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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.


Read testimonials about our work


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. Today, our work is done by Chaplain Elinor Tambourine and Executive Director Michael Jones, as well as chaplain interns, 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.

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