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Pastoral & Program Staff

  • Fitz Neal
    Senior Pastor

    Pastor Fitz is from Colorado originally, and that's probably part of why he loves his adopted home of Southwest Washington so much.  Vancouver and Clark County are similar in many ways to his home town of Durango.  Outdoor activities abound and there are various exciting opportunities for significant ministry for Columbia Church in the Pacific Northwest.

     

    Fitz is married to Laurel, and they both enjoy fly-fishing, skiing, cooking, the arts, movies, reading, and friends.  He graduated from Baylor University and received his Master of  Divinity from Princeton Seminary.  Fitz received his Doctor of Ministry degree from Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan.  He has served churches in Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Indiana and now, here, in Washington.

     

    Since 2007, Fitz has been serving as Columbia Presbyterian's Pastor and Head of Staff.  His emphasis is on preaching the Bible, teaching, and working with the staff and leadership of the church.  His purpose statement for his life and ministry is: "Helping Columbia create an authentic community of genuine disciple-making."  Fitz believes that disciple-making is central to every other ministry of the church, since it forms and shapes believers for ministry in day-to-day life.  It is something that involves the whole church for the whole of life.

     

    He is passionate about reaching out to those who have no faith or who have no spiritual place to call home. "I believe we should be inwardly strong as a church -- caring for each other, loving deeply and well, and nurturing each other in faith. But we should also be outwardly focused -- aware of the needs in our community, responsive to those who have no faith, and welcoming to all."

     

    Pastor Fitz preaches and leads in worship most Sundays along with teaching courses throughout the year.

  • Matt Overton
    Associate Pastor of Youth & Family Ministries

    Pastor Matt grew up in Southern California and did his undergrad in History at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and then went to seminary at Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey.

     

    It was at college that he met his wife Anne and began sensing God’s call to youth ministry.  He started working with teenagers at age 21 and still loves working with them.  Once Matt finished seminary he received a call to Northern California and served there for 4 years before coming to Washington.  He came to Columbia because he felt a calling to serve at a church that was not only trying to reach teens for Jesus Christ, but also doing its best to equip and teach parents how to raise their kids as followers of the Lord. 

     

    Matt has 2 children who are amazing gifts from God.  In whatever spare time he has to recover from the last youth event Matt likes to run and hike in the awesome Creation that the Northwest provides!

  • Scott Peterson
    Interim Associate Pastor - Adult Ministries

    Scott is a native of the Northwest. His father was a Methodist pastor and their family moved around Oregon and Washington before he graduated from High School in Centralia, Washington in 1976. Scott heard a call to ministry while at Seattle Pacific University, where he graduated in 1981. Scott served in the mission field in Australia and New Zealand before attending Gordon Conwell Seminary near Boston, Massachusetts.

     

    Scott met his wife, Mary, in 1985 while doing a church internship in Cleveland, Ohio. They married and moved to Pasadena, California where Scott graduated from Fuller Seminary in 1987. Scott took his first ordained position as Associate Pastor in Escondido, California.  Later, Scott was the pastor at 1st Presbyterian Church in Brawley, California. 

     

    In 1999 Scott took the position of Head of Staff Pastor in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.  Scott earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from McCormick Seminary.   In 2004 Scott’s family moved to Newberg, Oregon where Scott was an adjunct professor at George Fox Seminary. From 2005 until 2016 Scott was pastor at Cooper Mountain Presbyterian in Aloha, Oregon. From 2016 until 2019, Scott was the Stated Supply Pastor at Mt. Scott Park Presbyterian in S.E. Portland.

     

    Scott and Mary enjoy bicycling, evening walks, hanging with family and friends, following the Blazers, Seahawks, Ducks, and Beavers, and being proud parents of Elizabeth and Michael, and daughter-in-law Kylee.

  • Jeff Haagenson
    Worship & Music Minister

    Jeff Haagenson brings a diverse musical background to his work at Columbia. He has studied choral music, opera, voice, piano, and guitar. He incorporates all of this into classical, traditional, popular, contemporary and jazz styles of worship music.  Jeff enjoys working with the contemporary worship band and leading the traditional choir.  He considers it a privilege to work behind the scenes to prepare Sunday morning worship services that enhance and support the messages of the day.  He also enjoys preparing the annual Christmas Concerts and special worship services. Jeff is a composer and arranger of both classical and contemporary music and has served as a music director at the high school and college levels. Jeff considers it a privilege to work with High School students at the church. He incorporates them into the worship team as he teaches and mentors them to be a new generation of worship musicians.

    In his spare time, Jeff loves to practice and play guitar as well as biking, skiing and exercising.  Jeff’s wife Anna is also a musician and they frequently perform together.  Jeff and Anna have three boys - James, Matthew, and Adam.

    Jeff has a Bachelor’s degree in music from Concordia College and a  Master’s Degree in music from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

     

  • Kristin Singleton
    Director of Children's Ministry

    Kristin grew up in Vancouver, and was an active member of Columbia Presbyterian with her family in Junior High and High School.  After completing a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education at the University of Portland, Kristin married her high school sweetheart, Ty Singleton, and that's when the adventure began.  Kristin and Ty moved all over the country in their first 15 years of marriage with stops in California, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico and New York before settling back in the Pacific Northwest.  They enjoy spending time outdoors paddle boarding, hiking and biking with their sons, Riley and Zach.  Kristin is passionate about sharing Christ with kids in a way that is age appropriate and personal.

  • Jim McLaughlin
    Associate Youth Leader

    Jim was born and raised in the rural town of Titusville, PA, where the majority of his family still resides. Being the oldest child and grandchild in his large clan of a family, he spent a lot of time wandering around in the woods around his home with his dogs.  It was through this love of creation that he eventually had an encounter with God as a young teen, and was drawn into youth work through a small outdoor adventure camp near his home.  Almost 22 years later his love of the natural world, youth, and his Creator have remained constant, and he finds that all of them work together to keep him playful and reflective.

  • John Van Dinter
    Business Administrator

    John grew up in the Pacific Northwest and has been an active member of Columbia Presbyterian, serving with children, youth, young adults and small group ministries.  He has served as a Trustee and as moderator of the Personnel Ministry team.  Prior to joining the church staff in 2019, he held a variety of positions with U.S. Bank.  John has a degree in Business Administration from Oregon State University.  John and his wife Cindy have two adult children, Hannah and Andrew.

  • Ted Buck
    Parish Associate - Pastoral Care and Visitation

    Ted returned to the Columbia Presbyterian community in the summer of 2019. He previously served Columbia as a youth director and later as an associate pastor from 1979-1986. Ted was ordained in 1983 during his time at Columbia Presbyterian Church.

     

    Ted is married to Katie (1979) and they have four grown children: Annie (Tim), Jessie (Bobby), Allison, and Matthew.  They have two grandchildren, Porter and Jace, and a cat named Eva. Ted and Katie enjoy family gatherings and trips to Lake Tahoe and Disneyland. Ted also enjoys watching sporting events, playing golf, reading, and watching a good movie.

     

    Ted has been committed to “bi-vocational ministry” to smaller congregations since leaving Columbia in 1986. He has served in the pastorate, and as an educator and coach, in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. In education, he has been a teacher, athletic director, and associate principal, in addition to coaching various sports.

     

    Ted’s focus at Columbia Presbyterian is on pastoral care with a special emphasis on visitation to the elderly, shut-ins, and those in hospitals and hospice centers. Ted also works with the Board of Deacons in providing compassion and hospitality services in the church.

 

Administrative Staff

  • Terry Hurley
    Administrative Assistant

    Terry Hurley serves as the Administrative Assistant to Pastor Fitz Neal and Pastor Scott Peterson. She moved from the Midwest to Vancouver in 1994 and calls the Pacific Northwest her home.  Terry came to Columbia in August, 2014, bringing many years of prior experience serving in ministry support.  She is blessed with two grown children and a wonderful church family.

  • Viva Dennis
    Communications Specialist

    Viva Dennis is the Communications Specialist/Administrative Assistant.  Viva has been involved with Columbia since 1992. She has been in her current position since 2007.  Viva and her husband Dallas have been married since 1982 and they are the parents of two wonderful young men and have three grandchildren.

  • Kristin Newton
    Administrative Assistant to Youth & Family

    Kristin grew up in the Pacific Northwest with family ties to Vancouver and Columbia Presbyterian Church. She brings many years of administrative experience and is looking forward to being a part of the administrative team! She and her husband have been married since 2009 and have a rescue fur kid named Major.

  • Marilyn Roberts
    Church Bookkeeper

    Marilyn Roberts is the church bookkeeper. She joined the church as a member in 1994. Prior to joining the church staff in 2002 she was a manager in the accounting firm of Arthur Andersen & Co. in Dallas, Texas. She holds a BS degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and a MBA from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. She is married and the mother of two children.

  • Mario Nieves
    Facilities Supervisor

    Mario Nieves is the church Facility Supervisor, joining the staff in February 2015. Mario and his family joined the church in 2010. Prior to joining the staff at CPC, he was a Maintenance Technician and Assistant Manager for an apartment complex in Vancouver and Portland.  Mario and his wife, Eva, parent two boys.

  • Katie Mrochko
    Lead Intern

    Katie was born and raised in Vancouver and was an active member of Columbia as a youth and young adult. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Theology from Whitworth University, and served in full-time youth ministry for over a decade at Columbia, Central Kitsap, and First Presbyterian of Colorado Springs. After almost a decade of living in Colorado, Katie and her husband, Ron, stepped out in faith to return to the Pacific Northwest for the scenery and to be near Katie’s extended family. Along with ministering to youth, Katie enjoys sewing hand bags and other accessories, and is also a health coach. In her spare time, she loves participating in Bible Study Fellowship and spoiling her pets.

  • Anna Haagenson
    Director of K2 Live & Children's Music

    Anna has been in children’s ministry for 16 years.  She has been director of K2 Live, the mid-week program for 3rd – 5th graders, for 13 years and as children’s choir director for 16 years.
     
    About Anna:

    • University of Colorado, Boulder – BMus in vocal performance
    • University of Minnesota, Twin Cities – MMus in vocal performance
    • Married with 3 sons ages 30, 26, and 17.

     
    Anna is passionate about kids and introducing them to Christ in a way that is real and personal.  She strives to influence kids to be lifelong disciples and not merely little moralists.  
    Anna also believes that parents are the primary influence in a child’s faith development and therefore endeavors to include parents in the ministry in a variety of ways to inspire and equip them to take hold of that role.
    In raising her three boys, including one son with Down syndrome, Anna has learned about child development and age-appropriate ways of conveying and living a Christian faith that she brings to her ministry at Columbia.

     

  • Frank Brown
    Media Specialist

    Frank joined the church staff in 2018 as the Media Ministry Specialist. His experience includes almost 30 years in broadcasting, as well as graphic design for the Memorial Coliseum and Rose Garden arenas. He has also worked as a snowboard instructor and youth counselor. Frank has volunteered in media ministry at Columbia for more than 10 years, and is grateful to now shepherd this aspect of worship. His wife Lori and daughter Erin are both active in the church.

  • Bonnie Laughlin
    Childcare Coordinator

    Bio coming soon!

  • Garnet Hayes
    Organist

    Garnet is the Organist and Choral Accompanist at CPC.  She works with Jeff Haagenson and other staff members to prepare both organ and piano music for worship services, and she accompanies the Sanctuary Choir on a regular basis.  She also works full-time as the choral director at Wy'east Middle School.  Garnet holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Westminster Choir College of Rider University where she was a double major in Sacred Music and Music Education