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Outreach Ministry

Family Promise

Overnight Hosts Needed!

What does it mean to be an overnight host? You arrive at 8 PM with pillow and bedding in hand (sheets and light blankets are available), ready to spend the night. One of you should have a cell phone in case you need to call Ronnie or me in the night. You check in with the evening hosts to see how things are going. Often our guests are already settling down in their rooms for the night, or are engaged in quiet recreation. If so, that’s your chance to chat with your co-host, read or whatever. Sometimes guests want to talk – we let them set the pace. We lock the doors and turn off the lights at 10 PM, although our guests’ increasingly erratic work hours (most work part-time) can require letting someone in after hours. We go to sleep. I use the library, and sometimes my co-host does too. Often my co-host sleeps in the robing room or the youth lounge. You are available as a resource in case something goes wrong in the night. Usually nothing does. You get up at 6-6:15 AM, turn on the hallway and kitchen lights and make coffee, if the group includes coffee drinkers. Guests tend to appear at 6:30-6:45 and pack food for lunch. Only a few, primarily the kids, eat breakfast. We encourage those not going to work to take dinner leftovers to the Day Center for lunch. If a family hasn’t shown up by the time the van driver arrives, you knock on their door to be sure they are up. The guests leave promptly at 7 AM, with your best wishes for a good day. You tidy the kitchen, check the rooms to be sure lights are off and windows closed, leave the notebook and keys outside the office, call Linda Barth with any food requests noted on the refrigerator list, and go home.

As I’ve said in church, being an overnight host has let me offer non-judgmental support and quiet encouragement to families going through hard times, often the result of a lost job, an illness or a divorce. It has to help to know others are rooting for your success. It has also given me time to get to know some of you much better. After 14 years, I continue to find this ministry rewarding. Come and see!

Barbara Garrity,


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