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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 Back to top
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 Back to top
(804) 358-5458 ext. 139
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 the First Baptist Church of Annandale, the Corrottoman Baptist Church, the Woodland Heights Baptist Church and the 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 Sunday School class, plays the piano for the Carol Choir, sings in the Sanctuary Choir and plays in the Handbell Choir at FBC. They have two sons, Matthew (married to Jennifer), and Christopher. Matthew and Jennifer have given them a beautiful granddaughter, Peyton Elizabeth and a handsome grandson, Lane Matthew Thompson. Back to top
(804) 358-5458 ext. 128
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. Together he and his wife, Martha, have six children and ten grandchildren. Contact Formation Ministries Administrative Support Kim Gilliam ext. 122 Back to top
(804) 358-5458 ext. 167
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 Back to top
(804) 358-5458 ext. 150
Youth One & Social Media Associate
Ann Whitfield Carter is the Associate Student Minister at Richmond’s First Baptist Church. A Richmond native, she graduated from Godwin High School and in 1990 earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Criminal Justice from the University of Richmond. Immediately following graduation, Ann spent two years in Kyoto, Japan teaching English through the International Mission Board’s Journeyman Program. Ann returned to Richmond in 1992, put her political science degree to work and began a 10 year career in politics, working for the Richmond Association of Realtors and Coalition for a Greater Richmond. Eventually, the demands of balancing a political life and a young family prompted Ann to leave political activism to the next high energy generation, at which point she threw herself into student ministry at Richmond’s First Baptist Church. And what started as a fun, volunteer position has turned into a calling and a career. In 2002, she became the temporary Youth Associate for Middle School to fill the position until the church could hire someone permanently. All these years later, she hopes that it is permanent! Ann completed a certificate in Ministry and Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary and is seriously contemplating a seminary degree.
Music is central to Ann’s life and she has been singing in choirs her entire life. For over 20 years Ann has sung as a Soprano with the Richmond Symphony Chorus. She is also a member of the church choir and One Accord at Richmond’s First Baptist Church. In 1992 Ann met David Carter in the church choir and they have been singing together ever since. They have three children, Ellie, Claire and Mary Wise. When Ann is not working or singing, she is managing her kid’s busy lives, reading a good book, or drinking coffee to fuel her for whatever is next on her calendar! Back to top
(804) 358-5458 ext. 140
Minister to Students
Dr. R. Barton Dalton serves as the Minister to Students. He received a B.A. in Religion and Communications Studies from Belmont University, Nashville in 1998, he received a Master of Divinity from the George W. Truett Seminary at Baylor University in 2001, and a Doctor of Ministry degree in contextual leadership from Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond in 2015. Bart was ordained in 2001. 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 Back to top
(804) 358-5458 ext. 193
Associate Pastor, Worship
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, a grandson, Preston, and a granddaughter, Caroline. Contact Worship Ministry Administrative Support Susan Marshall ext. 129 Back to top
(804) 358-5458 ext. 137
Music Ministry Associate, Children's Choir & Handbells
Ruth joined First Baptist in 1987 and began singing in the church choir, playing bells in the bell choir, and helping in children’s choirs. Ruth joined the staff in 2000 coordinating and directing the children’s choirs, the handbell choirs, and assisting with the girl’s ensemble, youth choir, church choir and One Accord. She leads the music in worship in the absence of the Associate Pastor for Christian Worship. Ruth has just recently joined the preschool staff as the music teacher. Ruth received the Choristers Guild Institute Certification in 2013. Ruth is a native of Charlottesville, VA. She graduated from James Madison University in 1985 with a BS, double majoring in Learning Disabled and Emotionally Disturbed Education with a minor in music. Ruth taught school in Chesterfield County for eight years. Ruth is married to Richard Szucs and they have two children, Alexandra and Matthew. Back to top
(804) 358-5458 ext. 164
Elliott Bromley serves as organist at First Baptist. A native of Richmond, Elliott became a church organist at the age of 16 and has rarely missed a Sunday on the bench since that time. Elliott is a graduate of Concord University in Athens, West Virginia. A former music teacher in the public school system, he now maintains a private music studio where he teaches piano, organ and harpsichord. He can also be seen playing piano for local events, often with different jazz ensembles. When he is not on the bench, Elliott enjoys working in his garden and experimenting with digital imaging. Contact Worship Ministry Administrative Support Susan Marshall ext. 129 Back to top
(804) 358-5458 ext. 148
Associate Pastor, Invitation
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 Back to top
(804) 358-5458 ext. 134
Associate Pastor, Compassion
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. Back to top
(804) 358-5458 ext. 133
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 Back to top
(804) 358-5458 ext. 132
Director of Communication
Allen joined the church staff in June of 2002 as the Technical Services Director, but his association with Richmond’s First Baptist goes back much further. He became a member of the church in August of 1980 and has been involved in many aspects of church life ever since. In 1985 his new bride, Hope, joined him and in the ensuing years four daughters have entered the picture and grown up here at First Baptist. From 1980 to 1995 Allen’s father, Dr. Philip L. Cumbia, was the Associate Minister to Senior Adults here, and he and his wife, Maxwell, were married in 1953 in the old church chapel, which is now the church library. Allen enjoys the challenges associated with keeping our television broadcasts and live web streaming going week in and week out and he feels honored to work with a very talented and dedicated team of people to be able to offer our church’s unique message in a digital format in Richmond and beyond. Allen considers it a privilege to have participated in a variety of mission endeavors around the world in association with First Baptist, and has documented several of these trips in video format. In his spare time Allen has a variety of interests that range from gardening, bicycling, canoeing, camping and hiking, beekeeping, raising chickens and goats, reading and spending time with his family. Back to top
(804) 358-5458 ext. 141
Brett Holmes serves as the Pastoral Resident at First Baptist. He is a native of South Missisippi and comes to Richmond from Truett Seminary in Waco, TX where he received a Master of Divinity. Previously, Brett served as a Pastoral Associate at DaySpring Baptist Church in Waco.
While in seminary Brett fell in love with the church and felt called to the pastorate. He is grateful for the opportunity to participate in the on-going ministry and witness here at First and look forward to the next two years.
In his spare time Brett loves to read, play golf, or watch sports. He especially loves to read theology and often can be found with the likes of Karl Barth or Saint Augustine in his hands, but Brett is trying to push himself to read more fiction and poetry (suggestions are welcome).
Brett is married to Dani Miller, originally of Victoria, TX. Brett and Dani are both excited to explore Richmond and get to know First Baptist. Back to top
(804) 358-5458 ext. 192
See also Ministry of Support.