Staff
  somerville

Jim Somerville

Senior Pastor

Dr. James Green Somerville is the 16th Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church.

Jim Somerville is a gifted preacher and a seasoned pastor.

He has preached on the Chicago-based 30 Good Minutes, the internationally broadcast Day 1 radio program, and was one of the featured preachers at the Festival of Homiletics at the Washington National Cathedral in 2004. His articles and sermons have been published in Christian Century, Leadership, The Upper Room, Preaching, Lectionary Homiletics, and Preaching Great Texts. He was awarded the Clyde T. Francisco Preaching Award while a student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

Jim served as Pastor of the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, DC for seven years before coming to Richmond. Prior to that, Jim served as Pastor of Wingate Baptist Church in Wingate, North Carolina, for nine years. While attending seminary, Jim was pastor of First Baptist Church in New Castle, Kentucky.

He was ordained (1986) by First Baptist Church, New Castle, KY and licensed (1984) by Faith Baptist Church, Georgetown, KY.

In his time off, Jim enjoys traveling, backpacking, sailing, reading, watching movies, and spending time with his family.

Pastoral Ministries Administrative Support Martha Smith ext. 126

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(804) 358-5458 ext. 127

 
  turner

Lynn Turner

Senior Associate Pastor

Lynn Turner is the Senior Associate Pastor and the Minister of Christian Community. Lynn served as the youth minister from 1988 to 2008 and has served as Senior Associate Pastor and Minister of Community since 2008. She coordinates food service, building office staff, pastoral care, the prayer ministry, the women's ministry, parish health and weddings.

Lynn has a BS in education from Francis Marion University in South Carolina, an MS in Counseling from the University of Tennessee, and MARE from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas. Prior to coming to Richmond, she taught school, served as a guidance counselor in South Carolina and Texas, and was on staff at Gambrell Street Baptist Church in Fort Worth Texas.

She contributed to the book, Youth Ministry from the Ground Up, by Ken Dibble.

Pastoral Ministries Administrative Support Martha Smith ext. 126

(804) 358-5458 ext. 139

 
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Robert Thompson

Minister of Pastoral Care

Robert serves as the Minister of Pastoral Care. A native of Portsmouth, Va. he has served in Virginia his entire full-time ministry. He has been privileged to serve with First Baptist Church of Annandale, Corrottoman Baptist Church, Woodland Heights Baptist Church and First Baptist Church of Ashland where he retired in 2012 after twenty years in Ashland.

He is a BA graduate of Atlantic Christian College (now Barton) and received a Master of Divinity degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In recent years he did further study at the Robert Webber Institute for Worship Studies in Orange Park, Florida.

He is married to Kathy who teaches the webcast Sunday School class at FBC. They have two sons, Matthew (married to Jennifer), Christopher and one beautiful granddaughter, Peyton Elizabeth.

(804) 358-5458 ext. 128

 
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Steve Booth

Associate Pastor

As the Associate Pastor for Christian Formation, Dr. Steve Booth leads a group of gifted ministers and lay leaders in facilitating opportunities for learning, contemplation, and service designed to address and facilitate the formation of the whole person: head, heart, and hands. He provides leadership and direction in the areas of Bible study; discipleship, small groups; spiritual direction, individual and group retreats, new member orientation and assimilation, and the equipping of ministry leaders.

Steve began his service with First Baptist Church in 2002 after having served churches in Virginia, North Carolina, and Indiana.

Steve is a native Mississippian with family roots in North Carolina. He is a graduate of Campbell University and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He holds the Doctor of Ministry degree in pastoral supervision from Andover Newton Theological School. For the past ten years, he has served as adjunctive faculty in the areas of Christian Education Formation and Practical Theology at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond.

He has three children, Jordan, Megan, and Meredith, and is proud grandfather to Jackson, Wesley, Ford and Walker.

Contact Formation Ministries Administrative Support Kim Gilliam ext. 122

(804) 358-5458 ext. 167

 
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Candi Brown

Minister to Children

Candi has served as Children’s Minister since 2007. She directs the Preschool and Children’s Ministry and provides direction for the spiritual formation of our children through programs such as Children’s Worship, Divorce Recovery, missions programs, discipleship classes, special events, Vacation Bible School and other innovative children’s programs.

Candi earned both Bachelor (1993) and Master of Social Work (1996) degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University. Before joining the FBC staff full-time, Candi served as the children’s ministry assistant from 2003-2006. Past work experience included serving as a social worker for Children’s Home Society of Virginia and as Program Director for Emergency Shelters, Inc. She was also an active volunteer in church ministries including teaching children’s Sunday School and participating as a volunteer with Vacation Bible School.

She has led and participated in mission trips to Arkansas, Slovakia, China, Costa Rica, South Africa and St. Lucia. Candi was awarded Certification in Children’s Ministry by the Virginia Baptist Mission Board in 2012.

Candi and her husband, Matthew, have three children, Madison, Adam and Jonathan.

Contact Children's Administrative Support Brenda Woods ext. 121

(804) 358-5458 ext. 150

 
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Ann Carter

Youth One Associate

(804) 358-5458 ext. 140

 
  dalton

Bart Dalton

Minister to Students

Dr. R. Barton Dalton serves as the Minister to Students.

Bart was ordained in 2001. He received a Doctor of Ministry degree in contextual leadership from Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond in 2015. He received the Master of Divinity from Baylor's Truett Seminary in 2001 and B.A. in Religion and Communications Studies from Belmont University, Nashville, in 1998.

He has ministered to youth and college students in churches in Texas and South Carolina. His experiences involve community and denominational participation, teaching and curriculum development, recreation, music and worship leadership.

Bart and his wife Marianne have two sons, Joey and Robbie.

Contact Student Ministries Administrative Support Hope Cumbia ext. 158

(804) 358-5458 ext. 193

 
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Phil Mitchell

Associate Pastor

Dr. Philip L. Mitchell came to First Baptist Church as Minister of Music in 2001. His role has since changed and expanded to incorporate a broader spectrum of ministry, under the heading, Associate Pastor for Christian Worship.

He is a native of Nashville, TN. Phil holds a Bachelor of Music from Belmont University in Nashville, a Master of Church Music in conducting from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY and a Doctor of Ministry in Contextual Leadership from the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. Prior to joining the staff, Phil served Ardmore Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, NC; First Baptist Church, Bowling Green, KY; and Mountain Brook Baptist Church, Birmingham, AL.

Phil has numerous handbell, choral, and congregational compositions in print with various publishers. He has written devotional materials published by Smyth and Helwys. He authored, "100 Music Ministry Ideas" published by Hal Leonard Publications and is writing a book on the relationship between liturgy and the missional church.

He and his wife, Libby, have two children, Erin and Austin, a son-in-law, Olin, and a grandson, Preston.

Contact Worship Ministry Administrative Support Susan Marshall ext. 129

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(804) 358-5458 ext. 137

 
  Szucs

Ruth Szucs

Music Ministry Associate, Children's Choir & Handbells

(804) 358-5458 ext. 164

 
  starling

Ralph Starling

Associate Pastor

Ralph Starling is responsible for the Ministry of Christian Invitation, which is rooted in the practice of Christian hospitality. The spirit of Christian hospitality primarily an expression of love we practice within the church and extend to the world around us. Ralph offers hospitality by facilitating the Divorce Recovery Ministry as well as other small spiritual formation groups, and also by spending time connecting with college students at Virginia Commonwealth University.

His ministry has taken him throughout the world. He has led mission projects in countries such as Tanzania, Slovakia, the Caribbean Islands of St. Kitts and Montserrat, the Central American countries of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras.

Ralph earned the Master of Divinity degree from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, in Mill Valley, California. He did his undergraduate work at Valdosta State University, where he played college baseball. He continued playing baseball after graduation with the Valdosta Red Sox, a semi-professional baseball team made up outstanding college and professional ball players recruited from around the country.

In 2005 he completed a three-year program, Becoming a Spiritual Director, at San Francisco Theological Seminary.

Contact Invitation Ministries Administrative Support Kim McIntosh ext. 118

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(804) 358-5458 ext. 134

 
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Buddy Burgess

Deaf Mission Pastor & Recreation Minister

Buddy Burgess has been pastor of the Deaf Mission of First Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia since February 1998. He added responsibility for the Recreation Ministry in 2004.

Prior to serving in Richmond, Buddy was a missionary of the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention serving as Missionary to the Sensory Impaired in Talladega, Alabama. Appointed by the North American Mission Board in 1988, Buddy was chaplain at the Alabama Institute for Deaf & Blind and pastor of the Faith Baptist Deaf Mission. Before being appointed by NAMB, Burgess was the first Minister with the Deaf on staff at First Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee and served there for 7 years. He has also been a pastor and a minister of youth and recreation. He has served in various leadership positions of the Virginia Baptist Conference of the Deaf and the Southern Baptist Conference of the Deaf.

Buddy has been a high school football, basketball and softball coach and has served as a coach and officer in Little League baseball and softball. He is also active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes having served on the board of directors of the Central Virginia FCA.

A native of Boiling Springs, South Carolina, Buddy attended Spartanburg (SC) Methodist College before earning a Bachelor of Arts in Religion/philosophy at Barton College in Wilson, North Carolina. He also earned a Master of Religious Education from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He has done additional study at Converse College, University of South Carolina, Memphis Theological Seminary and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

He is married to the former Anne Boswell of Wilson, North Carolina. They have two children, Matthew (married to the former Kimber Hardwick of Jackson, Mississippi) and Susanne (married to Carlos Acosta of Maracay, Venezuela).

Contact Recreation Administrative Support Robin Hendricks ext. 112

(804) 358-5458 ext. 154

 
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Steve Blanchard

Associate Pastor

Steve Blanchard serves as Associate Pastor for Compassion at First Baptist. This area of life and ministry simply focuses on using where we are in life to help meet others where they are, as they are. He has overseen the growth of the Compassion Ministry into more than 30 different ministries that reach out to the City of Richmond, and throughout the United States and in more than 15 countries. Some of these include a shower ministry for the homeless, a mobile ministry that ministers to people on the street, community partnerships with other churches and agencies, and international partnerships with churches on five continents.

Steve is a graduate of Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Georgia where he received a B.A. in Pastoral Ministries. He has a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary and a Master of Arts in Christian Education from the Presbyterian School of Christian Education. Prior to joining the staff of First Baptist in 1997, Steve was Director of Youth and Children at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Danville, Virginia (1989-1993), and the Director of Christian Education at First United Methodist Church in Siler City, NC (1986-1988). He has also served part-time with congregations in Athens, Georgia; Ashland, Virginia and Ruther Glen, Virginia.

Steve is a native of Siler City, North Carolina. He loves football, basketball, and many other sports, especially when the Duke Blue Devils have a team involved. Steve and his wife, Susan, have two daughters, Molly and Menley, who are on top of his list of greatest joys and passions.

Contact Community Missions Associate Brenda Andrews ext. 168
Contact Community Social Worker Nicole Zingaro ext. 153

(804) 358-5458 ext. 133

 
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Tom Visotsky

Finance/Business Manager

Tom Visotsky is Finance/Business Manager at First Baptist. The primary focus of this position is the church's finances, supervising the Finance office, financial statements, budgets, and other areas as needed.

Tom is a CPA and has a BSBA (American University). He is a past president (chairman of the board) of the Virginia Society of CPAs.

He and his wife, Rhonda Coor, have two adult children, Mike and Carol. His mother-in-law, Alice Coor, is a long-time member of FBC.

Contact Financial Assistant Becky Wills ext. 152
Contact Financial Assistant Tammy Click ext. 124

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(804) 358-5458 ext. 132

 
  Ward

Jess Ward

Director of Communication

Jessica Ward (who prefers to be called Jess) has served First Baptist Church since September 2013. She comes from a live, local TV news background. Her vision for First Baptist is to make the worship services easier to access digitally (webcast, broadcasts, podcasts) and most importantly: in person.

Jess graduated Cum Laude from Emory & Henry College with two degrees: one in Mass Communications and one in English Literature. During her junior year, Jess interned at WDBJ7 in Roanoke, VA where she was hired back (twice) as a temp worker during school vacations. Two weeks after graduating, Jess started her career as a TV News Producer at WCYB in Bristol, VA. She went on to work for WATE in Knoxville, TN and then NBC12 here in Richmond, VA.

Jess grew up in Montgomery County, Virginia. She is married to Chris Ward, who is an organist, Richmond paramedic, and loyal UNC fan.

Contact Technical Services Director Allen Cumbia ext. 141
Contact Media Designer Janet Chase ext. 119

(804) 358-5458 ext. 117

 
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Nick Deere

Pastoral Resident

Nicholas Deere (who prefers to be called "Nick") serves as the Pastoral Resident. Modeled after residency programs in other fields, the residency program provides a supervised setting for a first-call out of seminary. The aim of the program is to give practical ministry experience combined with reflection in order to help prepare the resident for later ministry.

Nick received a Master of Divinity from Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University in Waco, Texas in 2014, a Master of Science in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin in 2011, and Bachelor of Arts in the University Scholars program with emphasis on Math and Economics from Baylor University in Waco, Texas in 2009. He has interned at churches in Connecticut and Texas, and he was licensed by University Baptist Church in Waco, Texas in 2011.

In his free time, Nick enjoys reading, hiking, attempting to play basketball, and watching movies. He is very excited to get to explore and learn more about Richmond and Virginia as a whole.

(804) 358-5458 ext. 192

 
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