Journey Together: 2021 Lenten Speaker Series

Note speaker dates have changed. Tanya Olson will share on March 4th and Sonja Livingston will share on March 18th.

Click Here to Register.

(You can register for one night in the series or all four nights. Once registered, you should receive a confirmation e-mail with the link to log in for the Zoom webinar. If you did not receive an e-mail with the link, please e-mail Sarah Nolan.)

The Lenten Series at St. Paul’s has existed for over seventy-five years and has hosted a wide range of preachers, speakers and lecturers, ranging from local rabbis to radical pastors with a national audience. It is intentionally held during Lent, traditionally a time of growth, self-reflection, and re-direction. The Lenten Series at St. Paul’s supports the ethos of this holy season by bringing speakers to our community that help God’s people…

  • grow in their understanding of religion and spirituality;
  • cultivate a deeper sense of community, creativity, and connectivity;
  • grow in love and compassion toward God, self, planet, and neighbor;
  • enjoy home-made food and gracious hospitality.

The theme of the 2021 series is “Journey Together.” This season of pandemic has given birth to a new understanding of what it means to be together. Particularly in church communities – communities that are so accustomed to gathering for worship and fellowship – the pandemic has caused us to look at what it means to be church. Our presenters this year are poets from a wide range of backgrounds. Through their art, they will help us explore the spiritual dimensions of being part of a human family, particularly during these times of social unrest. Through their uniquely personal lenses of poetry and other art forms, they will help us explore what it means (or, does not mean) to be together. Through their journeys, they will help us understand our own journeys.

Traditionally at St. Paul’s, the series is held during the lunch hour on Wednesdays and is accompanied by a warm meal and even warmer hospitality. Due to the pandemic, however, the 2021 Lenten Series will be a bit different. The speakers will present online on five Thursday evenings, and to-go lunches will be available on two Wednesdays during Lent.

Below is a list of our speakers, their bios and the dates they will be speaking.

We will be using Zoom Webinar format for the presentations. This means you will only be able to see the speakers and moderator. You and other participants will not be on video. You will need to register to receive a link to participate.

Click Here to Register.

To see a schedule for Lenten and Easter services and opportunities, click here.

2021 Lenten Speakers

Hamilton Glass | February 25 @ 7:00 p.m.

Hamilton Glass’s career as an artist stems from his architecture and design background. Despite working in the architecture field for 7 years, his passion for public art pushed him to start a career as an artist. Public art has always been a big influence and inspiration to Hamilton, because of its power to influence and inspire the surrounding community. With every opportunity Hamilton is given to create, he tries to convey a message that connects his art to the community. Using his background in architecture, he creates images that reference architectural drafting practices, which are represented in the sharp lines, scale, and balance of the piece. The bright colors and unpredictable lines and shapes are used to convey energy and movement in each piece. Hamilton is always looking to use his art as an inspiration and healing tool in the community, as well as being a great example of a working black artist. Website:


Tanya Olson | March 4 @ 7:00 p.m.

Tanya Olson is the author of the poetry collections STAY (YesYes Books, 2019) and BOYISHLY (YesYes Books, 2013), which received a 2014 American Book Award. Her poem “54 Prince” was chosen for inclusion in Best American Poems 2015. She was named a 2011 Lambda Fellow by the Lambda Literary Foundation and won a Discovery/Boston Review prize in 2010. Tanya Olson lives in Silver Spring, Maryland and is a Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. You can find Tanya’s most recent book HERE.

Spencer Reece | March 11 @ 7 p.m.

Spencer Reece is a published poet (The Clerk’s Tale 2004; The Road to Emmaus 2014), and Episcopal priest, presently serving as Priest-in-Charge at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Jackson Heights, New York City, where he conducts services in both English and Spanish. After a career in retail clothing, Spencer was ordained a priest in 2011. While at Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, he studied Spanish in an immersion program in Honduras, returning after graduation to teach poetry to girls in the orphanage Our Little Roses in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. “I went there to help the girls heal, and they helped to heal me,” says Reece. From an undergraduate study of poets George Herbert and John Donne to his present work as writer and priest, Reece affirms the connection of the arts and spiritual life. His book of daily meditations including his own watercolor illustrations is scheduled for release in 2021. Spencer’s latest book entitled All the Beauty Still Left: A Poet’s Painted Book of Hours contains his own watercolor illustrations and has just been released.


Sonja Livingston | March 18 @ 7:00 p.m. 

Sonja Livingston’s latest book, The Virgin of Prince Street: Expeditions into Devotion, uses an unexpected return to her childhood church to explore the changes in the larger Church and in her own life. The result is an unflinching look at the shifting Roman Catholic Church and personal concepts of devotion. The book won an INDIES Prize for essays and Richard Rohr praised it for “infusing nuance and generosity into an increasingly polarized religious landscape.” Sonja’s first book, Ghostbread, a memoir of childhood poverty has been adopted for classroom use around the nation. Her writing has been honored with an AWP Book Prize, a New York State Arts Fellowship, an Iowa Review Award, a VanderMey Nonfiction Prize, an Arts & Letters Essay Prize, and appears in many outlets including Salon, America Magazine, Sojourners and several textbooks on writing.

Sonja is an associate professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University and teaches in the Postgraduate Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Website:

Douglas Powell/Roscoe Burnems | March 25 @ 7:00 p.m.

Douglas Powell/Roscoe Burnems is Richmond, VA’s first poet laureate. He is also a published author, spoken-word artist, comedian, educator, father, and husband who has dedicated his craft to entertaining and enlightening. As a career poet, he has become a National Poetry Slam Champion, two-time southern regional finalist, Tedx Youth speaker, and the star of the first poetry and comedy special streaming on Amazon Prime, entitled Traumedy. Website:


David Coogan, Moderator

David Coogan is an associate professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University specializing in rhetoric, the teaching of writing, and prison literature. He is the author of Writing Our Way Out: Memoirs from Jail, and The Public Work of Rhetoric: Citizen-Scholars and Civic Engagement. His essays have appeared in the journals Rhetoric Review and Rhetoric Society Quarterly and in the anthologies Working for Justice: A Handbook for Prison Education and Activism and Active Voices: Composing a Rhetoric of Social Movements. Coogan is also the founder of Open Minds, a program that brings service-learning classes into the Richmond City Justice Center, and Write Your Way Out: A Criminal Justice Diversion Program, which enables low-level offenders in Richmond to avoid incarceration. Website: