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, Minister of Children
Katie Vance 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 has two daughters, Emerson and Everleigh and is a Foster Parent through Richmond City Department of Social Services. It is such a gift to her to raise her children 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 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
Pr. Andre Amaral married to Alessandra Amaral, father of Andre Gabriel, Ana Leticia and Ana Gabriele, God has reached then with his grace as they grew and were formed in the Christian Baptist environment where their missionary call was planted and nourished. In 1993 he graduated in Systems Analysis, in 2004 he held a bachelor’s degree in Theology from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, specialist in Business Management and Projects for non-profit organizations. He was examined in a council promoted by Orla Rio Baptist Church, and approved for the ministry of the Word by the same church. His wife Alessandra, graduated in Letters, postgraduate in School Supervision, postgraduate in Management of Distance Education and Master of Science Politics.
Since they were young they have worked in the Christian service in the ministry of the Word, teaching, worship, evangelism and missions. The couple has been involved as students, volunteers or as teachers at Youth With a Mission, YWAM Discipleship Schools since 1995. For the last 17 years, Pr Andre has been working with the churches in Brazil in the areas of missionary mobilization and financial management in missionary organizations. The couple has participated in the ministerial team of the churches where they have gone and participated planting some churches too.
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.
Taylor Vancil, Minister of Music & Worship
Taylor Vancil began his ministry at Second Baptist Church in January of 2021 as the Minister of Music and Worship. Taylor, a native of Greensboro, North Carolina, has served congregations in a variety of roles, including youth and children’s ministry in North Carolina and Texas, and most recently as the Minister of Music at First Baptist Church of Mount Holly, NC.
Taylor holds degrees from Wingate University (B.M.E) with emphases in choral conducting and classical guitar, and Southern Methodist University (M.S.M.). While at SMU, Taylor studied hymnology and church music with C. Michael Hawn, choral conducting with Pamela Elrod, and was awarded the Roger Deschner Prize in Sacred Music.
At Second Baptist, Taylor directs the choral program and supervises the church wide music ministry, with major responsibilities for worship. Taylor is passionate about leading congregational song, producing excellent choral music, and exploring creative opportunities for meaningful worship. Taylor is married to Sarah, a middle school choral teacher, and they are the loving parents of Selah and Wesley. In their spare time, the Vancil’s enjoy gathering together to watch a good movie and spend time with one another.
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
Ainsleigh Gaskins, 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 and Director in summer of 2020. 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
Hilliary Larsen has been a part of Second Baptist Church since 2010, starting as a music ministry intern. In 2014, Hilliary began serving as a music associate; leading worship in The Well and coordinating the praise band, singing in the sanctuary choir, directing youth choirs, and helping with various other music ministry activities. Hilliary grew up in Mechanicsville, VA and graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. Hilliary has been a music teacher at the Creative Learning Center since 2015. Hilliary is married to Andrew, a business investment manager at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and also the A/V technician for the Well! Together, they have two children, Levi (born in January 2015) and Nora (born in March 2017).
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, H.R. 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.
Beverly Stewart, Financial Administrative Assistant
Beverly is a Richmond native who joined the staff of Second Baptist in May of 2019. She spent 26 years as the Media Director for an advertising agency and then went on to several other career opportunities. Before Covid restrictions, she volunteered every Monday morning for 6 years at the Surgical Waiting Desk at St. Mary’s Hospital.
Beverly has a daughter and 2 granddaughters and her best buddy, Bailey, her goldendoodle.
Lisa Davis, Financial Administrator
Lisa is an Ashland native who graduated from Randolph-Macon College. An avid lover of knitting & Crocheting, she founded the prayer shawl ministry at her church, Duncan Memorial United Methodist. She has two grown children and five grandchildren (four boys & one girl). She is passionate about serving her community, volunteering with Hanover’s Community Emergency Response Team and the American Red Cross.
Lisa has 30 years of accounting experience to share with Second. She loves chasing numbers as well as storms! She has been storm chasing with an experienced tour group for the past four years, seeing her first tornados in 2019.
Olivia Freeman, Communications Administrator
Olivia, a Richmond local, joined our staff in August 2017.
She is married to William, an I.T. specialist for City Church.
She obtained her undergrad from Roanoke College, where she studied Fine Arts and Communications. In 2015, Olivia obtained her Masters in Photo Media from the 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.
In her role she creates and manages online media, communications and special print projects.
Joanna Landrum, Communications Administrator
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.
Adam Schumm, Director of Food Services
Billy Petruska, Supervisor of Events & Maintenance
Billy started at second in 2007. He lives in Richmond with his wife and young daughter. He is the supervisor for the maintenance team and facilities coordinator for all Event setup and takedown. Billy keeps our facilities running smoothly and cleanly day-to-day. When he is not working he is spending time with his family or adding a new fish to his large home aquarium.
Michael Bailey, Custodial Staff
Michael helps keeps our facilities running smoothly and cleanly day-to-day. He lives in Richmond with his wife and young daughter. When he is not at work he spends his time producing music and spending time with family.
Maria Quinteros, Custodial Staff
Maria helps keeps our facilities running smoothly and cleanly day-to-day. She is a Mother and Grandmother and puts her family above all else.