Staff

Rev. Frank Bernat
Senior Pastor

Frank Bernat serves as Senior Pastor at Bethlehem First United Methodist Church. Frank is a native of Covington, where he grew up at Lovejoy UMC. He graduated from Newton County High School in 1987 and attended the University of Georgia where he graduated with his Bachelor’s degree in Speech Communications in 1992. Following graduation, Frank attended seminary at Candler School of Theology at Emory University where he received a Master of Divinity in 1995.

Frank was ordained a Deacon in the United Methodist Church in 1996 and joined the North Georgia Conference as an Elder in Full Connection in 1998. Prior to being appointed to Bethlehem First UMC in June 2014, Frank served at Salem UMC, Newborn UMC, Roswell UMC, and Hope UMC. 

Frank has been married to Lesli Powell Bernat for 20 wonderful years; together they have two beautiful daughters Rachel and Rebekah. Frank enjoys many different activities including music (he’s been a drummer since sixth grade), golf, hiking, camping, working around the house, Georgia football (all UGA sports), NASCAR, Walt Disney World, and he’s a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. Frank also enjoys time with friends, reading, and spending quality time with his family. 

E-mail: frank.bernat@bethlehemfirstumc.com
Phone: 770-867-3727, ext. 23

Rev. Ben Wilcox
Associate Pastor

Ben Wilcox serves as the Associate Pastor at Bethlehem First United Methodist Church.  Ben grew up in Lapeer, Michigan and was very active at Trinity United Methodist Church and First Presbyterian Church both in Lapeer as a child and youth.  Ben graduated from Lake Superior State University (Sault Ste. Marie, MI) in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Management. 

Ben met his wife, Kristine, while at “Lake State” and after he graduated they moved to Georgia as a result of Ben taking a job with the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) at the University of Georgia where he studied diseases such as West Nile Virus and Avian Influenza in birds. During his time at SCWDS, Ben received his first master’s degree in Forestry and Natural Resources.  He remained at SCWDS for ten years.

During his last year and a half at SCWDS, Ben eventually began to feel the call to ordained ministry.  Already working a second job as the part-time children’s ministry director at Princeton UMC in Athens, GA, Ben began to realize that God had a greater plan for his life.  After discussing this calling with the pastor at Princeton UMC, Ben applied for candidacy in the North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church and to Candler School of Theology at Emory University for seminary.  Ben graduated from Candler in 2016 with a Master of Divinity and was Commissioned in 2018 as a Provisional Elder in the North Georgia Conference.

Ben is passionate about all people, from children through adults, hearing the good news of Jesus Christ and helping churches realize that getting outside the walls of the church is important if we are to truly make a difference in this world for God.  His prayer is that all churches realize their potential to do great things for the Kingdom of God and make a difference in the world today.

Kristine and Ben have been married for 15 wonderful years and have two amazing sons, Wyatt and Kody.  Ben enjoys sports (University of Michigan, Detroit Pistons, Red Wings, Lions, and Tigers, and Atlanta United), spending time with family, reading, pickleball, and bird watching.

E-mail: ben.wilcox@bethlehemfirstumc.com
Phone: 770-867-3727, ext. 22

Rev. Megan Gomez
Associate Pastor of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation

Megan Gomez serves as Associate Pastor of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation at Bethlehem First United Methodist Church. Megan is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in English. After graduation she served at the Univestiy of Georgia Wesley Foundation before attending Emory University where she received her Masters of Divinity degree.

Prior to being appointed at Bethlehem First UMC, Megan served Bogart UMC, Colbert UMC, and Comer UMC as a licensed local pastor. Megan is married to her wonderful husband, Cris, and has two children, Eliana and Elias.

E-mail: megan.gomez@bethlehemfirstumc.com
Phone: 770-867-3727, ext. 20

MINISTRY DIRECTORS
Matt Brown
Director of Student Ministry
E-mail: matt.brown@bethlehemfirstumc.com
Phone: 770-867-3727, ext. 25

(Position Open)
Director of Children’s Ministry
E-mail: (Position Open)
Phone: 770-867-3727, ext. 18

Lizzy Sheffield
Director of Preschool
E-mail: lizzy.sheffield@bethlehemfirstumc.com
Phone: 770-867-3727, ext. 26

Anissa Sullivan
Director of Fitness and Recreation Ministries
E-mail: anissa.sullivan@bethlehemfirstumc.com
Phone: 770-867-3727, ext. 15

ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF
Belinda Agnew
Accounts Manager
E-mail:belinda.agnew@bethlehemfirstumc.com
Phone: 770-867-3727 ext. 19

Jack Chilcote
Custodian
E-mail: jack.chilcote@bethlehemfirstumc.com
Phone: 770-867-3727

Karen Whitehead
Executive Assistant
E-mail: karen.whitehead@bethlehemfirstumc.com
Phone: 770-867-3727, ext. 11
 
ADDITIONAL STAFF
Bruce SmithSecurity
Dale MaddenContemporary Worship Leader,
dale.madden@bethlehemfirstumc.com
Haley MitchellChoir Director,
haley.mitchell@bethlehemfirstumc.com
Mark NicholsAudio/Visual Coordinator
Vickie SuggsAssistant Preschool Director
Katie WilsonPianist