The United Methodist Church

Serving the counties of Pittsylvania, Bedford, Amherst,
Campbell, and the City of Lynchburg

District Office Staff

Rev. Denise Bates, District Superintendent

Rev. Denise Bates, a life-long Methodist, grew up at Fairfax UMC. As a youth and young adult, she served that church through music and youth ministry.  She graduated from Fairfax HS ('74), and from Virginia Tech ('77) with a BS in Business Administration/Public Administration. After more than 20 years in the business world, Rev. Bates returned to school and received her M. Div. with honors in 1999 from Wesley Theologial Seminary in Washington, DC.

While in Washington, she served the Accotink-Silverbrook Charge in the Alexandria District as a part-time local pastor. Following graduation and commissioning, she was the Associate Pastor at St. Paul (Alexandria), for 7 years. Rev. Bates was ordained (Elder/full-connection) in 2002. She served  Redwood (Danville), Herndon (Arlington), Front Royal (Winchester), and recently at Cave Spring (Roanoke).

Continually Learning, Rev. Bates is experienced in: Healthy Congregations Facilitating, Stephen Leader, Plowpoint, Reynolds Leadership Program, Natural Church Development Coaching, New Church Leadership, and Nurturing Innovative Clergy Leadership pilot cohort.  Her passion is creative and innovative worship leadership, and contextual revitalization in the local church.

Denise and David Bates, the love of her life, are nearing 42 years of marriage. David Bates is a CPA and they have 3 adult children and 5 grand-girls, (5 to 18). Rev. Bates feels blessed serving as the District Superintendent of Danville and Farmville.  She is excited for the adventure God has in store.

You may reach Denise at

Rev. Leigh Anne Taylor, Revitalization Coordinator

Rev. Leigh Anne Taylor has served the Lynchburg District since August 2017.

Leigh Anne grew up in the rural community of Shawsville in southwest Virginia, where life revolved around family, church, and school. She is a cradle Methodist who grew up serving her small church as pianist, choir member, and youth choir director. She attended James Madison University where she studied Music Education and was active in the Wesley Foundation, singing with and directing the New Life Singers. Finding her calling in church music, Leigh Anne continued her education at Southern Methodist University, earning a Master of Sacred of Music degree from Perkins School of Theology and Meadows School of the Arts and a Master of Choral Conducting from Meadows. She has served as Minister of Music in UM churches in DeSoto, Texas, Hutchinson and Wichita, Kansas and in Blacksburg, Virginia. Leigh Anne was ordained a Deacon in 2000 and is a life-long learner, focusing her ongoing study on Bowen Family Systems Theory and the Enneagram. 

One of her life's treasures was raising her two children, Taylor Cobb and Emma Cobb, in the bosom of Blacksburg UMC, where they made music together and grew in Christian discipleship as a family. While in Blacksburg, Leigh Anne enjoyed nearly a decade of directing the Wesley Singers at Virginia Tech and serving as a women's small group leader at the Western Virginia Regional Jail - both places where she experienced the heartbeat of the living God and the saving love of Christ at work. She enjoys sharing life with her husband Hugh Ballou, a good cup of coffee, a ride in the Mustang with the top down, and most of all, being a grand mother. 

You may reach Leigh Anne at