Methodist pastor enjoys community involvement

Randy Henderson leads with a sense of purpose and humor

What: Groundhog dinner

When: Saturday, Feb. 5, from 4 to 7 p.m.

Where: Washougal United Methodist Church, 4020 "M" St.

Cost: $8.50 for adults and $4 for children ages 12 and younger, at the door

Dinners include: Sausage patties, mashed potatoes with sausage gravy, green beans, cole slaw, biscuits, homemade applesauce, desserts and beverages.

Why: Proceeds will go to the Inter-Faith Treasure House and the church's general fund.

Contact: 835-3494

What: Groundhog dinner

When: Saturday, Feb. 5, from 4 to 7 p.m.

Where: Washougal United Methodist Church, 4020 “M” St.

Cost: $8.50 for adults and $4 for children ages 12 and younger, at the door

Dinners include: Sausage patties, mashed potatoes with sausage gravy, green beans, cole slaw, biscuits, homemade applesauce, desserts and beverages.

Why: Proceeds will go to the Inter-Faith Treasure House and the church’s general fund.

Contact: 835-3494

Rev. Randy Henderson has been considering his career options since the age of 10.

A church pastor asked him then if he had ever thought of being a minister.

“It planted a seed, and the idea grew on me,” said Henderson, 62.

He has been the pastor of Washougal United Methodist Church since last summer. Henderson has previously been a minister in Winlock, Pe Ell, Spokane, Yelm and Mill Creek.

In 1972, he earned a master’s degree in social work at the University of Washington. Four years later, he received a master of divinity degree from Iliff School of Theology, in Denver.

Henderson lived in Yelm for 18 years. During that time, he was a city councilman, Kiwanis Club president, and chairman and board member for Yelm Community Services, a United Way agency. Henderson was also involved in strategic planning for Yelm schools, and he was a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.

He has been a social worker in Vancouver and the area director of the Southwest Washington Project on Aging.

That sense of community involvement has carried over to the Washougal congregation which already has a rich tradition of giving back to neighbors. Last fall, there were collections of school supplies and backpacks for students at Hathaway Elementary School.

The church bazaar raised approximately $1,000 for the Inter-Faith Treasure House, in Washougal. In December, individuals who quilt together at the church donated dozens of quilts to foster children in Clark County.

There were also distributions of food, clothes, money, toys and other presents for the church’s Christmas family program.

“It was a very moving experience,” Henderson said.

In addition to singing, he enjoys playing the French horn. Henderson sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” from the musical and movie “Carousel,” during a recent funeral.

He has several hopes for this new year.

“My goals are to reach out to our community in terms of mission and service and inviting people to become disciples of Jesus,” Henderson said. “My personal focus and passion is visiting the neighborhood. I have engaged the congregation to do this with me.”

He said humor can be important.

“I’m a pretty informal guy,” Henderson said. “I like to have fun and bring in a sense of humor. I can be serious. I consider a sense of humor to be a spiritual gift. It brings God’s healing and call.”

His predecessor, Rev. Denise Whitesel-Mallek, is the pastor of Tumwater United Methodist Church.

Henderson’s wife Ann is a retired high school foreign language teacher. She taught French and Spanish in Yelm, Olympia and Spokane. They have two sons and two granddaughters.

Washougal United Methodist Church is located at 4020 “M” St. The weekly service is held Sundays, at 10:30 a.m., with an estimated attendance of 65. Children’s Sunday school is held during the same time, followed by a fellowship hour.

This article is also in the Jan. 25, 2010, Post-Record print edition.

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