Dr. Noel Schoonmaker, Senior Pastor
Dr. Noel Schoonmaker has served as Senior Pastor of Second Baptist Church since 2019. A native of Travelers Rest, South Carolina, he was ordained to the gospel ministry at Churchland Baptist Church, Lexington, North Carolina, where he served as Senior Minister. He also served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Valdese, North Carolina and First Baptist Church, Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Noel holds degrees from Furman University (B.A.), Wake Forest University (M.Div.), and Vanderbilt University (M.A., Ph.D.). He has taught courses for Vanderbilt Divinity School, Carson-Newman University, and Central Baptist Theological Seminary. For five years, he was Field Supervisor for the David G. Buttrick Certificate Program in Homiletic Peer Coaching at Vanderbilt.
His preaching has been featured on Day 1, Preaching Online, and NextSundayWorship.com. He has published articles for Religion News Service, Baptists Today, Homily Service, Homiletic, and the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church. He has presented essays at the Academy of Homiletics and the Southeast Commission for the Study of Religion.
Noel cares deeply about preaching, pastoral care, Christian education, worship, and mission work. He loves spending time with his wife, Dayna, and their two daughters, Maggie and Nora. He also enjoys hiking, playing basketball, and making music.
Raymond L. Spence, Jr., D.D., Pastor Emeritus
Raymond L. Spence, Jr. was called as the twentieth Pastor of Second Baptist Church on November 1, 1962. Dr. Spence graduated from Louisiana State University in 1958 and continued his education at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, earning a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1961. He has held offices on numerous religious, educational, and medical boards.
During his tenure, he led the congregation to relocate from the Franklin & Adams location and to purchase land at River and Gaskins. He broke ground in 1966, and the church still resides at this location to this day. He also led the congregation in a series of building programs to accommodate a growing membership. On November 4, 2007, Second held a retirement celebration for Dr. Spence and his wife, Ann, honoring their 45 years of ministry. He has the longest tenure of any Pastor in the history of the church.
Dr. Spence enjoys helping others, traveling with wife, Ann, hunting with sons, Lee and Walter, fishing, reading, and family get-togethers.
Reverend Kathi Traficanti, Minister of Adult Education
Kathi Traficanti was called to Second to serve as Minister of Adult Education in 2009. She serves alongside many talented and gifted lay leaders to develop and implement transforming ministries and programs to assist God’s people as they explore who Christ is, to grow in Christ and become Christ centered in a life that is being transformed.
The opportunities to become involved in transforming life experiences at Second range from Sunday School, to small groups and discipleship classes, to missions involvement and leadership development. Kathi works with other ministers and lay leaders to help new members and guests become active participants in the life of the church through the equipping ministries and programs that are available. “To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity.” Eph.4:12-13.
As a graduate of Union Presbyterian Seminary of Christian Education in 2002 with a Masters in Christian Education, she has served the local church and Second Baptist as a lay person and a minister. Kathi is a native of Nebraska, graduated from University of North Dakota, and loves to be in God’s great outdoors with her family and friends.
Reverend Katie Vance Lucas, Minister of Children
Katie Vance Lucas has been the Minister of Children at Second Baptist since October 2015. She is originally from Roanoke, Virginia but has called many places home including Tennessee, West Africa, North Carolina and South Carolina. Katie attended Carson Newman College (now University) and Gardner-Webb School of Divinity.
She previously served as Minister of Children at Adaville Baptist Church in Spindale, North Carolina; Crosspoint Church Bluffton in Bluffton, South Carolina and St. Andrews Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina.
Katie works to create ways for families to deepen their relationship with God and each other while they are at church, in the community, and at home. She enjoys seeing faith come alive in children as they explore the Bible, learn spiritual practices, serve others in missions and ministry, and engage fully in the life of the church.
Katie is married to Jared. They are excited to raise their two daughters, Emerson and Everleigh, alongside other young families here at Second.
Reverend Ben Brown, Minister of Students
Ben Brown is a native of Richmond, Virginia. He has two degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University: a Bachelors in Broadcast Journalism and a Masters in Patient Counseling.
Ben is a graduate of the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (BTSR) where he served in many roles including Community Life Repre-sentative and Associate Moderator for the Student Leadership Council. Ben has served as a Chaplain Intern at VCU Health System earning 4 units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) and was ordained into Gospel Ministry at Derbyshire Baptist Church in 2014.
Ben is married to Courtney Brown. Courtney and Ben enjoy cooking together, watching college basketball, drinking coffee, distance running, and having family time with their sons, Carter and Harrison.
At Second, Ben guides youth and their families in the sacred space that is spiritual formation and student ministry. He believes that God calls all students, and God has a plan for each of them. Ben is passionate about developing student leaders and giving students new opportunities to see God working in their everyday lives.
Reverend Louis Orsatti, Pastor, Spanish Language Ministry
Louis Orsatti has been the Minister of the Spanish Language Ministry since the autumn of 2010.
He was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico. He attended the Baptist Theological Seminary of Mexico, where he started new groups, missions and churches since 1981.
He arrived with his family in 2003 and started to work with the Baptist Churches here as a pastor and missionary.
Louis enjoys the ministry with his wife, Rebeca, and his 5 children.
Reverend Agayby Shehata, Pastor, Life Church, Arabic Language Ministry
Born in El Mina, Egypt, Agayby attended Middle East Theological Seminary, received his Bachelors in Theology and was authorized and ordained into ministry on July 12, 1996 by the Egyptian Assemblies of God denomination. Agayby has ministered to areas all over the globe including Jordan, Iraq, USE, Canada, Australia, and now the United States. From 2011 onward he has been the Senior Pastor of Life Church that meets here at Second Baptist.
Reverend Andre Amaral, Pastor, Portuguese Language Ministry
Tom Mitchell, Director of Missions & Outreach
Tom Mitchell is a life-long Virginian, with some layovers in distant places. He graduated from the Virginia Military Institute and then went directly across the street in Lexington and received his Juris Doctorate from the Washington and Lee School of Law. Tom practiced law at Hunton & Williams in Richmond and eventually transitioned into the commercial world, serving in different legal and executive business roles with Owens & Minor, Inc., including an ex-pat assignment in Shanghai, China.
Tom began discerning a call to ministry upon his return to the U.S. in 2014. He took on a leadership role with Second Baptist’s contemporary worship service, The Well, and began preaching regularly. Tom was licensed to gospel ministry in 2017 by Second Baptist. In 2019, Tom enrolled at Fuller Theological Seminary seeking a Master’s in Theology and Ministry. In February 2020, he answered the call to vocational ministry and joined the staff at Second Baptist as the Director of Missions & Outreach.
Tom is the husband to Jamie, as well as father to Jackson and Buck. Tom and Jamie love Jesus and His church, building and experiencing a Christian community, and scrolling though Netflix while discussing what movie to watch. For his part, Tom also loves playing tennis and basketball.
Tom has been deeply impacted and shaped by his own participation in God’s mission to the world. He has seen Jesus Christ loving and changing lives in the east end of Richmond and the far east of the Philippines, in south Richmond and South Africa. He has seen how a healthy and vibrant church – one that follows Christ in loving and praying and serving and sacrificing – can be the instrument that God uses to change lives now and for eternity.
Doctor Mary Beth Bennett, Organist
Dr. Mary Beth Bennett, Organist at Second Baptist, is a nationally recognized performer, composer and improviser who also serves on the music faculty of the University of Richmond. Having held various positions in Washington, D.C., including at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and as Ceremonial Organist for the United States Department of Defense, she holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Stetson University, the Staatliche Hochschüle für Musik (Cologne, Germany), and the University of Southern California. Her organ teachers have included David Craighead, Paul Jenkins, Paul Manz, Michael Schneider, Ladd Thomas and Cherry Rhodes, and her primary composition teacher has been James F. Hopkins. The winner of nine national and regional prizes in performance and composition, she is a frequent recitalist and clinician. This year she won the American Guild of Organists AGO/ECS Publishing Award in Choral Composition. Bennett’s performances and compositions have been featured multiple times on APM’s Pipe Dreams radio program with Michael Barone. Her compositions are published by E. C. Schirmer, Augsburg-Fortress, Concordia, Broadman, National, Hope, World Library, G. I. A., Selah, and Oxford University Press publishing companies. At Second, she enjoys playing for Sunday worship services, Wednesday choir rehearsals, and other services. Mary Beth lives in Midlothian with her husband Mark Bowersox, and their exceptional dog, Roxy. Find out more about our world-reknown organist on her website, marybethbennett.com
Judy Mawyer, Children's Choir Coordinator
Susan Hill, Director of Creative Learning Center
Susan was born in Richmond, VA, the daughter of Helen and Straughan Richardson, and grew up in Second Baptist Church. She is married to Jerry and has three beautiful daughters.
Susan has a BS from VCU’s School of Education, and completed her Master of Arts in Christian Education (2002) at Union Theological Seminary, specializing in early childhood development.
Susan worked as a social worker with the City of Richmond, at the Windsor Nursing Home, and as a Divisional Manager for Dun and Bradstreet Corporation for 10 years, prior to starting her family.
Susan began as a teacher at CLC in 1988, and became director in 1993.
She has served on the Richmond Early Childhood Association’s Board of Directors since 2006 and a Virginia Baptist Mission Board Weekday Conference committee member and conference teacher.
Ainsleigh Gaskins, Assistant Director of Creative Learning Center
Ainsleigh started attending Second Baptist when she met her husband Thomas in 2006, and is active in many areas of church life including Sunday School, Bible Study and Children’s Ministry in addition to her role at CLC. She and Thomas have two children, Kate and Jameson.
Ainsleigh holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Early Childhood Education from James Madison University (Go Dukes!) and an M.Ed. in Reading from Virginia Commonwealth University. She worked as a preschool teacher in Hanover County and as a Literacy Coach for several early literacy grants through VCU before joining CLC as Assistant Director in the summer of 2014. She is thankful to have a job that combines her faith and a desire to provide an excellent preschool experience for young children and their families.
Hilliary Larsen, Music Associate
Virginia Moore, Director of Recreation Ministry
Virginia joined our staff in the summer 2015 as our Director of Recreation Ministry. She has been actively involved in the church for over 10 years and even met her husband, Bill Moore, here at the church, and was later married here. Virginia has 3 sons, Sam and Tate who are 9 and Jack who is 6 years old. When not involved in planning recreational activities for various groups, Virginia is actively involved in the Prayer Ministry Team at Second and sings and plays piano in the Well Praise Band. Virginia has two degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University, Sport and Recreation Management and a degree in Health and Physical Education.
Kathy Driver, Office Manager
Kathy is a graduate of Park Ridge High School, in Park Ridge, NJ. She attended Virginia Commonwealth University and majored in Theatre Arts. She has lived in Richmond over 40 years. Kathy is married to Graham and they have four sons. She joined the staff at Second Baptist on August 1, 2006.
Patty Dimowski, Administrative Secretary
Griendora "G" McDowell, Financial Administrator
Griendora McDowell joined our staff February 2012. “G” as friends call her, is an associate minister at her church. Her background comes with 20+ years accounting and bookkeeping and she’s a Virginia native. G looks to further God’s kingdom, here at SBC, through her gift of finance.
Olivia Freeman, Communications Administrative Assistant
Olivia, a Richmond local, joined our staff August 2017.
She obtained her undergrad from Roanoke College, where she studied Fine Arts, and Communications. In 2015, Olivia obtained her Masters in Photo Media from University of New South Wales Art & Design in Australia.
While living abroad, she worked for a Catholic church as a Pastoral Assistant and brings these skills to her role here at Second Baptist. She serves as the Communications Administrative Assistant, creates and manages special print projects and online media for Second Baptist.
Joanna Landrum, Communications Administrative Assistant
Joanna Landrum is a Richmond-native Graphic Designer who obtained her B.F.A. in Graphic Design from Virginia Commonwealth University and worked in the Graphic Design field for 10 years before starting at Second in March of 2017. As the Communications Administrative Assistant, she creates and manages special print projects and online media communications for Second Baptist.
Danny Belanger, Facilities Manager (Contracted - CFG Group)
Adam Schumm, Director of Food Services
Billy Petruska, Supervisor of Events & Maintenance
Billy has worked at second for 12 years. He is the supervisor for the maintenance team and facilities coordinator for all Event setup and take down. Billy keeps our facilities running smoothly and cleanly day-to-day.
Maria, and Michael, Custodial Staff
Maria, and Michael keep our facilities running smoothly and cleanly day-to-day.