Our Staff

Rev. Denise Bates, Pastor

Denise Pic-1Rev. Denise Bates is the Pastor of Front Royal United Methodist Church.  Denise grew up in Fairfax City, Virginia, but has also enjoyed living in SW Virginia and in Maine.  Denise attended Virginia Tech and received  a BS in Business with a major in Public Administration in 1978. She attended Wesley Theological Seminary, graduating in 1999 with a Masters of Divinity.  In between, Denise worked in the corporate arena both in Northern Virginia and in Maine.  Denise and her husband David are the proud parents of 3 children and 5 granddaughters.

Pastor Denise began working at FRUMC in 2013, and enjoys a  partnership with the  vibrant and engaged church family as well as a talented and committed staff.  As Senior Pastor, Denise is responsible for the spiritual leadership and administrative leadership of the congregation and staff of the church.  Denise  preaches, leads worship, teaches and works closely with the staff and lay leadership of the church to provide ministry opportunities and strategies that reach out with the love of Christ into the community and the world.

Denise’s Favorite Scripture:  Philippians 4:4-9

Denise’s Favorite Jesus Quote:  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Denise’s Favorite Thing to Do:  Play with my grandgirls!

Denise’s Favorite Place:  Hawaii—and – Smith Mountain Lake

Cary Burke, Director of Spiritual Formation and the Elizabeth B. Sherman Child Development Center

Cary Burke at pulpitedu@frumc.org

David Chávez, Minister of Music and Worship Arts

David Chavez composer headshot Jan 2010David E. Chávez is the Minister of Music & Worship Arts at Front Royal United Methodist Church. Originally from Pennsylvania, Dave completed a BM and MM in music composition at Penn State, with doctoral level work in progress at George Mason University. After meeting at a chorus festival in high school, Dave and Melissa were married four years later, and today they enjoy partnering in ministry together. Having served various churches (in different denominations) in volunteer and part-time capacities, Dave began full-time at Front Royal UMC in 2011.

As Minister of Music and Worship Arts, Dave is responsible for planning and directing participatory worship experiences in collaboration with the pastor and other staff and volunteers, and for overseeing all aspects of music and fine arts ministry. On any given day, you may see Dave leading the modern worship band from the piano/keyboard, writing or arranging original music, directing a choir or handbell ensemble, playing the organ, overseeing the tech team, studying upcoming scripture and music choices, leading musicians and congregation in prayer, mentoring young musicians, planning dance or drama activities, and more. Dave loves to design and lead worship that draws on diverse styles and genres of music and art, welcoming and engaging a wide variety of people.

You can learn more about Dave’s music at www.davidechavez.com.

Dave’s Favorite Scripture passage:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.” -Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV). Why? This passage beautifully encapsulates the relationship between faith (what we believe) and works (what we do)—while we can’t earn God’s grace by doing stuff, we are designed to do good stuff…works naturally flow from faith!

Dave’s Favorite Food: yes.

Melissa Jean Chávez – Music Ministry Assistant and Youth Coordinator


Donna Quarton, Bookkeeper

Donna Quarton is the Bookkeeper for Front Royal UMC. Donna spent the first thirty years “growing up” in Fairfax, VA and has been a resident of Linden, VA for the past twenty-some, years. She earned her Virginia State Cosmetology License just before graduating from High School, and while working as a stylist, continued her education at Northern VA Community College studying Business Administration. Donna worked for several non-profit organizations in Washington, DC in administrative and conference planning positions. She and her husband, Donnie, moved to Linden in 1991 and were blessed with their daughter, Chelsea, in 1992.

Donna returned to her “roots” as a hair stylist in 1996 in order to be closer to home and have more time with her family. She works at Sensational Family Haircutters in Front Royal and also provides bookkeeping services for Donnie’s business, Parkside Renovations, and Springtime Nursery, also in Front Royal.

The Quarton’s joined FRUMC in 1995 and Donna began her service as bookkeeper in 1999. She continues to enjoy the “behind-the-scenes” support of all the ministries here at FRUMC.

Donna’s favorite go-to Bible verses are:

Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (NKJV) and

1 John 4:11, “Beloved, since God loved us so much, we ought to love one another.” (NRSV)


Barbara Robinson, Church Sexton


Barbara Robinson is the Facilities Manager at Front Royal United Methodist Church. She is a life-long member of the church, and has worked at the church for the past ten years.

Barbara graduated from Warren County High School and moved to Roanoke, Virginia the next year. She met Steve McMahan when they both worked at Salem Frame, and they were married by Steve’s father, a United Methodist minister. A couple of years later, they moved to Front Royal and started their family. Steve and Barbara have two daughters, Hannah Grace and Emily Rose.

Barbara enjoys reading, shelling at the beach, sharing a meal with a friend, and of course being there for her family (which includes her church family!)

Barbara prays every day for guidance — to do her work to the best of her ability– with the right attitude– and to always, every day, in every way, serve Him.



Rhonda Thompsen, Administrative Assistant

photo (5)Rhonda Thompsen is the Administrative Assistant at Front Royal UMC. She began working as Administrative Assistant in 1986. Rhonda was born and raised and has always lived in Warren County. She was married to Rois in 1995 by The Reverend Larry Thompson, former pastor and now our Winchester District Superintendent. Together they are very blessed to have a son, Nathan and a daughter, Taylor.
Rhonda’s favorite things to do: Spend time with Family & friends (& her dogs), home renovation projects, and the beach.

Favorite Bible Verses:

Hebrews 13:2 “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.”

John 15:13 “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”


Office hours: 9:00–4:00 pm, Monday–Friday

Office phone: 540-635-2935

Office email: office@frumc.org

Church homepage: www.frumc.org