Susan Reaves, Pastor

Hi, my name is Susan Reaves.  I’m originally from California — but don’t hold that against me.  I’ve been living on the east coast since 1971 and over 35 of those years I’ve been living in Virginia.  I’ve been married to Michael Reaves for 35 wonderful years. Michael is the pastor of New Hope UMC, in New Hope.  We  have 2 adult daughters who live in  Fredericksburg, VA.  Michelle is married to Ryan Taylor while Rachel and Zach have been a couple for 8 years.   
In my spare time I serve as the annual conference secretary for the Virginia Annual Conference. I have 22 years of experience in ministry. I’m a certified yoga instructor and teach a free yoga class every Thursday night at 6:00 pm.  It’s a great time to practice soul care as well as some self-care.
I hope you will take the time to connect with Bethany UMC and experience the warm hospitality of its people, as we serve Christ and community.  
Pastor Susan Reaves
What are you passionate about?  I  wasn’t raised in the faith (Christian of otherwise) but when I realized that God had been pursuing me with absolute and unconditional love, my life was forever changed.   God’s amazing and transforming love is available to everyone of us and that is the good news I am passionate about sharing with others.  
What is your favorite Bible verse? 2 Kings 2:24 — Just kidding.  It’s Luke 24:30-31, in the breaking of the bread Jesus’ followers suddenly recognize their companion on the road is the risen Christ.
Favorite movie?  It’s a Wonderful Life, and Elf and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  
Who inspires you?  Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer– his moral courage, intelligence and unwavering faith  even as he faced imprisonment and death are awe inspiring.
What was your childhood ambition?  To be a cowgirl — ride the range, wear a cowboy hat and chase cows.  
What was your first job?  Writing checks for my Dad’s investment company– I was 12.  My second job was polishing house plants and selling poinsettias at a plant store.
What is the most influential book you’ve read (other than the Bible)?  What’s So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey
How do you spend your free time? I love to knit, garden, read and go snorkeling.  I also jog – which I kind of hate, but it does feel good when you stop.

Dale Roller, Praise & Worship Leader

Dale grew up on a dairy farm in Weyers Cave with a brother and a sister. The family moved to Weyers Cave when he was 2 so he has been at Bethany most of his life. He started with piano lessons at age 8 and taught himself to play banjo at age 16.
Dale attended Virginia Tech for 2 years studying agriculture, then transferred and graduated from Longwood College (now University) with a degree in Music and a minor in Business. He played music as his main profession for 14 years and became involved in computers while on the road. He works now as a Software Quality Assurance Engineer at Jenzabar in Harrisonburg VA.
What are you passionate about?  Music, my family
What is your favorite Bible verse?  “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” – John 14:27
Favorite movies?  Lonesome Dove (I know, TV miniseries), White Christmas, It’s A Wonderful Life
Who inspires you?  My parents: Harold and Carolyn Roller, Dr. Bob Blasch – friend and piano professor from Longwood College
What was your childhood ambition?  To be a radio disc jockey, a detective or a musician (not all at the same time)
What was your first job?  First job: working on my family’s dairy farm, Kendale Jerseys
First jobs away from the farm: mowing grass one summer at Gypsy Hill Park in Staunton, then playing banjo at one of the shows at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg.
What is the most influential book in your life (other than the Bible, of course)?  Hard question – When I was much younger, my Mema Myers had some books at her house that belonged to my uncles, a series called the Sugar Creek Gang. I read those (a number of times) and got more as gifts between age 7 and 12. These were stories about boys growing up in the country who had adventures and loved Jesus. I recently reread a number of these books as I was reading them with my son when he was younger.
How do you spend your free time?  Listening to and playing music, messing with computers, hanging out with my family, reading.

Marguerite McDonald, Organist, Music Director

Marguerite grew up in Weyers Cave on a dairy farm with her parents and two brothers. She has attended Bethany since childhood. After graduating from high school, she attended Longwood College and received a bachelors degree in music education.
Marguerite lived in Covington for seven years where she taught music in Alleghany County and served as the organist at a Baptist Church and a Presbyterian Church. She returned to the valley and began teaching music in Augusta County. At the same time, she attended JMU where she earned her masters degree in music. Upon completion of her masters degree, she continued taking classes to become certified in school administration and supervision.
In 1994 she began working as a school administrator, which continued until her retirement in 2015. During this time, Marguerite worked for awhile at several different churches, including Bethany, as the organist/choir accompanist. She and her husband live at Fort Defiance with several four-legged fur babies. She has two stepchildren who both live out of state. She also works part-time for JMU.
What are you passionate about?  I am passionate about my family, including my pets!
What is your favorite Bible verse?  I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. (NLT) Psalm 16:8
Favorite movie?  I guess that would be “Sound of Music” since I’ve seen it more times than any other movie and I keep watching it when it comes on!
Who inspires you?  My parents and my father-in-law.
What was your childhood ambition?  To be a teacher or a hair stylist.
What was your first job?  Babysitting
How do you spend your free time?  I enjoy sewing, quilting and working in my flower beds, and watching “I Love Lucy” reruns.

Shawn Cook, Youth Director

What are you passionate about?  There are many things I am passionate about, first one that comes to my mind is my faith. I enjoy sharing Jesus Christ to others either through my actions or with my words. I am passionate about being a good dad, husband, and a friend. My most recent passion has been working with our youth here at Bethany. We have some amazing youth and I am glad that I get to be part of their life.
What is your favorite Bible verse?  I have many favorites but if I had to choose one it would be “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
Favorite movie?  My all time favorite movie growing up was the “The Goonies”. This movie reminded me so much of all the adventures that I had with my friends. No, we never found a big pirate boat with treasure but boy that would have been exciting!
Who inspires you?  My father –in- law, Steve McMillion has always inspired me. To him there is no such phrase as “I can’t” you can accomplish great things just by trying. He is a very passionate man when it comes to his faith, his family, and to his ministry. He has definitely inspired me to become the man that I am today and the man I hope to be later in life.
What was your childhood ambition?  I can remember many childhood ambitions growing up but the one that comes to my mind is being a police officer. Thought it would be awesome to catch the bad guys and take them to jail. Plus eating donuts would have been a plus.
What was your first job?  Mowing yards, trimming trees, pulling weeds, etc. was my first work experience. My first real job was a bagger at Kroger. I can even remember taking the groceries to the car not something you see much today.
How do you spend your free time?  Love spending time with my family from going to the movies, camping, to just relaxing in front of the t.v. watching shows they enjoy. I also enjoy going to the gym in my free time.

Cindy Kite, Office Administrator

Cindy was born and raised in the Valley.  Her mom is a local girl and her father was a handsome sailor from California.  Although she has lived in several different states, she has always come back to the Valley.  She graduated from Fort Defiance High School and Blue Ridge Community College with an associates degree in Business.
She has been happily married to her best friend Randy for 34 years.  They have two adult sons and a lovely daughter-in-law, whom all graduated from VA Tech … GO HOKIES!  Their oldest son Chris and his wife Lindsay live and work in Northern Virginia and the youngest, Ryan, lives and works locally.  They also have a very spoiled two-year old dog named Sophie.
Cindy has been a member of Bethany for over 50 years and truly loves and appreciates her church family.  She has been involved in Children’s Ministries, organizing and chairing Community Vacation Bible School for many years.  She has also been involved with the youth and loves working in Women’s Ministries.
What are you passionate about?  I am passionate about many things … my church, my family, my friends and continuing to grow as a Christian woman.
What’s your favorite Bible verse?  “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.  Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10
Favorite movie?  I love to watch movies and it’s hard to pick just one, but if I have to it would be “The Notebook.”
Who inspires you?  My husband who has always been my biggest cheerleader.
What was your childhood ambition?  To be a school teacher.
What was your first job?  Babysitting and then McDonald’s
How do you spend your free time?  I love spending time with my family.  And doing DIY’s around the house.  I also enjoy traveling with my husband, reading and crafting.  Oh, and spoiling our rotten, mischievous dog Sophie.

Phil & Ruth Ann Mikesell, Sextons

Phil and Ruth Ann were born in Michigan. They met at Grand Rapids School of Bible and Music in Grand Rapids, MI. They married in 1963 near Caro, MI, Ruth Ann’s hometown. After a short course at Michigan State University, they worked for Dairy Herd Improvement Association for about 3 1/2 years. Their first born, daughter Laura, was practically born in a barn! In 1965 Phil began working in a factory (TRW) in Portland, MI and part-time in home construction. Their son, Dale, was born in 1969 in Owosso, MI. On their own, they have built two different homes.
The Mikesells were co-chairpersons of missions at Bethany for 10 years. They have been on 11 mission trips while at Bethany and have done local mission work here as well. They have also served as Vacation Bible School teachers.
What are you passionate about?  Phil: Family, missions and wood working? Ruth Ann: Family and missions
What is your favorite Bible verse?  Phil: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31 ?Ruth Ann: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
Favorite movie?  Field of Dreams
Who inspires you? Phil: Ruth Ann, ? Ruth Ann: Phil
What was your childhood ambition? To stay alive and get out of town
What was your first job? Phil: Selling garden seeds and the Grit Magazine? Ruth Ann: Babysitting since 12 years old
How do you spend your free time?  We are retired, so we don’t have a lot of spare time on our hands! We really enjoy camping, but we don’t get go often enough.