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Stephen Hitchcock

2002-2003 Intern; 2004-2006 staff

October 20, 2021

I can see Nikolai strolling into the storefront, shouting: "You are NOBODY! I...I am somebody!"

I got connected in 2002. Joyce came to speak at Regent and we met and hit it off. I ended up doing my supervised ministry placement at Jacob's Well for the next couple years. I then came on staff from 2004-2006, providing pastoral care and doing street outreach. I also helped out with Community Kitchen.

I am currently the director and chaplain of a homeless shelter and housing resource center in downtown Charlottesville, VA. It's a wonderful community, called The Haven (

I have too many stories to share!  Here are a couple of them! 

I can see Nikolai strolling into the storefront, shouting: "You are NOBODY! I...I am somebody!" [Insert: Bulgarian accent]. Then, with a twinkle in his watery blue eyes, he'd pull a harmonica from the vodka-soaked pocket of his trench coat and play and sing, “Pretty woman walkin' down the street...pretty woman..."  

I remember Pierre Ledoux's memorial service. (So many memorial services.) Pierre was a quiet man who lived upstairs in the Jubilee. Long brown hair, a few grey streaks. I hardly heard him speak a word in the years I knew him. His death came suddenly. We had no idea he was ill. He had cancer so severe it broke his femur. He suffered silently. At the small memorial at Jacob's Well the brothers, who owned the corner market store, got up to speak. They told us how every week when the morning delivery came in, when it was still dark outside, Pierre would be sitting in his window, waiting. As the truck pulled up he made his way downstairs. He held the storefront door open as the supplies were carted in and dropped off, making sure the brothers were safe in the darkness. They said we called him "Ledoux" which in our language means "beautiful."

I often think about the JW community and my time in the DTES. That experience is both a touchstone and guidestar for my life and vocation. Radical hospitality--that's what I learned, that's how I want to live. 

Happy birthday, Jacob's Well! With deep love and affection from Virginia, USA.

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