Sermon Archive

TFC-Adults: Jewish Festival of Purim with Rabbi Hal Schevitz

February 21, 2018 (Wednesday Night) | Hal Schevitz

The Jewish holiday of Purim is celebrated by levity and laughter, wearing costumes, and the consumption of triangle-shaped fruit-filled cookies and adult beverages, all while reading the comedic and ironic Book of Esther about how the Jews were saved from extermination in ancient Persia. While these practices are tempered by the traditions of giving gifts to friends and the poor, the holiday is best observed through frivolity and joy, leaving the seriousness of the world behind for one day of complete revelry. Join Rabbi Hal Schevitz from Congregation Or Atid as we explore the Book of Esther and the holiday of Purim for a fun and lively discussion (for mature-audiences only). As the Jewish saying goes, “They tried to kill us. We won. Let’s eat!”


A Voice from the Silence

February 4, 2018 (Sunday Morning)

Bible Verses: Malachi 3:1-4; Isaiah 60:1; Luke 2:22-40

Sermon by Linda Bridges, President of Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (BTSR)

This Sunday we celebrate Martha Stearns Marshall Month of Preaching. Since 2007, the month of February has been recognized by Baptist Women in Ministry and partner churches as a time to invite women in ministry to preach. This annual event encourages our church and others to publicly voice our support of women in ministry, and celebrate the call and gifts of women.



TFC-Adults: Winter Bible Study: “So what? Luke 18”

January 31, 2018 (Wednesday Night) | Lynn Caldwell

Winter Bible Study: “So what? Luke 18”

Lynne Caldwell is a native of Black Mountain, North Carolina, an Elder in the Western North Carolina Conference since 1992, and has been “on-loan” to the Virginia Conference since 2008 where she serves as Pastor of Brookland United Methodist Church, Richmond.

Since 1988 and her first appointment in WNCC, Lynne has served as an associate, pastor of a two-point charge,  pastor of single-point charges, Senior Pastor, and District Superintendent. She held multiple positions of leadership in WNCC including Co-coordinator of District Leadership Trainings, Co-chair of Annual Conference Worship, Chair of Conference Board of Discipleship, member of both district committees and the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, and member of Women in Ministry leadership teams for district, conference and jurisdictional gatherings.

While working on D.Min. project, Lynne was introduced to Appreciative Inquiry and asset –based ministry, and completed a six-week on-line course with David Cooperrider, the developer of the Appreciative Inquiry process. She seeks to practice those principles in ministries as pastor of a smaller membership church, and as teacher/learner with students who also serve as pastors of congregations of varied sizes and contexts. Lynne and her husband, Neill, live in Richmond, VA.


TFC-Adults: Winter Bible Study: “What’s Unresolved? Numbers 11”

January 24, 2018 (Wednesday Night) | Denise Janssen

Winter Bible Study: “What’s Unresolved? Numbers 11”

Denise Janssen is a Christian educator, author, and scholar. Her research focuses on faith transitions in life, particularly the transition from adolescence into young adulthood, using ethnographic research as a primary tool of inquiry. She also designs, writes, and consults in the area of curriculum development and best practices in faith formation in communities of faith. Her 25+ years in youth ministry and pastoral ministry equip her well as a scholar-practitioner with a passion for student learning.

Her books include: Fostering Faith: Teaching and Learning in the Christian Church (Valley Forge: Judson, 2014), Reclaimed: Faith in an Emerging Generation (Valley Forge: Judson, 2015), and Educating for Redemptive Community: Essays in Honor of Jack Seymour and Margaret Ann Crain (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2015). She is also the author of numerous articles and curriculum resources.

An ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches, USA (ABC-USA), Janssen maintains a commitment to the local church and denominational life. In 2015, the denomination recognized her efforts with the Luther Wesley Smith Education Award for faithful leadership in educational ministries at the college/seminary level. She currently serves as a staff pastor at Laurel Park United Methodist Church.

Janssen also serves as executive director of the independent ecumenical non-profit, The Resource Center, a 15,000-volume collection of books, video, curriculum, art, and artifacts for local congregations which is housed in Kingsley Hall.


TFC-Adults: Acts of Faith

January 10, 2018 (Wednesday Night) |

Bruce Miller, one of the founders of the Acts of Faith Festival, the nation’s largest faith-inspired theatre festival, will offer a preview of the 2018 season. It includes 17 plays all around RVA, with performances from January through March.

Since 2005 the festival has brought people of all faiths together in a safe space to talk about their beliefs, with theatre serving as the device to spur conversation. The festival is ecumenical and inclusive, sponsored by congregations from a variety of religious traditions, as are members of the audience.


The Mystery of Epiphany

January 7, 2018 (Sunday Morning)

Bible Verses: Isaiah 60:1-6; Ephesians 3:1-12 | Daniel Glaze

In this passage from Ephesians, it seems as if Paul is speaking about his call to ministry, his Epiphany of faith, if you will. The mystery Paul speaks of not that he chose to be an ambassador for Christ, not that he found Jesus, not that he came to a great epiphany about the faith. No, the mystery is that God chose him, that even though there may have been a hundred better choices, God chose Paul to preach the gospel.


Headed Home

December 10, 2017 (Sunday Morning)

Bible Verses:  Isaiah 40:1-11; Mark 1:1-8 | Daniel Glaze

Isaiah’s tender words to the Israelites remind them that no matter how bad things have gotten, no matter how far they stray, God has not forgotten about them, and will soon lead them home. Isn’t that what we’re waiting for this Advent season? Isn’t that what we’re always waiting for? To head back home.


TFC-Adults: Missionary Visit with Josh & Jessica Hearne

November 29, 2017 (Wednesday Night)


Jessica and Joshua Hearne are members of an intentional, Christian community in Danville, Virginia, called Grace and Main Fellowship, that is committed to hospitality, shared resources, prayer, nonviolent activism, and grassroots community development. Jessica and Joshua are very glad to visit with River Road Church, Baptist, on behalf of the community and to share about their work alongside folks experiencing things like homelessness, hunger, poverty, addiction, housing insecurity, and other injustices. They’ll share some stories and guide a discussion around how to cultivate meaningful change in ways that preserve dignity and agency. Jessica is CBF Field Personnel, supported by the Offering Global Mission, while Joshua is supported by an organization he founded in 2012 to support their shared, mutual work.

Filling our Lamps

November 12, 2017 (Sunday Morning)

Bible Verses: Psalm 78:1-7; Matthew 25:1-13 | Daniel Glaze

Some preachers will make this out to be a scary tale. “You better straighten up before you get locked out!” they say. I think that misses the point. I think this is a story of love. We keep our lamp full because when Jesus comes, we can’t wait to see him.


TFC-Adults: Reformation Series with Dr. Phyllis Rodgerson Pleasants Tessieri: Religious Wars, Inquisitions, Ecumenism, and Irrelevance, Oh My!

November 1, 2017 (Wednesday Night)

Celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation illustrates how much has changed in the Christian tradition since 1517. We will examine the evolving facets of the Christian tradition since the 16th century and see how the Church is semper reformanda, or “always reforming.”

After interesting and varied careers as high school history teacher, office manager/paralegal, registered lobbyist in DC and ecclesiastical history professor for twenty years at academic institutions both in the US and in Europe, Phyllis completed her career as the John F. Loftis Professor of Church History at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond.  Now she enjoys free-lance preaching and teaching in local congregations and a regular worship leadership position with Lakewood Retirement Community.  In all that she does her focus is thinking historically in order to participate in creating the future.  As one friend said, she is a historian of the future — neither trying to recreate the past nor idealize the past, but use the past to build on and point to the future. Particularly she is attuned to how religious organizations can exhibit characteristics of dementia when they experience dislocation in their context.  What she enjoys in preaching and teaching is the imaginative integration of aspects of reality; thus her “connecting history, dementia, leadership, organization, religion, baseball and rock music” motto.

Phyllis was born in Louisville, KY, while her parents were enrolled at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  She grew up in Bon Air Baptist Church where her father, Dr. Phillip E. Rodgerson, was the founding pastor and her mother, Bernice M. Rodgerson, established the church music program.  Her education was:  Huguenot High School, Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia (BA), University of Virginia (MEd), Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv, PhD).  She was in her 30th year of marriage to Conrad N. Pleasants when he died.  Five years later she married her high school sweetheart, John E. Tessieri, Jr.  Historians are incorrigible – her entire life history is in her name!



Click here to view Phyllis’ presentation.

TFC-Adults: Reformation Series with Wm. Loyd Allen

October 25, 2017 (Wednesday Night)

Dr. Allen will offer a first-person dramatic monologue as Protestant reformer Martin Luther speaking to his personal spiritual experience and its connections to the heritage of contemporary Christians, especially Baptists. Combining historical evidence, humor, and personal religious experience, this presentation will give a human face to the founder of the religious revolution that changed the Western church 500 years ago and continues to influence us today.