Hagar's Community Church
Hagar's Community Church is a ministry of the Olympia Presbytery serving those incarcerated in the Washington Correction Center for Women
how are we structured?
Hagar's Community Church is a ministry of the Olympia Presbytery, an organization with member churches all over the Southwest Washington region. The ministry of Hagar's is lovingly embraced by this larger community of churches, because it helps both those inside and outside of an incarceration setting remember that we are all connected through Christ. The leadership of Hagar's takes place through a Guide Team of volunteers who care deeply about loving their incarcerated neighbors, and this Guide Team is accountable to the Olympia Presbytery.
Hagar’s Story is found in Genesis 16 and 21. She is a woman to whom history has been unkind - much like the women who are incarcerated at the WCCW. Hagar is often seen as “the other woman”, a woman who was mean to Sarah, a foreigner, slave, the unknown. Hagar is not someone lifted up as a hero of our faith. When you read her story, however, it becomes apparent that, though history has been unkind, God is not. Rather, God finds Hagar in the wilderness and blesses her with the same blessing that God gives Abraham- that she will be the mother of a nation. God provides for her, and cares for her. Hagar is the first person in scripture to name God- “She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me” (Genesis 16:13). There are many points of connection of Hagar’s story to the women at the WCCW. When choosing this name the women stated that they find it healing to know God is the One who sees them- and that they are indeed blessed.
The goal is to create fellowship and understanding among all who are part of our worshiping community. To cultivate trust and understanding in the midst of an environment where that is not often found. This is not just a worship service being offered where the women come to sit and hear a sermon and return back to their living unit. We are making a deep investment in the long-term well-being of the community. Our goal is to create true Christian fellowship that will nurture and sustain these women in the most trying of circumstances.
We are striving to create our own distinctive worshiping community that allows the women of the WCCW to belong and empowers them to take ownership of their own spiritual lives. Incarceration often separates the Body of Christ, and a goal of this ministry is to reclaim our spiritual connectedness by being physically present to one another. This is what motivates us to hold space each week for the women of the WCCW to commune with and worship God.