Deaf Mission at Richmond is a mission under Richmond’s First Baptist Church. Reverend Dirk Hill of Texas was voted in as the new Pastor in January of 2019, succeeding Buddy Burgess. Dirk and his family moved to Richmond in June. Dirk is married to Laura and they have two children, Dakota and Lexi. We are excited about having the Hill Family here at Deaf Mission.
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.
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 title, of 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 has written extensively regarding worship, worship leadership, choral techniques, and liturgies.
He and his wife, Libby, have two children, Erin and Austin, a grandson, Preston, and a granddaughter, Caroline.
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 married to Kathy Hales Thompson since 1979. Kathy touches all of FBC life: Sunday School teacher, Bible study teacher, choir member, children’s music, handbell choir and heads the Women’s Ministry. They have two sons, Matthew and Christopher and six wonderful grandchildren, Peyton, Cavern, Ben, Caitlyn, Lane and Austin.
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.
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 as we 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, reading, is an avid birdwatcher and enjoys spending time with his family.
Cheryl Van Ornam is humbled and honored to be the Organist at First Baptist Church. She says, “It’s a special privilege to be a part of the vibrant worship experience at First Baptist.” Her masters degree is in Organ Performance and Church Music from Northwestern University, with undergraduate degrees in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy. She also teaches piano privately. After living in various parts of America and in Kenya, she moved to Richmond with her husband, whose relatives settled in Hanover County eight generations ago. They have two married children and three young grandchildren. Music Ministry for church is an exciting opportunity to help fulfill the Gospel Commission of Matthew 28: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” Soli Deo Gloria.
Donna Earley serves as the Director of Stewardship and Development. She is passionate about creating a culture of joyful generosity as a part of our discipleship. At Richmond’s First Baptist Church, you will find Donna telling stories of our ministry’s impact and asking our congregation what passions stir their hearts. Donna loves how the family of First Baptist is committed to serving and loving those in need.
Donna is the wife of Brad and the mom to Mary Sage and Sarah. Donna and Brad were married in the Chapel of First Baptist and have raised their girls at First Baptist. Donna received her undergraduate degree in Marketing from Virginia Tech and her MBA from the University of Richmond. Donna loves reading and visiting the beautiful national parks. As an Enneagram 2 (The Helper) I struggle with boundaries and I am compelled to help people that don’t need my help!
Dr. Jim Somerville is the Senior Pastor of Richmond’s First Baptist Church. He believes that if we look around us for anything that doesn’t look like heaven, and then roll up our sleeves and get to work, we can actually bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond, Virginia. You’ll find Jim in the pulpit on Sunday morning, and in the fellowship hall on Wednesday nights, but at other times you may find him roaming the hallways or out in the city looking for ways to connect. He is always grateful for this large, loving congregation where everyone is made to feel welcome.
Jim and his wife Christy have two adult daughters, one son-in-law, and two grandchildren, all of whom live in Richmond. Jim has deep roots in Virginia, going back six generations in Culpeper County. He is a graduate of the Phillips Exeter Academy, Georgetown College (Kentucky), and Southern Seminary. Before coming to Richmond he was Pastor of First Baptist Church, Washington, DC. Jim loves the outdoors, and on his day off you may find him hiking the Buttermilk Trail or sailing on the Rappahannock River. When he was growing up, his five brothers sometimes thought of him as “the funny one.” Sometimes he still is.
See Jim’s Blog.