Camas United Methodist Church pastor says goodbye, prepares to serve in Ashland

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Photo contributed by Kristina Gonzales. Known for her ministerial work as well as her environmental advocacy, Camas United Methodist Church Pastor Richenda Fairhurst is pictured here at Standing Rock in North Dakota, where she joined more than 500 clergy and religious leaders in November 2016, to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation in their opposition to the controversial Dakota Access crude oil pipeline.

A Camas pastor and environmental advocate will deliver her final local sermon during the 10 a.m. service, Sunday, June 11.

Richenda Fairhurst, pastor of Camas United Methodist Church (CUMC) since July 2013, will begin her new appointment as the senior pastor of Ashland First United Methodist Church, in Ashland, Oregon, effective July 1.

“I am glad for my new adventure, but sad to leave Camas,” Fairhurst said. “It has been wonderful to serve here. I have been so blessed to be in ministry and serving in community with some of the best, most courageous, most dedicated people I know.”

While many locals know Fairhurst for her ministerial duties and work around the community, others may also remember her as a dedicated steward of Mother Earth.

In November 2016, Fairhurst joined more than 500 clergy and religious leaders in North Dakota to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation in their quest to halt construction of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline that will transport crude oil underneath the tribe’s primary source of drinking water — the Missouri River.

Fairhurst traveled to North Dakota as a representative of the Pacific Northwest Conference of The United Methodist Church Board of Church and Society.

Rev. Jessie Smith, vicar of St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, in Washougal, also participated in the gathering of clergy at Standing Rock.

Fairhurst also has been a vocal opponent of the plan to run crude oil trains throught the Camas-Washougal community and, in January 2016, emceed a rally against the proposed Vancouver Energy oil terminal, at a public hearing in front of the Washington State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council.

Fairhurst previously served as the pastor of Grays River Methodist Church, in Grays River, Washington, from 2009 to 2011.

She and her husband Jon have lived in Fern Prairie since 1995.

Fairhurst, an author of books about the history of Washougal and Fishers Landing, was selected along with Pat Jollota, as a grand marshal for the 2008 Camas Days parade.

Shelton pastor will relocate to Camas

Don Shipley, the pastor of Shelton United Methodist Church in Shelton, Washington, for three years, will succeed Fairhurst at CUMC, July 1.

Prior to moving to Shelton, Shipley served churches in Rockford, Colfax, Olympia and Orting, Washington.

Shipley studied English and geography and graduated with honors from the University of Oregon in 1992. He attended United Theological Seminary, in Dayton, Ohio, as a Presidential Scholar and graduated with a Master’s of Divinity degree in 1995.

Shipley was ordained a Deacon in the United Methodist Church in 1994, and he was ordained an Elder in 1997.

Camas United Methodist Church is located at 706 N.E. 14th Ave. For more information, call 360-834-2976, email or visit