The Executive Board of NWC Presbytery invites you and other congregants to read WANTED: A Spiritual Pursuit Through Jail, Among Outlaws, and Across Borders (2015) by Chris Hoke, Tierra Nueva staff person and gang chaplain since 2006 from Burlington, WA.
Chris (second from the right with his wife Rachel) and his friend, Jose “Neaners” Garcia (above left with daughter, Adelita), will join us for the May Leadership Summit in Kennewick to facilitate a conversation about WANTED.
[From Chris] Friends and Pastors in the NWC Presbytery,
When I first entered the Skagit County Jail eleven years ago, looking for Jesus, it changed my life. I invite you into that jail with me this Spring. You can enter this portal, alongside me, to the underside of our state through the stories in my book, WANTED: A Spiritual Pursuit Through Jail, Among Outlaws, and Across Borders (HarperOne, 2015).
You’ll accompany migrant farmworkers through fields and airports; walk inmates’ daughters into cold, solitary-confinement wings of maximum-security prisons and watch them sing to their daddy’s through the glass. You’ll fly fish with tattooed gang members in the North Cascade rivers and maybe laugh and even fall in love with some of the characters most unwanted by society, discovering how wanted they are by our heavenly Father. You’ll witness jail visiting room tables and lunch tables become the table of the Lord; and even glimpse contraband, fireball candy in prison cells become new sacraments of the Holy Spirit for those still far outside the camp of conventional church walls.
You’ll meet Neaners--former leader of a Mexican gang who first dubbed me "pastor" of his gang, who found himself wanted by God while in "the hole"—solitary-confinement. He is now my co-worker in gang outreach at Tierra Nueva Ministries in the Skagit Valley, and a tattooed member of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Sedro-Woolley.
There’s a growing awareness today of the swelling "underground" of the American prison system, and many churches are wondering what they can do about it. By reading WANTED with your church, in small groups, my hope is that you can fall in love with the lively, vocal, and unforgettable young men I’ve met in jail who are shipped off to several of Washington State’s prisons. God has used these characters you’ll meet to break my heart and ignite engagement with the Scriptures, with my local streets, and with other local churches around me. Maybe something similar will happen with you as you read together with us.
We hope you can join us at the presbytery-wide gathering this May, where Neaners and I will be facilitating a conversation about WANTED and ways local congregations can join God’s surprising work of embracing those the world wants to throw away.
WANTED is available on Amazon.com or wherever you order books.
Share this link with your family and friends to encourage them to read Chris' story.