Hello Hagar's Community!
I have some important updates and developments to share about the ministry of Hagar's Community Church. First, an introduction: my name is Haley Ballast and I am the new Bridge Pastor for HCC. Our previous Interim Pastor, Rev. Riley Pickett, has transitioned to pursue new vocational opportunities (though she remains a huge supporter and encourager of Hagar's!). We are so grateful for all of Pastor Riley's energy, passion, and fruitful labor during her time as pastor of Hagar's, and we wish her well in her new endeavors. As the Bridge Pastor, I (Haley) will bridge the pastoral staffing gap between the departure of Pastor Riley and the arrival of a new installed pastor for HCC.
I come to HCC with a deep love for people experiencing incarceration. I believe that Jesus is present inside the walls of the Washington Corrections Center for Women, and I believe that standing with those being held there is part of how Jesus calls the church to live out the gospel. After connecting with Pastor Riley last year through a mutual friend, I was thrilled to join the Hagar's Guide Team at the beginning of 2022. When Pastor Riley announced her plans to transition away from HCC, I was hired to provide pastoral leadership until a new installed pastor is hired.
In addition to my role at HCC, I am serving in leadership at John Knox Presbyterian Church in the Seattle Presbytery, where I am also a Candidate for Ordination. Last year, I completed my Master of Divinity degree at Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry, where my studies focused on justice, community transformation, and embodied theology. I have experience in community organizing, pastoral care, preaching, and worship leadership. Outside of work, you can find me spending time with my big, fun, chaotic family, practicing yoga, and exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest trails, beaches, and parks.
Now that you know a bit more about me, I want to share some updates on the ministry of Hagar's. Shortly after I joined the Guide Team, the WCCW suspended all religious programming inside the prison during the Omicron wave of Covid-19, which swept through the population. We expected the programming to resume when the Covid cases inside the prison dropped, but instead the suspension remained in place for weeks, and then months. In the late Spring, we learned that a review of all religious programming at WCCW was underway, and that access to the prison would not be granted prior to the completion of the review. We have cooperated fully at every stage, and we hope that the review wraps up very soon and results in fully restored access.
In the meantime, we are continuing to pray, dream, and plan for the future together. We believe that God has beautiful things in store for this beloved community. Please join us in praying, particularly for the folks inside who have not been able to gather in worship together for many months now. Pray for patience, perseverance, and provision. I would also love your prayers as I serve during this season of transition and change. I am hopeful and encouraged that God is on the move! Please feel free to reach out by email with any questions or to get connected to this ministry. I look forward to hearing from you!