Matt Bates Matthew Bates is Centenary’s Pastor and has held this position for the past six years. Previously, Matt served churches in Western North Carolina until 1998. From then on he has been serving churches in Virginia like Central United Methodist Church, Richmond UMC, Verona UMC, and now hold the position right here at Centenary United Methodist Church. Matt obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oral Roberts University in 1981 and then went on to receive a Master of Divinity degree at Southern Methodist University in 1985. Matt then proceeded to go on to Duke University in 1997 where he received a Master of Theology degree and finally obtained a Ph. D. from Union Presbyterian Seminary in 2007. Being originally from Oklahoma, Matt now resides in the Richmond area with his wife, Amy, and also has two adult children, Justin and Rachel.