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MEET OUR SENIOR PASTOR

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PASTOR RAYMONDA R. SPELLER

Senior Pastor

 

 

Called to love and lead people into a deeper relationship with God and a deeper love for themselves and others with the aim of experiencing the fullness of the Kingdom in daily life, Pastor Raymonda R. Speller is the 12th Senior Pastor in the history of the Second Baptist Church of Aiken, SC.

 

A native of Suffolk, Virginia, and the eldest child of Michelle Speller-Glover and Deacon Bennie Beamon, Pastor Speller matriculated at Howard University as a Legacy Scholar and a BET Communications Scholar where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Culture in 2009 while successfully leading two campus ministries. Upon graduation he attended Duke Divinity School as a Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholar and a Pearl and Robert Seymour Scholar, earning his Master of Divinity degree along with a graduate certificate in Baptist Studies in 2012 while serving as a student coordinator of the Baptist House of Studies program. While in divinity school, he had the privilege of serving in supervised ministry under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Prince R. Rivers at the United Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church of Winston-Salem, NC.

 

Ordained in 2013 by the historic St. Paul Community Baptist Church of Brooklyn, NY, famed for its community development and political engagement, Pastor Speller’s ministry has focused on leading progressively and with a heart for community transformation and engagement of political, economic, and spiritual needs.

A Gospel preacher for more than 25 years, Pastor Speller previously served as Senior Pastor of the Community Congregational Church of Montgomery, Alabama. Prior to that assignment, Pastor Speller was the inaugural Lilly Endowment Transition-into-Ministry Pastor-in-Residence at the historic St. Paul Community Baptist Church of Brooklyn, NY, chosen from top divinity school and seminary graduates from across the nation to be mentored and trained for pastoral ministry by a cohort of world-class pastors including Rev. Dr. David K. Brawley of the St. Paul Community Baptist Church, Rev. Dr. Anthony Bennett of the Mt. Aery Baptist Church, Rev. Dr. Anthony Trufant of the Emmanuel Baptist Church, and Rev. Dr. Gary Simpson of the Concord Baptist Church of Christ. 

 

In his time serving the Community Church in Montgomery, Pastor Speller was privileged to serve as a lecturer on issues of religious diversity and racial justice at Auburn University Montgomery and to forge partnerships yielding thousands of service hours and millions of dollars of investment in human flourishing (including partnering with two other nonprofits to purchase and liquidate more than $3,400,000 in medical debt throughout the state of Alabama). At every opportunity, Pastor Speller has been a leader in civic circles serving the overlooked and underserved.

 

A testament to his commitment to community ministry, Pastor Speller was the only African American pastor selected to serve as an Advisory Council Member of the Montgomery Community Remembrance Project (a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission”-styled collective tasked by leadership of the Equal Justice Initiative to educate and engage community members around the history of racial violence in Montgomery, AL). He was also the sole pastor chosen to serve on the Montgomery, AL COVID-19 Response Task Force, serving alongside state and local public health officers, social service/disaster response managers, hospital executives, and lawmakers to coordinate public-private partnership responses to the needs of underserved citizens in the wake of the pandemic.

 

In his pastoral ministry, Pastor Speller has identified and secured large grants from the Calvin Institute for Christian Worship and the Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ to strengthen music and worship programs, to upgrade a church computer ministry for use by neighbors, to implement technology improvements in order to sustain vital worship and digital discipleship, and to create an in-house dance studio for local children. He has also led in hosting free afterschool and summer care, creating free neighborhood L.I.F.E. (Lifting Individuals and Families to Empowerment) classes, sponsoring full scholarships to summer camp for local Elementary and Middle school students, providing space to host Montgomery’s first ever year-round diaper and wipe bank, purchasing whole classroom sets of novels for a local school and so much more.

 

Pastor Speller has served the wider Church through lecturing and leading workshops, including serving as keynote preacher for the Southeast Conference UCC’s Annual Meeting and for the Alabama-Tennessee Association’s regional meeting. He recently served as a member-at-large of the Board of Trustees of the Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ, in which capacity he had the profound pleasure of drafting the Conference’s official “Statement Against Racial Hatred and Violence” in the wake of the May 2020 killing of Mr. George Floyd. In the same year he was selected by the King Legacy Foundation as the keynote speaker for Montgomery’s official MLK Day Celebration, afforded the rich joy of keynoting Alabama’s pre-eminent King celebration in the very church where Dr. King led the Montgomery movement 65 years earlier.

Pastor Speller has been actively engaged for nearly two decades in interdenominational and interfaith dialogue and community organizing work along with such collectives as East Brooklyn Congregations/MetroIAF, Interfaith Montgomery, the NAACP (he is a lifetime member), the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, and Faith in Action Alabama. Consistently leading civically and vocationally, Pastor Speller was selected in early 2022 to be a member of the “Churches Calibrating to Thrive” cohort through the Center for Congregational Resources of Samford University. He also completed Community Mediation training through NAFCM for Safe Space Montgomery, a nonprofit aimed at reducing violent crime within Montgomery County, AL.

 

In 2021 Pastor Speller was one of four distinguished alumni of the Duke Divinity School selected to preach for the annual Goodson Chapel Sankofa Black Alumni Series, chosen for his history of exhibiting the best of the Black, prophetic preaching tradition. As a Millennial and a “renaissance man” preacher, he is adept at bringing the Word to people of all ages and perspectives through sermons, Bible studies, blog posts, articles, singing, mentorship, and many other gifts God has given. He believes in “relevant, relational ministry to real people with real needs serving a real God.” Though highly trained and educated, it is the anointing that makes the difference in his ministry.

 

A prolific writer and former professional editor, Pastor Speller has authored a trove of articles, public essays, and other pieces, including penning a collection of sermons alongside his wife, Krystle, entitled “Fumbling for the Light: Sermons for and from Life’s Dark Days.” He also served as a lead editor on several best-sellers from leaders in the Christian music and lifestyle genres.

 

Since June 15, 2013, Pastor Speller has been married to his seminary sweetheart, Minister Krystle Speller, a preacher and educator, and together they have four children whom they are rearing to be free, to serve the world and to love Jesus. Pastor Speller’s greatest joy comes from his “fave five” – his four amazing young children and his beautiful wife Krystle Speller, a world-class educator and preacher in her own right.

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