The Night Ministry, created in 1976 by 18 Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches in the Lakeview and Lincoln Park communities, reaches out to people on the street—people in need of someone to talk to, someone to counsel them, or someone who can refer them to special help. The streets of Chicago are our parish, and our ministers are present in that community, visible to those in need and available to assist.
Through our programs, we seek to break the cycle of abandonment and mistrust felt by those on the nighttime streets. Utilizing over 400 volunteers and 40 staff members, The Night Ministry reaches 1,500 persons a month with services including health outreach and education, pastoral care, counseling, and youth emergency shelter.
Outreach ministers and our bus go out in the Chicago streets six nights a week, from 6:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Our 33-foot bus brings hospitality, street counseling, and health care, education, assessments, and referral to the unserved and underserved nighttime community.
Currently The Night Ministry does street outreach in three of Chicago's north side neighborhoods: Uptown, Lakeview, and Near North. Exploration to other neighborhoods is now in progress. The Health Outreach Program also serves shelters located on the city's Westside and Southside.
Students are required to complete our 6-hour basic training and paperwork before they can begin working. These trainings will happen on 3 Thursday evenings. Within the first 6 months of work, students receive an additional 12 hours of training, offered quarterly on Saturdays.
• Assist in providing hospitality to parishioners as they come to the bus (handing out coffee, cookies, and conversation). Be able to provide a listening ear and offer a respectful and accepting space of all who approach you.
• Be visible, present and available to parishioners as you work directly with them along with our outreach ministers on the street.
• Be interested in experiencing and participating in "Mission in Reverse."
• Establish and build relationships which result in pastoral care that includes, but is not limited to: friendship ministry, crisis intervention, pastoral care, informal counseling, HIV prevention education, and referral to appropriate social, health and religious services.
Students who will be able to commit to a regular schedule of at least one evening a week. Must be comfortable working with great diversity and being out on the city streets at night. Must be able to get to and from the Northside of Chicago from where the bus starts and ends.
The Night Ministry office is located in the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, two blocks west of the Chicago Cub's Wrigley Field, approximately 10 miles north of McCormick Seminary. By car, drive north on Lake Shore Drive; exit at Belmont Avenue ad continue north to Addison; turn left, go west two blocks beyond the baseball stadium.
By CTA "el," travel north on the Howard Line, using "B" train; exit at the Addison stop and walk four blocks west.
Reverend Barbara Bolsen