Then God opened [Hagar's] eyes and she saw a well of water. - Genesis 21:19
Here at Hagar’s Community Church we are almost 4 months into the new reentry ministry - so I wanted to check in with you all and give some updates! I’ve been able to connect with 14 folks in the reentry process and walk alongside many of them in both their joys and sorrows as they navigate life on the outside in a global pandemic, a divisive and contentious election season, a national reckoning around racism, and more - on top of the usual challenges people face upon getting out. Finding a job, housing, community and belonging. Reunifying with their families. Staying sober. Making sure their mental health is covered, or even just having adequate food, clothing, and personal care items. These are just some of the challenges people may run into in the reentry process. People are on a spectrum getting out and have different circumstances, but these are common issues. It’s a lot, and all of it is complicated by the pandemic.
One big update is that in the past month I’ve begun giving and scheduling reentry trainings for churches in Washington state in which I talk in more detail about these kinds of challenges. The training also covers how churches can be welcoming communities to folks in reentry who need support, and how churches can be more directly involved in HCC’s reentry ministry. This involves information about a new pilot program called The Wellspring - churches who want to participate in this new program would be matched with a person in the reentry process and walk alongside that person for a certain amount of time; providing spiritual community, spiritual care and support, and providing or directing to social services. The image of the wellspring comes from Genesis 21; quoted at the top of this post. This is the vision: Wellspring Churches across the state of Washington, sustaining life in all directions, all rooted in God - our Great Wellspring.
The training is for any church who wants to learn more and are interested in ministering to people reentering communities from incarceration, and people who are in various stages of reentry. Please contact me, Pastor Riley, over email or phone if you or your community are interested in learning more about the reentry training or how you or your community can be involved for the first time or in new ways. Throughout these four months I’ve been blown away by the support and enthusiasm around Hagar’s Community Church and the reentry ministry. We wouldn’t exist without your support. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Pastor Riley’s contact info: