OKANOGAN – Longtime Presbyterian pastor Chris Warren has retired, just in time for the start of fishing season.
Okanogan County outdoor activities, including hunting and fishing, helped draw him to the area in 1995.
“I’m retired,” the Okanogan Evangelical Presbyterian Church pastor said last week. “I did a wedding last week and this week I have a funeral, and that is the last of my official obligations.”
Warren’s 38-year career as a minor began in 1980 at Lakewood Presbyterian Church. He worked there six years as associate pastor and as a chaplain to the McNeil Island Federal Prison.
He and his wife, Kathy, moved to Portland, Ore., where he worked at Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church with middle and high school and college-age youngsters.
“I did many summer camps, retreats and outdoor adventures,” he said. “As associate pastor, I was also responsible for funerals and weddings. The church had about 600 members, so this kept me quite busy 24/7.”
While in Portland, his wife, who grew up with horses, was finally able to get her own Egyptian Arabians that she and the couple’s two daughters took to many equestrian events, he said.
“We lived on the east side of Portland and housing was expanding all around us,” he said. “A housing development went in next to the stable and people were complaining that the horses were smelling like horses. We felt it was time to move and I saw they were looking for a pastor at the Okanogan Presbyterian Church.
“My eyes got big - what a great area,” he said. “I love to hunt and fish, and there would lots of room for the horses. Bamm! A dream come true, and we moved here in 1995 and hope to stay many more years.”
Warren has been involved with the Okanogan Fire Department, Okanogan school music program, Christians in Action, BrassWorks and the Okanogan Valley Orchestra. He is a former Okanogan Kiwanis Club member.
The new pastor is Ehud Garcia with his wife, Neiva.
The Garcias were born in Brazil, but have spent most of their lives in the United States, Warren said.
According to information from the church, Ehud Garcia’s family is considered as one of the pioneer Presbyterian families in northwestern Brazil. Neiva Garcia was the first woman in leadership with Youth for Christ in South America.
He attended Northwestern Presbyterian Seminary in Brazil and was ordained in 1983. They came to the United States in 1984 and are dual citizens of Brazil and the United States. He earned a master’s in theology in 1987 and a doctorate in missions in 2001.
He has served short-term missions in Guinea-Bissau, India, Japan, Kenya, Mozambique and Uganda, and was interim pastor at two churches in Ephrata and a church in Siberia, then was missions pastor at River City Church in Lewiston, Idaho, and academic dean at Centro Evangelico de Missoes in Vicosa, Brazil.
Ehud Garcia comes to Okanogan after serving as interim pastor at Caldwell Presbyterian Church in Caldwell, Idaho, starting in September 2017.