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Story by Jeannie Dortch.

The net of influence cast by Richmond’s First Baptist Church is wider than most could imagine. Lynn Turner, Senior Associate Pastor/Ministry of Community, remarked: “Over the years, FBC has become ‘an equipping church’ for interns who started their ministries here.” FBC’s involvement with students from the United States and abroad has made just as much of an impact beyond our borders as have our BTSR interns. Read Interns on the Move Part 1.

Candi Brown, FBC’s Minister to Children, explained the recent expansion of FBC’s social work ministries’ internship program: “In 2010 Steve Blanchard, Associate Pastor, Compassion, and I began talking about the need for more case management help with our refugees. We looked to the VCU Social Work Department for help. We have supervised seven VCU interns on the bachelor’s and master’s levels since then.”

Nicole Zingaro

Nicole Zingaro

In 2012, Nicole Zingaro fulfilled a Master of Social Work requirement by serving 14 hours per week for one year in Journey Point, FBC’s refugee resettlement program. Now she manages other interns from VCU as FBC’s Social Worker, a position she has held since graduation. Steve noted that Nicole “is good with clients. She exudes a calm and approachable manner, making the refugees, especially the women, identify and bond with her.”

Hannah McMahan

Hannah McMahan

Interns also come from schools outside Richmond. Hannah McMahan, a graduate of Wake Forest University Divinity School, wrote, “In the summer of 2009, I was supervised by Steve Booth, Associate Pastor, Formation, for one year. The church was going through the transition to the missional church model, and I came as the Interim Youth Minister during the search for a permanent youth minister.” Now, Hannah works in Washington, DC as the National Coordinator of New Baptist Covenant (NBC). As Hannah explains, “I have always been inspired by NBC’s dream of healing the racial, theological and generational divides in the Baptist family. In my current position, I work alongside various Baptist communions to facilitate cross-cultural ministry partnerships between Baptist churches on the local level.”

Alena Glembova

Alena Glembova

“Alena Glembova is part of the fruit of FBC’s first mission trip to Ruzemberok, Slovakia in 2000, to run an English camp,” commented Ralph Starling, Associate Pastor, Invitation. “So successful was the camp in which Alena was a student that FBC members returned for the next ten years. After that long, the campers and local residents had become family to us. I wasn’t surprised when Alena called in 2012 to see if she could spend the summer in Richmond giving back by helping me work with the international students at VCU as well as with the refugees.”

Alena returned for her third consecutive summer in 2014. Ralph enthused, “She is a very open person with strong relational skills, along with the ability to speak four languages. The VCU students love her.” Alena is currently working on her master’s degree in business management in Slovakia.

Brittany Phipps

Brittany Phipps

Brittany Phipps is finishing her degree in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management with concentration in Program Management and a minor in Psychology at NC State University. But in the summers of 2012 and 2013, she helped FBC’s children and youth in conjunction with the recreation ministry.

“It was on a mission trip to China where I met Buddy Burgess, FBC’s Recreation Minister, and was led to interning for him. After my first summer at FBC, I went back to NC State and immediately changed my major to something that would include recreation. Had it not been for Buddy’s ‘coaching,’ I would never have made that decision. After graduation, I plan to intern in College Ministry in Raleigh, followed by serving as a church program director or perhaps spending more time on the mission field. I am open to different possibilities!”

Carmen Miller

Carmen Miller

FBC’s media ministry is our newest area of service. In 2010, as a student at North Greenville University in South Carolina, Carmen Miller came to FBC as a summer intern to fulfill a requirement for her major in Mass Communications with a concentration in Broadcast Media. “Carmen’s zest for life, service, and travel was exhibited through the energy she poured into her internship at FBC,” said Janet Chase, FBC’s Media Designer.

Carmen emailed, “I was very impressed with FBC’s organization and their professional way of approaching communication to a mass audience. My training was very helpful. With the responsibilities I was given, my confidence increased as a designer. I graduated in 2011, but live in Nashville now where I am a supervisor at the Nashville Downtown Hostel.

FBC’s association with these outstanding young people has produced a living testament to our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ who faithfully serve in the Richmond area and throughout the world. “Amen to that!” say those affiliated with FBC who have been privileged to work with these dedicated interns who are here, there, and everywhere!

Author’s note: In writing this article, I was given names of more interns than I was able to include in this article. Among the names not mentioned above are Katie Barnette, Candace Beam, Shannon Edwards, Jennifer Kopak, and Victoria Proctor. Please add your comments to praise those mentioned or highlight any other interns you may know who have been influenced by their association with FBC.

Editor’s note: This article is dedicated to Len Morrow who encouraged Jeannie to write about FBC’s interns.

See related stories: FBC Equips Emerging Leaders and Who is this man?

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