Mission & Vision
Chaplains on the Way (COTW) believes that no person suffering from 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 a ministry of compassion and companionship through life’s struggles and triumphs, welcoming all into relationship and loving community.
In working toward our vision, we expand the circle of care for those we serve by providing a bridge to social services agencies. We also act as a bridge with faith communities and schools to educate and raise awareness by providing opportunities to become involved and experience our chaplaincy. This work inspires us to advocate for systemic change on the issues of homelessness, mental health, and substance use.
Rev. Rebecca Sheble-Hall
Chaplain & Executive Director
Rebecca’s call and passion for companioning people experiencing homelessness and poverty comes from her many years working as an advocate at the Women’s Lunch Place in Boston. She first came to Chaplains on the Way as a field education student in 2011 and worked under the guidance of Rev. Joan Murray, the founder. She earned a Master of Divinity with a concentration in pastoral care from Andover Newton Theological School, and she completed her Clinical Pastoral Education at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Worcester. Rebecca is the mother of two grown children and ordained through the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Chaplain & Development Director
Justi joined Chaplains on the Way as a Chaplain and Director of Development in 2018. In 2014, after having worked for 10 years as a classical musician, Justi decided to change his professional trajectory and become a chaplain. He attended Harvard Divinity School and received his Master of Divinity in 2018. While at HDS, Justi worked with people experiencing homelessness as an intern chaplain with Jed Mannis and the Outdoor Church in Cambridge and learned how powerful it can be to offer a kind attention to those who are so often invisible to the world around them.
Chaplains on the Way began in June of 2008, when Rev. Joan Murray began walking along the streets of Waltham to meet people experiencing homelessness. She started by “just looking”, making eye contact and smiling, then eventually introducing herself to people on the street and becoming a regular and welcoming presence. Rev. Murray’s intent for COTW was to offer a non-judgmental ministry of presence on the streets, at soup kitchens, and in shelters.
In 2013 Rev. Murray hired a second chaplain, Rev. Becky Sheble-Hall, to meet the needs of the growing ministry. When Rev. Murray retired in the fall of 2014, Rev. Sheble-Hall became Executive Director of COTW. Justi Godoy joined as chaplain and development director in 2018. Currently, we offer ourselves as spiritual companions at six locations each week. We hold four weekly spiritual practices, offer daily breakfasts throughout the winter, and organize several community outings each year. This ministry is done by two part-time chaplains, a ministerial intern, and several volunteers. We are a non-denominational interfaith organization, and currently our chaplains come from Buddhist and Unitarian Universalist traditions.