“The poor in many places call on the Church to risk comfort and privilege for the sake of God’s peace and justice. Pat Hoffman’s book is not only clear and readable and historically important, it also points the way for the Church to learn from the poor and to gain spiritual life and strength from the movements of the dispossessed,” wrote Cesar Chavez, former President of the United Farm Workers of America, in the opening pages of Ministry of the Dispossessed: Learning from the Farm Worker Movement.
In 1985, Pat Hoffman was commissioned by the National Farm Worker Ministry to write a book on the church’s role in the farm worker movement. Ministry of the Dispossessed: Learning from the Farm Worker Movement was released in 1987.
“This book was Fred Eyster’s idea. Fred [was] the Co-Director of the National Farm Worker Ministry. His idea became a reality because he was willing to search for grant money to help cover the expenses of writing the book,” writes Pat in the acknowledgements where she thanks the many individuals who contributed time and stories to the book (many of the same individuals were interviewed for this project as well).
Not only a talented writer, but an active participant in the movement, Pat was well positioned to write about the church’s role in the movement as she worked for both the California Migrant Ministry and then the National Farm Worker Ministry. She even attended the organizing meeting in Atlanta that led to the creation of the NFWM.
Pat writes: “I was organizing church people to help the farm workers and I saw that other supporters felt as I did, more empowered, more alive, more hopeful because of their contact with the farm worker movement. What happened to supporters in the decade of 1965 to 1975, and how it happened, and what the lasting impact has been, is what this book is about.”
Ministry of the Dispossessed: Learning from the Farm Worker Movement can be downloaded here.