Pastor Reverend David Lord

Pastor Reverend David Lord - Bethlehem United Methodist Church
Pastor Reverend David Lord
has been in the ministry for 30+ years, serving churches in the districts of Farmville, Charlottesville, Richmond, Harrisonburg and Staunton, VA. He and his wife, Cheryl, both grew up in Tifton, Georgia. Mrs. Lord is a speech/language pathologist. They have one son, Mitch, who lives in Montana with his wife Andriane and son Theo.
"I consider some of my gifts to be preaching, mission work, teaching and general pastoral ministry. I feel privileged to be at Bethlehem during an exciting time in the church’s history."

Reverend Susan Hughes

Susan Hughes

Reverend Susan Hughes
serves as the Associate Minister here at Bethlehem.  Following a career in engineering and 20 years as a stay home mom, she felt called to ministry as a connector between the church and the community, specifically the poor.  She has been in ministry for 6 years, most recently serving as a Minister of Outreach in Franklin County.  Susan grew up in Baltimore, Maryland but has been at home in the Smith Mountain Lake area since 2000.  She is also very proud of her four grown children.


Maegan Mitchell

Maegan Mitchell
earned her B.A. in Religion with an emphasis in Christian Ministries at Ferrum College and earned her Certificate in Youth Ministry and Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. Maegan has served children, youth, families, and young adults in ministry for the last 14 years. She lives in Franklin County with her husband, Brandon, and daughter Madilynne


Robert Downey

Robert-Downey- Music Director Bethlehem United Methodist Church


Music Director and Organist Robert Downey studied music at Roanoke College where he pursued a Fine Arts major in music. At the age of 18, he directed his first Easter cantata. From choir director at West End Presbyterian Church in Roanoke, he moved to Fort Lewis Baptist Church and then to Bethlehem, where he has been organist since 1999 and choir director since 2003.


Robin Zimmerman

Pianist Robin Zimmerman - Bethlehem United Methodist Church


Pianist Robin Zimmerman graduated with a BA in Music Education from Milligan College in Tennessee with a major in voice and minors in piano and K-12 education. Robin is a resident of Bedford.

Karen Carter

Karen Carter


Administrative Assistant Karen Carter joins us with over 25 years of administrative and financial experience in both for profit and nonprofit companies.  She has lived her adult life all over the state of Virginia and now lives at the Lake with her husband Allen and has three grown children in various parts of the country.

Amber Scott

Amber Scott- Nursery Care Leader - Bethlehem United Methodist Church


Nursery Care Leader Amber Scott provides care for newborns and children up to age 2 on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings so their parents can attend church and/or classes without interruption. Amber grew up in Meadville, PA close to Lake Erie.  She earned her AS in Business at the local community college.

Kara Sensenig

Director for Bethlehem Preschool, Kara Sensenig earned her B.S. and M.Ed. degrees from James Madison University.  In addition to classroom experience, she was also Director of Stepping Stones Preschool at MSUMC for over ten years.  She has worked with Smart Beginnings and Virginia Quality, which is committed to Quality in Early Learning and is also a Certified Pre-K CLASS observer.  Mrs. S loves providing a foundation for children’s education, while creating a fun, hands-on learning environment and instilling a love for learning new things each day.

Billie Jean Elmer

Pre-K Lead Teacher Billie Jean Elmer
has a B.S. and M.Ed. in Education from VA Tech and Virginia State University, respectively.  Along with classroom teaching experience, she has over 16 years of experience as a 4-H Youth Development Agent.  Mrs. Elmer has extensive experience in traditional and non-formal education, with a strong background in curriculum and instruction. She is a member of Bethlehem United Methodist Church and sings and plays in the vocal and bell choirs, as well as serving in various church leadership positions. Mrs. Elmer has taught Pre-K at Bethlehem UM Preschool for over 4 years and loves to find many different ways of educating children on all of God’s creations in our outdoor environment.

Terra Vaughan

Pre-K Class Assistant, Terra Vaughan went to school to earn a B.S. in Psychology with a special interest in Child Psychology. During college, she volunteered as an aide at Moneta Elementary School, working in kindergarten classes. She spent three years at Bethlehem United Methodist Preschool, teaching both he Thrilling Three’s and Terrific Two’s classes. She substituted in all classes last year and returns to us this year as Assistant Teacher in the Pre-K class. She enjoys spending one on one time to see the child’s personality shine and focus on areas they may be struggling to develop.

Karen Smith

Thrilling Three’s Lead Teacher Karen Smith has a B.S. in Education from Monmouth University and a Masters degree in Education from William Patterson College. She is certified in Nursery School and Elementary Education, kindergarten through 6th grade in multiple states, and has extended coursework in pre-K education.  She is a certified National Validator for the National Association of the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and has examined and validated schools across the east coast for 8 years.  Mrs. Smith has been a classroom teacher from pre-school to second grade and a Director of several preschools over the past thirty years. She loves to bring hands-on creative science exploration and investigations to her class, in addition to all other areas of learning.

Melissa Gray

Assistant Teacher for Three’s, Melissa Gray 
is a Licensed Practical Nurse.  She served as a school nurse for Bedford County Public Schools for over 11 years for children from preschool to fifth grade.  Her responsibilities included caring medically for children with illnesses and injuries, administering daily medications, doing screenings, teaching student and staff health related subjects, and having parent conferences. Not only does Mrs. Gray bring health awareness to our team, but also loves to teach Bible stories to the children in class each day. Mrs. Gray has been with Bethlehem for over 4 years.

Joy Bowles

Terrific Two’s Class Teacher Joy Bowles
Terrific came to Bethlehem United Methodist Preschool, after being at Heritage United Methodist Preschool for 22 years. She served as Lead Teacher for their three and four year old children for the past 12 years, as well as their Children’s Program Director for 10 years prior to that. She loves to create a loving, spiritual place where a child’s natural curiosity to learn is encouraged and applauded. She is the Lead Teacher for the Terrific Two’s at Bethlehem, as well as Lead Enrichment Teacher for Pre-K.

Linda Cochran

Terrific Two's Class' Assistant Teacher, Linda Cochran, recently retired respiratory therapist, holds an associate degree in Respiratory Therapy from Butler University, a bachelor’s degree in general studies and a master’s degree in Health Sciences Education (both from Indiana University).   Most recently, she was the Director of Clinical Education for the Respiratory Therapy program at Radford University Carilion (formerly Jefferson College of Health Sciences).   Her previous work history includes being the Education Coordinator for the Respiratory Therapy department at James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis for 17 years.  In addition to being a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT), she obtained further respiratory therapy related  credentials as a Neonatal Pediatric Specialist (NPS) and Certified Asthma Educator (AE-C).   She has experience teaching American Heart Association classes for Basic Life Support (BLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS).