2024 Lenten Lunch and Speaker Series

Pastors, priests, problem solvers, and prophets: Everyday Leadership in Extraordinary Times

February 21, 28, March 6, 13 and 20

Lent is a time for coming together. Since 1921, the St. Paul’s Lenten Lunch and Speaker series has brought the Richmond community together. For over a century, our goals have remained the same: to enjoy delicious, home-cooked food, to cultivate relationships, and to explore timely topics related to spirituality and our common life.

No doubt, you’ve heard about the changing nature of the religious landscape. Especially in the aftermath of the pandemic, many denominations and local leaders are facing challenges of identity and purpose.  

The 2024 series will bring together church leaders from the Richmond area to discuss what it is like being a spiritual leader in our current context. How are pastors faring in a post-covid environment? What is challenging? What is satisfying? What joys and hardships do spiritual leaders encounter as they deal with such a wide array of responsibilities, from caring for the dying, to fundraising, to trying to stay “relevant?”

The 2024 Lenten Speaker Series will explore the often-unseen aspects of inspirational ministry. Join local spiritual leaders as they reflect on their vocation during moments of decisive change.

Registration for the Speaker series is free, if you’d like to participate in the time of fellowship we ask that you register a week in advance.

February 21 Rev. Jim Somerville

First Baptist

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Sesame Ginger Salmon or Cheese Souffle

James Green Somerville is one of six sons of James and Mary Rice Whiting Somerville, born in Selma, Alabama, on March 14, 1959.  Jim grew up mostly in Virginia and West Virginia before heading off to prep school in New Hampshire, and then college in North Carolina and Kentucky.  He answered a call to ministry in 1984, completed an M.Div. and Ph.D. at Southern Seminary, and served churches in Kentucky, North Carolina, and Washington, DC, before coming to Richmond, VA, as Pastor of First Baptist Church in 2008. He is married to the former Christy Treadwell and they have two adult daughters (Ellie and Catherine), and two adorable grandchildren (Leo and Vivi).

Jim loves the outdoors, and on his day off you can usually find him hiking the trails around Richmond, or sailing a friend’s boat on the Rappahannock River.  He’s a good storyteller, and when he was growing up his five brothers often referred to him as “the funny one.” 

Sometimes he still is.

February 28 Rev. Marlene E. Forrest

St. Philip’s Episcopal

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Beef Short Ribs or Cheese Souffle

Rev. Marlene E. Forrest began her tenure as Priest-In-Charge at historic St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, Richmond in late February of 2020 and became Rector in January of 2022. Before coming to Richmond, she served as the Assistant Rector for Youth and Family Ministries at St. Peter’s in the Woods in Fairfax Station, Virginia.  In her previous call, Rev. Marlene was a high school Special Education teacher for over 30 years.

She obtained her undergraduate Degree in Special Education from Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia and her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University. She graduated with her Master of Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary in May of 2018. She was ordained to the Transitional Diaconate in June of 2018 and the Priesthood in December of 2018.

In the Diocese of Virginia, Rev. Marlene serves as Co-Chair of the Commission on Ministry, a member of the Committee on Priesthood, the Ministry for Racial Justice and Healing, the Diocesan Resolutions Committee, the Bishops Transition Committee and is the organizer of The Clergy of Color in the Diocese of Virginia.  She is also a Trustee at Westminster Canterbury, Richmond.

Rev. Marlene is a contributor to the book, “Preaching Black Lives (Matter)”, an anthology that asks, “What does it mean to be a church where Black Lives Matter?

March 6 Rev. Floretta Barbee-Watkins

Lead Presbyter of the Presbytery of the James

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Pulled Pork Bowl or Cheese Souffle

Flo Barbee-Watkins has oversight of the presbytery office, staff, budget, and ministries. She also serves as staff liaison to the Mission Council and Trustee’s, Commission on Ministry, and New Worshipping Communities.

A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Flo received a Master of Divinity with an emphasis in homiletics and Christian education from Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary. In 2020, she earned a doctorate in education in organizational leadership from Northcentral University.

Throughout her ministry, Flo has served the Church with heart and soul in a variety of ways.

For 18 years she was the pastor of Seigle Avenue Presbyterian Church, now known as “the Avenue,” in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is a 20-year veteran of the US Air National Guard, retiring in 2017 as deputy-wing chaplain. Most recently, she was the transitional general presbyter for Presbytery of Detroit.

Since June 2022, she is currently serving as the Lead Presbyter for Vision and Collaboration for the Presbytery of the James.

Her resume also includes the following highlights:

  • The first African American clergywoman moderator of Presbytery of Charlotte, elected in 2013.
  • Former co-moderator of PC(USA)’s Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns.
  • Former member of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board.
  • Certified Core Values facilitator.
  • Adjunct faculty in homiletics.

Flo is married to Montressa Barbee-Watkins and they have one adult daughter. Flo’s hobbies include cooking, grilling meats, golfing, travel, and camping in her RV. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.

March 13 Rev. Amy Starr Redwine

First Presbyterian Church

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Tarragon Chicken Salad or Cheese Souffle

I was born at Duke Hospital (destined to be a Duke fan!) and moved to Roanoke, Virginia when I was two years old. My family attended Second Presbyterian Church, where I was confirmed and where my faith was nurtured and my questions and doubts were openly received. After high school, I attended Middlebury College in Vermont, where I became a religion major after taking my first religion class. I graduated with a degree in religion and classics and headed to seminary.

At Princeton Theological Seminary, I found a passionate and intellectual community of classmates and professors. I also met and married Derek Redwine. Between the two of us, Derek and I have served churches in Denver, Colorado; Akron, Ohio; and most recently in Cleveland, Ohio. It has been such a joy to return to Virginia and get to know the faithful, curious, and earnest people of FPC and join with FPC members, friends, and staff deepening our faith and serving our city and the world God so loves.

I am passionate about meaningful, thought-provoking, inspiring worship; leading people to encounter God in their daily lives in ways that lead to personal transformation; exploring how God calls us to use our gifts for the transformation of the world; and discerning together how the church can best serve our community and world with passion and joy.

Derek and I have three children, Sarah, Quinn, and George. As a family, we enjoy reading, basketball, and baseball, spending time outside, cooking and eating good food, and our Friday family movie nights.

March 20 Rev. Lance Watson

St. Paul’s Baptist Church

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Chicken Pot Pie or Cheese Souffle

Dr. Lance D. Watson is a three-time Summa Cum Laude graduate of Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan from which he holds the Bachelor of Science in Psychology, the Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and the Master of Arts in Guidance and Counseling.

He is a Magna Cum Laude Graduate of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University from which he holds a Master of Divinity and a Summa Cum Laude
Graduate of the Presbyterian School of Christian Education at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. He is a proud alum of the United Theological Seminary where he earned
the doctorate of ministry degree.

His achievements and recognitions are noteworthy. He serves on several boards to include the American Heart Association, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, and the Board of
Trustees at Virginia Union University. He has been honored as an Outstanding Community Leader, Outstanding Contributor to
Education, and Minister of the Year by several organizations. He is listed in Who’s Who in Religion and a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

For over 35 years, he has served as Senior Pastor of the Saint Paul’s Baptist Church of Richmond, Virginia. He is host of the telecast “Positive Power” seen globally at www.myspbc.tv.
The Saint Paul’s Baptist church is a progressive, forward-looking, outreach-oriented congregation for “People On the Grow” and serves as the spiritual home for thousands of people who share the vision of “Saint Paul’s Everywhere.”

A fierce proponent of spiritual and economic development, Saint Paul’s has acquired more than 330 acres of land as part of its plan to construct “The City of Possibility,” a master
planned community providing more than 120 acres of housing, commercial, retail, and educational spaces, a park, a retreat and conference center, an urgent care facility, an assisted living and memory care community, an urban farm, and community gardens.

A native of Detroit, Michigan, he is married to the lovely Rosemary Wilder, a noted and world traveled singer, producer, and entrepreneur and together they parent three children, and
five grandchildren. A gifted communicator, pastor, ideapreneur, television personality, and cultural architect, he is the author of several books, all available online through major retailers, and you can subscribe free to all of his social media platforms at iamlancewatson.