what this journey is all about? All of us, regardless of faith or background, reaching out to help each other live a better life?

Every day, life presents opportunities to help someone in need. At first glance, the video may appear to be only about helping the homeless. After all, every night for the past 50 years, San Francisco Night Ministry has provided support ministers who walk the streets from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m., offering face-to-face conversations to those who are lonely, anxious and afraid. In this video, those served included the 80 homeless people who enjoyed a warm cup of soup following the bilingual English-Spanish Open Cathedral service, highlighting a small portion of the over 10,000 meals served annually by the organization.

However, the experience of making the soup served many more than the homeless that evening. It also served my daughter and her friends, taught how to handle a knife, how to cut onions and how to clean up after touching chicken. They were also taught about heritage and family and how to make a healthy, traditional Filipino soup using a recipe my husband’s mother cooked for him when he was a young boy and felt ill. Thanks to the generous financial donation from Thrivent Lutheran Action Teams, they also learned that large companies can believe in social justice and supporting communities. Also, by listening to the homeless speak during prayer time at Open Cathedral, they were taught about the

importance of faith and that joy and laughter can exist during sad situations. 

The experience also served my amazing neighbor Monique Ortiz, one of the many pastors who works with SF Night Ministry. For the past few years, she has scrambled around Thursday morning, pulling together a meal for those who gather for worship and for those who quickly assemble after, eager to gain fortification from the food provided. Her beautiful heart greets all of her parishioners each week, accepting them in their current physical and mental state, and sharing God’s love and goodness.

Creating the song served the souls of Alyssa McCoy and Ryan Filipo, gifted musicians who felt the spirit move within them as they worked together to write and perform their rendition of “This Little Light of Mine.” 

The whole process of serving, from the shopping to requesting funds for the foods to teaching the girls how to cook to traveling to the city and meeting the beautiful community that meets weekly on 16th and Mission – all of it nourished my soul. As I continue to seek my calling and purpose and struggle with balance in life, I was brought to tears to hear the stories and the sincerity of those in the city. I was honored to meet them and learn more about their lives and their struggles, and to witness the power of faith. 

I also recognize the power of letting my little light shine through the creative process of sharing a vision with others, seeking resources for assistance, learning how to use my Flipvideo camera and watching as God’s grace works wonders. From friends and neighbors who babysat my younger sons or shared an encouraging word, to Victoria Jones who volunteered her amazing video editing services, to Ali Samuels who helped serve food, to Veronica Sullivan who captured the final video scenes, to my sister Karen Sill and friends Heather Young and Shelley Rice who have served as cheerleaders and editors along the way. 

I am clear that this experience is about far more than serving the homeless – it’s about capturing the opportunity to live generously, letting your light shine and watching as wonderful things unfold!

  • On the Streets of the Tenderloin, 'a Light in an Unlit World' KQED article by Natalie Yemenidjian - excerpt: 10:30 p.m.: Pastor Lyle Beckman, the S.F. Night Minister, waits for drag king Kit Tapata to finish her trivia hosting duties to talk about fliers for an upcoming fundraising. Helping others costs money and the Night Ministry relies on folks like Tapata. Beckman orders club sodas, but enjoys the community in local bars. As more neighborhood bars are priced out, he says the only people who talk to him at the new ‘sterile’ spots are the bartenders. (Natalie Yemenidjian/KQED) - Read the complete article
  • I'm pleased to announce that our own Gordon Schaeffer has received the prestigious Jefferson Award for his 48 years of faithful service as a Crisis Line Counselor. A film crew was in the office tonight to film a short segment about him and his work with us. Read the complete article on the Home Page.
  • San Francisco Chronicle columnist Carl Nolte featured the Night Ministry and the Rev. Lyle Beckman in his Native Son column on November 16, 2014 under the headline: Ministers who walk the Night Beat Have God on Their Side.  Here is a link to the online version with a slide show posted on SFGate.com - Ministers walk San Francisco night beat, offering help
 
  • The San Francisco Bay Guardian's Best of the Bay issue chose the Night Ministry as a Local Hero.  The story appeared in the newspaper's final issue, published on October 15, 2014. Click here to read the article
  • Governing Board Member Roy Mosley spoke about the work of Night Ministry at the Chinese Congregational Church on July 13.  Read about it here
 
 
 

 

We Are On The Way to Meeting Our $20,000 Goal!

Within five short months the Night Ministry has been blessed by the donation of two vans similar to the ones shown below, and has also received $9,500.00 in donations, pledges and grants.  The next phase of the Van project is to prepare these vans for ministry.  Our $20,000 fundraising goal is for just that reason.  Funds are needed for operation costs, insurance, signage and equipment as listed below.

  • Van Signage
  • Maintenance & Insurance
  • 2 - 8'x10' Easy Up Coverings
  • 2 Burner Portable Food Warmer
  • 24 to 28 Folding Chairs
  • 2 - 3'x6' Folding Tables
  • 10 Heavy Duty Food & Clothing Bins
  • Portable Sound System

The Night Ministry also provides weekly outdoor worship and fellowship services: one in the Tenderloin and one in the Mission.  The services are followed by a meal while providing blankets, socks, coats, sleeping bags and toiletries  These services create the opportunity for conversation, prayer and crisis intervention.  Our wellness program and community-building program extend our outreach to many more people in need.  Our goal is to have our vans carry a greater supply of food, blankets, coats and various services to the streets of our beloved San Francisco.

We have become limited in our ability to reach the growing needs of people struggling on our streets.  Night Ministry does not receive any public funding, nor do we charge anyone for our services.  We are extremely thankful for the people who support and partner with us.  We are asking for your help to meet the greater need.  No pledge is too small.  Thank you in advance for your consideration.  Click here to donate.

Visual Representation of Finished Van
Visual Representation of Finished Van

We know you have the heart to see the needs, and with your help, we can reach the people of our city in a bigger and better way.  Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information.   All gifts are tax deductible.

Download a copy of the flyer.

A Joy and a Blessing
Timothy Smith, Night Ministry Intern
I have been an intern at Night Ministry for the past six months. My internship there is part of the field education program at School for Deacons in Berkeley, where I began as a student in their three-year program, in August 2012, after retiring from a 40- year career as an attorney and consultant. SFD requires second-year students like me to work as an intern with an organization having a social ministry in the community and to engage as fully as possible in their programs.

My experience with the Night Ministry over the past six months has been transformative. It has been a joy and a blessing to be able to work with caring and compassionate clergy and lay people at Night Ministry and to experience first-hand how they bring their own presence and the presence of the Holy Spirit to be with the homeless and the needy on the streets of San Francisco.

Cardboard House to Chapel
Working under the thoughtful, discerning, and compassionate tutelage of Lyle Beckman, the senior night minister in charge of SF Night Ministry, I've joined night ministers on their late nightly walks through such neighborhoods as the Tenderloin, lower Polk, the Castro, City Hall, North Beach, and Fisherman's Wharf. It has been deeply moving and personally fulfilling to bring my presence to the streets and to be with the night ministers as they pray with people on the streets and bring comfort, love, and hope to them.

A profound experience for me occurred one chilly, damp evening when I was accompanying a night minister on a walk in the neighborhood near the Castro Safeway where a large number of homeless people often congregate. As we walked down the street at about 1 :30 a.m., we encountered a man with long hair and a beard who was building himself a house made out of cardboard for the night. We caught his eye and began speaking with him. We quickly learned that he had been a substance abuser for a number of years. It also appeared that his homelessness had resulted from many years of substance abuse and that he had little, if anything, in worldly possessions. However, he was a very spiritual man and began talking with us about God's love for all of us despite our sins, the Catholic Church (to which he belonged as a youth), the Pope, religious tolerance. The discussion was quite lively. He then announced that he would change his cardboard house into a cardboard chapel, proceeded to make an altar inside the cardboard box, and invited us to pray with him. For the next 40 minutes we prayed with him on our knees by his makeshift altar inside the cardboard box. I believe that all three of us felt the power of the Holy Spirit while we prayed. As the man was thanking us afterwards for bringing our presence to him, I looked at him again and saw in him the face of Jesus.

Singing for Open Cathedral
I've also engaged as a lector, a prayer leader, and even a song leader (quite a stretch for me) for Open Cathedral. It is a church without walls or a roof, where night ministers conduct uplifting Eucharistic services on Sundays and week-day afternoons in open plazas by City Hall and the Mission BART station. Everyone is warmly welcomed to the Lord's Table, is treated with dignity, and after the service receives a bag lunch prepared by a different church each week. Already, the night ministers have successfully built community for Open Cathedral, which now has regular attendees at its services.

A deeply moving experience for me occurred at Open Cathedral near City Hall during one of the Sunday afternoon Eucharist services. Open Cathedral clergy from Night Ministry invite anyone on the streets to join in the service and treat everyone with dignity just as Christ treated the marginalized. The liturgy is normally conducted by Night Ministry clergy and volunteers charismatically led by the Rev. Monique Ortiz. However, the parishioners, many of whom are homeless, serve as ushers, lead singing, and actively engage in the intercessionary prayers. It is truly heartwarming to hear the parishioners, many of whom are struggling to sustain themselves, pray for God to bless and be with others who are also struggling to survive! On this particular day, the neighborhood participant who usually leads the singing during the service was not there. The clergy attending the service did not feel totally comfortable in leading the singing, although they tried mightily. Suddenly, an older; bearded man in a faded hoodie and trousers who had been sitting apart from the others, buried in his own thoughts, stood up and volunteered to lead the singing. He took the portable microphone and proceeded to lead the singing with a magnificent voice as smooth as velvet. Everyone joined in enthusiastically singing the selected hymns and the alleluias. This gentleman had helped to make the Eucharist even more special than it already was! I stood there and once again felt that I had experienced the Holy Spirit in action at Open Cathedral!

Daily Thanksgiving
I'm also training to become a crisis line counselor for the Night Ministry, which uses crisis line counseling as a forum where during the night troubled and lonely people can speak with someone who cares for them and who has been trained as a counselor to help them. I continue to be deeply touched by the dedication and faith of the crisis line counselors as they spend long hours into the night making themselves available to pray and to speak on the phone with troubled and lonely people. I thank God daily for the gift of being a part of the Night Ministry's program of caring and compassion for the homeless and others in need on the streets of San Francisco. I also thank Lyle and his colleagues for providing me with an opportunity to engage actively in a diverse ministry outside the confines of church walls. I look forward to continuing to engage in Night Ministry programs even after I complete my field education program for School for Deacons at the end of the current spring semester.