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Meet Capitol Hill Presbyterian’s New Pastor

The Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church (CHPC, 201 Fourth St. SE) welcomes Rev. Rachel Landers Vaagenes (pronounced: VA-Guiness) as the new Pastor. She will preach her first sermon on August 1.

The CHPC congregation voted to call Vaagenes as Pastor June 13, and Vaagenes said she is thrilled at the prospect of coming to CHPC as the Solo Pastor.

She steps into the shoes filled by Reverend Mark Greiner, who took on the role of Short-term Supply Pastor in July 2020, after the departure of Pastor Erin Keys, who took a position in Greenwich, Connecticut.

New CHPC Pastor Vaagenes is familiar with the District. Shehas been the Associate for Discipleship and Education for 10 years at the Georgetown Presbyterian Church here in the city. “She brings experience in excellent preaching; creative mission and community engagement; and transformative education for both children and adults,” said a church representative.

The daughter of a math teacher and a theologian-turned-entrepreneur, Rachel was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She attended college at the University of Southern California (USC), double-majoring in mathematics and philosophy. On top of that, she was an avid improv comedian.

Vaagenes said she ended up in seminary because she wanted to learn more about how the church could share God’s unconditional love in the world, especially because she is bisexual and had listened to so many stories from friends about the church being a place of judgment and exclusion on the basis of their sexuality. In seminary at Princeton, she learned to love the Bible and to understand how infuriatingly and beautifully complex the Body of Christ can be.

Vaagenes said that the last 10 years as a pastor have been the best of her life, as she has been able to make a positive impact with her congregation and with the community. Now, she feels called by God to step into this new chapter with Capitol Hill Pres.

She lives in Glover Park with her archivist husband Adrian, her two kids Maewynn and Evangeline, and their dog Ladybird. Her hobbies include offering “Free Prayer” outside the church on sunny days, looking for ways that the church can serve God in a post-Christian age and making tacos for her friends.

There has been in-person worship at CHPC starting 11 a.m. Sundays as of July 18. Learn more about CHPC, programming, ministries, worship and the Pastoral search by visiting www.capitolhillpreschurch.org

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