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A letter from Paul W. Hamann, President & CEO of The Night Ministry
April 14, 2020
"The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected."
The above quote, attributed to Robert Frost, is one of my favorites. It is a quote about which I have been thinking a lot lately, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our community, The Night Ministry, and those whom we serve. I've been thinking about it because, in my opinion, it summarizes the situation we are in. Five weeks ago, one could never have imagined that:
We could never have imagined all of this – and so much more – five weeks ago. But, now we know and have experienced things that we never would have suspected we would a short time ago.
Five weeks ago, here at The Night Ministry, we would never have suspected that:
All of this…and so much more, we could never have imagined five weeks ago. But, indeed, they have become our reality.
What I did know five weeks ago, though, and have had continuously reaffirmed since those days when we never suspected the unimaginable, is that the staff of The Night Ministry is incredibly dedicated to their work, resourceful, and flexible. During this time, I have had the joy of witnessing:
I have also been moved by another thing I knew five weeks ago: that friends of The Night Ministry, like you, are incredibly generous and care so much for those in our community who, under usual circumstances, are vulnerable to disease and illness but are even more so now. "Shelter in place" has a different meaning when you have no place to call home, or a shelter is your home.
Thank you for your response and generosity and for caring so much for those whom we are called to serve at The Night Ministry. Answering that call in these days of crisis is more important than ever. I am incredibly grateful to be associated with a mission that inspires friends to reach into the caring and compassionate depths of their hearts as they find ways to help their community. And, I am proud to call "colleagues" our staff who, on a daily basis, demonstrate grit and determination as they continue to practice the compassion that is the foundation of our mission.
Another favorite quote of mine is from Shakespeare's The Tempest: "What's past is prologue."In reflecting upon this quote, I know that it is The Night Ministry's 44 years of providing client-centered services that has prepared us for this moment of critical response to the needs of Chicago's homeless, precariously housed, and poor.
Likewise, I know that this moment in our history will be the prologue to a future where compassion and love for our community members who have been cast aside and ignored will be demonstrated through unquestioned acceptance and care, no matter the costs of reaching out to them. I know that this crisis and The Night Ministry's response to it – your response to it – is prologue to a better future.
I suspect – no, I know – that we will get through this.
Paul W. Hamann, MA, MNA
President & CEO