Preacher on the Plaza: Elizabeth Haugen

This week’s local writer is Elizabeth Haugen, pastor of Washington Plaza Baptist Church, in Reston, VA. She writes a regular blog called “Preacher on the Plaza” ( and authored the writing advice post a couple of weeks ago. I’m impressed with her warm tone, sensible thinking and elegant style. In the rest of this post, taken from her blog site, she talks about her background, her ministry, and the importance of writing in that ministry.

I’m a 30 something female originally out of a tradition that does not ordain women but yet I am a pastor because I found another family of Baptists to call home. I am a proud 2002 graduate of Samford University in Birmingham, AL and a 2006  graduate of Duke Divinity School where I learned to appreciate good basketball among many other important truths. I moved to the Washington DC area full-time after completing seminary and have been in love with the city ever since. I can’t think of a more diverse, challenging and fun place that I’d ever want to live.

My life goal is to learn how to be a human being.  I want to know my Creator, to give and receive love, to respect others as much as I do myself, to use the resources of time, talent and finances I have for the good of the world.

Vocationally, as I see it now, my calling is lived out as a pastor in the American Baptist/ Alliance of Baptist tradition, a writer, as wife to Kevin, as a friend of many of the people that I admire the most, and as a member of the Evans/Hagan family tree.

Over the past several years, I’ve come to believe that the Christian path is not the only way to God, but confidently claim Jesus. In my preaching, teaching and writing, I seek to lead the congregation I serve to see the beauty in the traditions in what others who have come before us have treasured and taught us.

I’m an advocate of spaces in the church for open non-judgmental conversation on social topics that matter so deeply where our society finds itself today. I’m so proud to be the pastor of a church that allows my voice to be as authentic as theirs already is!
I believe writing and the pastoral vocation go hand in hand. Blogging is just a natural part of my ongoing conversation with the church. I see this blog as a space apart from the obligations and responsibilities I have as pastor of a particular church to be a catalyst of many of the questions, frustrations, and possibilities I see ahead for communities of faith like the one I’m in, for the pastors like myself who will lead (or not lead them) in the future, and resources available for  faith seekers but don’t want to lose their spirituality through connection with religion. I’m always interested in growing in the art of pastoring.

Preacher on the Plaza won’t be exclusively about my congregation, although stories of hope from this community will be featured.  And, it won’t be full of merely personal rants either. For I know that my church and my life experiences are merely a grain of sand in the larger story.

I hope to connect readers to others who are asking similar questions and who are looking for honest answers (even if the truth hurts a little).

I’m excited about the journey,

Pastor Elizabeth

Note: that any comments I share on this blog are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my entire congregation, denomination or all people of faith.

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