It’s our story, it’s what defines us, it’s what sets us apart. We hope you’ll be a part of it.

History of Bethia

Today, as the Bethia United Methodist Church family stands on the brink of great things, we are inspired with the records of the past and our hopes for a fruitful future. In the last quarter of the 19th century, the area of western Chesterfield County at the present intersection of Beach and Winterpock Roads was a thriving community of coal mines, farms, sawmills and railroads. In 1885 a letter was sent to Rev. H.G. Cowan, a minister serving the Hallsborough Charge (located in the present vicinity of Midlothian Turnpike and Huguenot Road), requesting that he help several families form a Methodist Protestant Church in the Winterpock area.

On November 16, 1886, Rev. Cowan and the Rev. S. C. Orhum formally organized the Bethia Methodist Protestant Church. In March, 2010, Bethia opened its doors to a brand new social hall, gymnasium, state of the art kitchen and two floors of classrooms and meeting space. Progress is our legacy and with God’s help, we will approach future expansion (sanctuary) projects with courage, trusting in the One who has brought us this far!


“The people in this church are truly amazing and our pastor is the best ever! We have a very active congregation with a nice mix of age groups from new babies to 99 years old.” Sharon J. Dawson


“Our mission statement says what we all want respect for all persons! Bethia is where love grows!! We are all God’s children and Bethia has a humble but proud congregation and engaging ministers!” Tammy Cahoon Ridout


“Great Church! Great people! I Love it so much I joined the church.I transferred from my former church..Come To the church to worship with us!” Ricky Woods

Rev. James H. (Jay) Carey, Jr.

Sr. Pastor

Rev. James H. (Jay) Carey, Jr. was ordained and appointed to Bethia United Methodist Church in July 1998. Prior to coming to Bethia, he served as Assistant Pastor at Discovery UMC in Richmond, VA for five years. Before entering the ministry, Jay graduated from Longwood College (BSBA) and worked in sales in the wholesale drug and corrugated box industry.  Rev. Carey earned his Master of Divinity degree at The Divinity School at Duke University in Durham, NC. He is married to Ann Carey and has three children, Kathleen, Daniel, and Charlsley.

In addition to his pastoral duties at Bethia, Rev. Carey also serves as Chair of the James River District Committee on Ordained Ministry and as a member of the Virginia Annual Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, He also served on the VA Conference Board of Discipleship and was Vice-Chair from 2009-2011. He also served as chair of the Division of Evangelism. Jay also served on the Petersburg District Finance Committee and was chair of the Petersburg District Ministers & Mates. Rev. Carey is a past member of the International Emmaus Advisory Committee and has served as the Richmond Emmaus Community Spiritual Director and Richmond Chrysalis Community Spiritual Director.

In 2003, he received the Harry Denman Evangelism Award for Clergy in the VA Conference. Jay’s spiritual gifts include encouragement, faith, leadership, and teaching. His interests and hobbies include reading, sports (especially Baseball and Duke Basketball) and spending time with family and friends.  Rev. Carey loves leading Bible Studies on weeknights. His favorite Gospel is John and his life verse is John 16:32 (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.)

Mylicia Markham

Assistant Pastor

Welcome Home……a term used before every service has a special place in my heart. After traveling in and out of the U.S. for preaching conferences as well as ‘filling in’ for pastors that needed to be away from their church for a weekend or two; Bethia UMC was an answered prayer as I was welcomed HOME. I was asked to joined Bethia UMC staff as Assistant Pastor in June of 2016.

I am passionate about preaching and teaching the Word of God. I am passionate about connecting people to God and to each other through everyday life. I worked in the corporate world for many years and was ordained late in life after running from God for many years. I am now humbled to be a part of sharing God’s grace-knowing that He didn’t give up on me and sharing that same sentiment with His people. I have many life verses but the one part I struggle most with is “Be Still and Know that I Am God…….” Psalms 46:10 When I am ‘still’ – which is not often, I love research and history. Understanding the era that Jesus lived; understanding ages of history and understanding our current relationship with God and with one another. My husband Earnie and I have two adult children Jonathan and Christine. I am grateful, appreciative and value my many friendships-not taking a one for granted.

Elizabeth Barbee

Church Administrator Facility and Activities Coordinator

Elizabeth responsible for the efficient operation of the church office plus provides clerical and administrative support to the Sr. Pastor, Assistant Pastor, leaders, and Ministries. Serves as the facility and Activities coordinator; schedules events and primary communication link to the congregation and public.

Elizabeth her husband Mark and son Benjamin started attending Bethia United Methodist Church in 2001. They all attended the 8:30 service together until Benjamin joined the US Army 2017, Elizabeth and Mark still enjoy the 8:30 service with its praise and worship music. After Bethia’s new addition was completed in 2011, Elizabeth began working as the facility coordinator. A few years later Elizabeth became the Church administrator as well. Elizabeth’s ability to multi-task, creativity, kind spirit and willingness to help where needed makes her ministry here at Bethia invaluable.

Kevin Hughes

Youth Director

Kevin started attending Bethia United Methodist Church in 2009. He started volunteering about 5 years ago with the youth and has now taken over as Youth Director in August of 2017. In addition to working with the youth Kevin is also a trained Steven Minister.

Kevin and his wife Susan have 2 grown girls. On Sunday’s after the 8:30 am service where Kevin plays drums with the worship team, you will find him teaching the High School Sunday School Class. He has a passion for working with youth and meeting them where they are in their faith walk. His mission statement is “Connecting with youth in a real and appropriate way, so they understand God is relevant to them today. Youth group is each Sunday from 4-6 PM and you can find Kevin among the Youth delivering a fun and hand on brand of games, lessons, mission work, food, and fun. It is tailored to the live.

Sherry Encinas

Nursery Ministries

Sherry facilitates nursery ministries. The nursery is available during each of our Sunday morning services for infants to toddlers under the age of 4. The infant nursery, located across from the old kitchen, has cribs and changing tables available.

Ellen Stephenson

Director of Music

Ellen Stephenson, our Director of Music Ministries, is a lifetime resident of the Winterpock community. She and her husband John, and children James and Lizzy are honored and humbled by her calling to serve at Bethia UMC. Her adult daughter Amanda and son-in-law Dan also live locally.

Ellen holds a degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and has 30 years’ experience leading vocal choirs of all ages, praise teams, and more recently, handbell choirs with both large and small congregations. Her great love in life is Jesus, followed very closely by her family and church family.

Ellen’s primary goal in music ministry is to glorify God by leading His people in singing and or playing his praises. She has a love for all styles of praise and worship music from the great traditional hymns of the church to contemporary praise songs. She tends to blend styles together so that there is balance both musically and spiritually.

She would love to hear from you! Please contact her if you are interested in any of the following: Adult Praise Teams, Youth Praise Team, Children’s Choirs, Mixed Generation Sanctuary Choir, Handbell Choir, or sharing your talents through singing special music or playing an instrument.

Ellen is honored and blessed to serve the Bethia family and prays that God will allow her to do so for many years to come.

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