Street Chaplaincy is a form of spiritual care that involves both presence and accompaniment. The presence part of what we do involves visiting people in the camps, hospitals, and jails; providing end-of-life care; holding funerals and memorials for our friends who die; and performing house blessings (when requested) for people who are moving in. The accompaniment part of what we do involves journeying alongside people through difficult transitions and standing (and sometimes marching and protesting) beside them as they seek to claim their rights and dignity in the midst of systems that discard, displace, and dehumanize.
Most of our friends on the streets have experienced trauma, oppression, and/or “adverse childhood experiences” and as they are working toward housing, they are also working toward a deeper sense of healing and wholeness. Our Street Chaplains help to provide a space where that deeper sense of healing can occur.
As an interfaith nonprofit, we believe that every person has a unique journey and should be able to find and make their own meaning. We have friends of every faith and no faith and we always meet them where they are without imposing any of our religious beliefs on them. The very name “Open Table Nashville” was meant to invoke the vision of an open table where everyone is welcome, where we can all find nourishment and community, and where there is always room to pull up another chair.