Street Stories

Weblog of Seattle minister to the homeless Rick Reynolds, Operation Nightwatch

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Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

Caring for human beings seems like the best use of my time, homeless or not.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Thank you Pastor Bob Bradbury



Pastor Bob Bradbury was one of the earliest Nightwatch outreach ministers, starting in 1967. He was a classmate of Bud Palmberg, our founder. Pastor Bob passed away in December, 2016, and his widow Jane Ann sent me this amazing story. He told the story on Father's Day last year - his final sermon. I'm guessing he has told this story many times:

The Story of Pedro in 1967: While coming upon First and Pike after midnight, Pastor Bob heard this loud, foul-mouth exclamation from the alley, and encountered a huge African American man, pounding his fists bloody against the rough wall of a building. 

“STOP IT” Bob yelled at him loudly.  “YOU”RE A CHILD OF GOD AND GOD LOVES YOU--  NOW STOP IT.”  

Pedro replied, “I just thumped a guy and I said I would never do that again, but I just did.”  Seeing his clerical collar, Pedro continued, “I am a child of the devil.”  

“You were conceived out of love, and you are NOT a child of the devil.  Now STOP hurting yourself.” 

By this time the cops were on the scene, and Pastor Bob could hear the sirens of an aid car coming. “Now we are getting help for your bloody hands, and you need to know you are loved,” Pastor Bob told Pedro.

The cops had their clubs drawn, just in case, but of course they were not necessary.  “That was the finest sermon I have ever heard,” said one of the cops.  The cop said to Bob that they had had much trouble with Pedro, and told Bob that they never have seen him calm down the way Bob got him calmed down.  

Pedro turned to Bob just before he entered the aid car, and said, ”Father, I will never forget you and the way you helped me.”  And Bob never forgot him, either.

Jane Ann said that Pastor Bob told that story as though it just happened. But it was 50 years later. 

Nightwatch turns 50 this year. We hope you will help us lay the foundation for another 50 years, through your generous support. www.seattlenightwatch.org