Mission & Vision
Founded in 2010, Chaplains on the Way is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that offers spiritual support to people experiencing homelessness in Waltham, MA. We believe that no person living in homelessness should feel they have to walk alone. We live out our mission by building trusting relations with people in Waltham, MA who are experiencing homelessness and struggling with mental health and/or substance use issues. We offer compassion and companionship through life’s struggles and triumphs, welcoming all into relationship and loving community.
Our chaplains sit with people of any and all faiths, or no particular faith, to listen, bear witness, and share spiritual resources. We also accompany people as they navigate resources related to housing, employment, health care, and hospice. Our mission calls us to support housed and unhoused people as they work together to build more integrated, innovative forms of community.
Chaplains on the Way began in 2010, when Rev. Joan Murray, a United Church of Christ minister, began walking along the streets of Waltham to meet people experiencing homelessness. Rev. Murray’s intent for COTW was to offer a ministry of presence on the streets, at soup kitchens, and in shelters.
In 2013, Rev. Murray hired Rev. Becky Sheble-Hall, a Unitarian Universalist minister, to serve as a second chaplain. When Rev. Murray retired in 2014, Rev. Sheble-Hall became Executive Director of COTW. Justi Godoy, a Buddhist chaplain, joined as Chaplain and Development Director in 2018. In 2021, when Rev. Sheble-Hall stepped down from her position, Jill Gaulding, a Zen Buddhist, former student intern, and part-time chaplain with COTW, was hired as Executive Director.
Chaplains on the Way is a non-denominational interfaith organization. Our work is done by Jill and Justi, as well as a chaplain intern, several part-time chaplains, and many volunteers, all from a variety of faith backgrounds and traditions. We continue to offer spiritual companionship to people experiencing homelessness in Waltham, wherever they may need to be. In addition to a ministry of presence, we offer one-to-one spiritual direction; hold weekly interfaith spiritual practices; help to facilitate weekly meetings of the Waltham Community Leadership Group (a grassroots action group started by Chaplains on the Way); and provide a five-day Winter Breakfast Program.
CHAPLAINS & STAFF
Chaplain & Executive Director
Jill was hired as Chaplain on the Way’s Executive Director in 2021, after serving as a chaplain intern in 2018-2019 and a part-time chaplain in 2019 and 2020. She attended Harvard Divinity School, completing Clinical Pastoral Education at Beverly Hospital and Boston Medical Center, and receiving her Master of Divinity in 2020. As a former cognitive scientist, civil-rights lawyer, law professor, and nonprofit leader, Jill likes to contemplate the intersections between cognitive science, social justice, and theories of personal and societal change. As a chaplain, though, she thinks the most important thing we can do for one another is to try to listen well.
Assistant Director of Communications and Development
Heather joined Chaplains on the Way in 2022. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Social Work at Boston College School of Social Work. Previously, she worked as the Marketing and Development Specialist at Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Boston. She attended Emmanuel College and received her Bachelors in Political Science and Sociology.
Bill Hoch lives in Newton and started volunteering with Chaplains on the Way as a lay member of the United Parish of Auburndale. In part, as a result of this volunteering, Bill left his career as a lawyer and went to Boston University School of Theology to enter ministry. Bill received his Master of Divinity degree and is a Pastor at the Woburn United Methodist Church, in Woburn MA. Bill currently works two mornings a week with Chaplains on the way and enjoys walking the streets and river walks in Waltham to meet folks, sitting for tea at McDonalds on Tuesday, and helping lead Wednesday morning worship at the gazebo. Bill is married and has two sons.
Judy first encountered COTW while serving as a chaplain intern. She continued following her graduation from Harvard Divinity School in 2023, drawing on a multi-faith perspective, the deep wisdom of COTW’s community members, and an abiding faith in the power of hearts connected.
Bio coming soon
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Mary Ann Gibbons