On Tuesday, Feb 5, Chris Hoke and Ramon Luna will be coming to Northwestern’s campus to open the eyes of students and faculty to see topics like incarceration in a different light.
Hoke, a gang pastor, prisoner reentry organizer and writer, is currently promoting his book, “Wanted: A Spiritual Pursuit Through Jail, Among Outlaws, and Across Borders.” This book details his experiences getting to know people in jail and helping them figure out life afterwards.
Hoke’s first speaking engagement will be at 11:05 a.m. in Christ Chapel. Speaking with Ramon Luna, the pair has titled Tuesday’s chapel sermon “Relationship with the Underground Leads to Repentance.” Later that day, at 7p.m., Hoke will perform a Deep Song Reading in Ramaker Center’s Fireside Room. He will be reading from his new book. Hoke’s Wednesday NED talk, at 10:05 a.m. in the Vogel Community Room, is titled “Going to Hell-What Jesus Made the Church For,” and it will tackle difficult topics relating to ministering to people in jail and how to handle those interactions.
Dean of Christian Formation Mark DeYounge says he is looking forward to Hoke and Luna coming for a variety of reasons.
“I am excited for Chris and Ramon to join us to challenge our campus to be aware of the injustice tied to our country’s mass-incarceration rates, to help our campus begin to see all that God is doing in the lives of some of our prisons through personal testimony and narrative, to humanize this ‘issue’ that often tends to dehumanize and caricature and to inspire us to get involved in prison ministry as well as prison re-entry ministry as connected to the call of Christ on our lives as the church,” DeYounge said.
Junior Liz Ellis is also excited for the pair to come, and according to DeYounge, she was instrumental in getting Hoke and Luna to campus.
“I’m very excited to have Hoke here soon,” Ellis said. “I think it is important to bring speakers here who have a variety of backgrounds, and I think that it is valuable for the students here to hear stories of things that we ourselves may not have experienced.”
Ellis went to Texas on a Spring Service Partnership last year which involved jail ministry. Because of this, the topic of jail ministry is close to her heart.
“I have seen firsthand not only the pain but also the hope that Christ brings to those who are incarcerated,” Ellis said.
Hoke is passionate about this topic as well. Along with writing about the topic extensively in his book, he has also written about it for many different journals and magazines. More information can be found on Hoke’s writings and his ministry at http://chris-hoke.com/.