Church Staff

Our church is blessed with many dedicated volunteers and faithful parishioners. In addition, we are pleased to have these people on staff at Kennewick First.

Reverend Shirley DeLarme


New to Kennewick First UMC, Pastor Shirley is ready to delight in and discover the new things and ways God has for her in the Tri-Cities area. She aims to live into who God has created her to be in Christ while in a new time and place. Certain that Kennewick has much to offer, Pastor Shirley is ready to explore places, events, and relationships with the wonderful people she knows God has placed here for both sacred communion and service.

With a heart for God and for people young and not-so-young, we can expect Pastor Shirley to urge us to live our faith in the quiet moments, the big celebrations, the familiar spaces, and public places. She will encourage us to invite someone to church, to speak our faith as we go to work or do our errands, and to be always looking for the next thing we could be doing to be more like Jesus today than we were yesterday.

Whatever we do, Pastor Shirley will be clear that standing still or doing what we have always done may not be the best course for our church, or our faithfulness to God’s calling on our lives. While resting in the peace and comfort of our savior is terrific and a significant blessing, so is following God’s lead in making all things new. Together we will ask questions of ourselves and our ministries, see what old ways need to be celebrated and intensified, what new ways are needed, and then follow Jesus into the future.

Shirley was born and raised in Western New York State, graduated from Syracuse University, and later graduated from Methodist Theological School in Ohio. She specialized in Youth Ministry for 17 years and has always promoted Christian education and spiritual formation for all ages. While learning and growing in the faith often uses books and scriptures, Pastor Shirley encourages storytelling, playing, crafting, cooking, fellowshipping, going places and more to facilitate personal growth while experiencing the joy of God’s magnificent world.

Shirley and late husband Lane were married 34 years. Lane was a significant partner in her ministry. Their grandchildren (3 and counting!) often provide illustrations for sermons, as does the story of their youngest son, Ethan, who lives eternally in God’s heaven. Their older sons Brant and Asher, and their respective wives Kayla and Ashley, actively witness to their faith and values in the choices they make and the way they live their lives. The family is ready for the adventure of crossing the mountains to visit Oma and explore new territory and support their Mom / Oma with much love. We can expect to see them in church from time to time.

Claressa Elvik

Youth Director

Claressa grew up across the river in Hermiston, Oregon.  She attended a Baptist church from the age of 8 until graduation in Hermiston.  She then started attending Nampa First United Methodist Church while attending the College of Idaho and working.  She moved back to Hermiston in 2019 and met her husband, Brandon Elvik, in the fall.  She was a substitute youth leader for the KFUMC youth group in 2021 and became a full-time leader in 2022.  Her and Brandon have a one-year old little boy, Anakin, and are expecting a little girl in November 2023.

Cheryl Nixon

Office Manager

Cheryl grew up in Hillsboro, Oregon and moved to the Tri-Cities in 1999.  She has been a follower of Jesus since she was 10 years old. She attends Columbia Community Church and started working for KFUMC in March of 2016.  Cheryl did her “Walk with Christ” in August of 2018 and it changed her life!! She is married to Brian Millar and has one adult son Jeff, who is married to Alisha.  She has two beautiful grandchildren, Sienna and JR.  She enjoys spending time worshiping, walking, reading and traveling.

Cynthia Bement

Congregational Care Coordinator

Cynthia Bement has a long history with Kennewick First beginning with her Baptism as an infant in 1961 and is a Third generation KFUMC member. She originally served as a volunteer in Children’s ministry primarily as the Sunday school superintendent and teacher. Cynthia led her first mission trip as a volunteer in 1989 which inspired her to a staff position as Youth and Education Director from 1992-2014. Her passion for serving the Lord and others continues in the position of Congregational Care and Outreach Assistant. Cynthia and her husband Randy were married at Kennewick First in 1980 and have two grown children: Son Brian and daughter in law Amelia, daughter Jocelyn and son in law Mark with Granddaughter Camryn. Cynthia enjoys traveling, family and friends, sewing, cake decorating, home renovation projects and camping.

Sharon Varzandeh


I was born in Richland, Washington and grew up in Kennewick, Washington. My first introduction to Kennewick First United Methodist Church was when I attended Kindergarten at the Church. I began attending Sunday school at the same time and was baptized and confirmed at Kennewick First United Methodist Church.

After graduating from college I moved to Seattle for about 20 years. While there I attended Tibbetts Methodist Church in West Seattle, then University Methodist Temple in the University District. I married in Seattle and had my son Jeffery. In December 1990 Jeffery and I moved back to the family home in Kennewick and reestablished my membership in Kennewick First.

Margo Cox