Word of the Week

A little about me and my community...

Would you like to talk about what makes life beautiful, hard, but full of hope even still?

I’m a pastor, an author and inspiring underachiever who wants to help life feel more authentic. I don’t think spirituality has to be something so “other than” that you have to work so hard to find it. I don’t think that spiritual practice has to take all your time and energy to be meaningful. God is found, for me, in the relationships in my life I hold most dear, encounters with strangers that feel like gifts and moments of quiet when I just stop everything and be (in the magic hours between school drop offs and my day job as Senior Minister of First Christian Church, Athens, GA).

Growing up in a home full of neglect, I can’t remember a time when I didn't wanted to talk more about what makes me feel afraid, lonely and seen. Such a desire landed me over 20 years ago at Duke Divinity School after a short stint as an elementary school teacher. From the first day of seminary, I knew I was there to study to learn how to be a pastor so that I could be the conversation starter and guide offering words for the restlessness I knew others were experiencing too. Spoiler alert: I wanted to build the kind of faith community I never had growing up. For over 16 years, I’ve done this by leading congregations throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast United States bringing energy and hope for new life to folks who are wanting to do life together as their ordained minister— often the first woman to hold my post (glass ceilings are fun to shatter).

As I kept encountering others with invisible pain like me, my publishing journey began. I’ve written two books and contributed to several other writing projects.

Birthed: Finding Grace Through Infertility, a memoir about my husband's and my experience of infertility for over 8 years before adding children to our family through adoption (that was the first of its kind from female pastoral voice).

Brave Church: Tackling Topic Topics Together, a guide for communities to know how to start talking about subjects religious folks often skate past like racism, mental health, gender inclusivity and domestic violence.

My current writing folder in my computer are essays about family estrangement and chosen family weaving together the miracles of how God brings unlikely people together for the healing power of home. And I can’t wait till the time comes to share more!

Kevin, a seasoned nonprofit executive is my foundational person along with our two young children, Amelia and Andrew who keep my step count high by the time my head hits the pillow each night.  My kids love when I bake blueberry muffins and take them to the indoor playground at Chick-fil-A. I eat way too many chicken nuggets right now, but also want to pinch myself often that this messy life is actually mine!

So together, let’s keep talking about real things, shall we? I want to pull a seat up for you at the table.

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Official Bio

Elizabeth Hagan is a graduate of Duke Divinity School and has been a pastor for 15 years. She saw - and personally experienced - the isolation, loneliness, and shame that remains unspoken when Christians shy away from difficult conversations. She knew that the church could do better to foster a sense of acceptance and belonging. So she is the author of two books, Birthed: Finding Grace Through Infertility and Brave Church: Tackling Tough Topics Together to open the door to the presence of God in difficult life experiences.
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