Reverend Paul Robeson Ford
MCWSV ByLaws Committee Chairman
The Reverend Paul Robeson Ford is the 11th Senior Pastor of
the First Baptist Church (Highland Avenue) in Winston-Salem,
North Carolina. His leadership at First Baptist is focused on
stimulating growth and renewed mission at this historic
congregation. Rev. Ford was born and raised in New York City,
and grew up at the Riverside Church under the leadership of Dr.
James A. Forbes, Jr. He answered the call to ministry in
1997 and was licensed to preach the Gospel at Shiloh Missionary
Baptist Church in Des Moines, Iowa in 2002. He holds standing as
an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. He
received a Bachelor of Arts from Grinnell College and a Master
of Divinity Degree from the Divinity School at the University of
Rev. Ford is a Candidate for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Theology at the University of Chicago, where his research interests focus on developing a theology of liberation for the situation of mass incarceration in the United States. While at the University, he worked as Program Coordinator for the Race and Religion Workshop (2005-2008). He has taught as Adjunct Faculty at the Divinity School, and the Andover Newton Theological School, as well as Supervising Pastor at McCormick Theological Seminary. He has twice been named a Fellow of the Fund for Theological Education.
Rev. Ford’s previous experience in ministry includes six years as Senior Pastor of Union Baptist Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts (2011-2017), two years as Executive Director of the Boston Workers Alliance, a Roxbury-based grassroots organization dedicated to creating economic opportunity and winning criminal justice reform in Massachusetts (2014–2016), and two years as Senior Pastor of the Avalon Park Community Church in Chicago, Illinois (2009-2011). He served as Associate Pastor for Justice Witness Ministries at Covenant United Church of Christ in South Holland, Illinois (2003-2011), working with the congregation’s outreach ministries and facilitating a partnership between the Prison Ministries of Covenant and Trinity United Church of Christ (Chicago, Illinois) that included pastoral ventures to prisons in two states.
Rev. Ford served as the General Secretary of the Cambridge Black Pastors Alliance, and a Board Member of the Massachusetts Peace Action Network. He was Co-Chair of Committed Clergy in Action (National Action Network) Chicago Chapter. He has been a featured guest on television and radio, including the International Sunday School Broadcast, Basic Black, and the Callie Crossley Show. He was a panelist on the DVD companion to the book, Saving Our Sons. In 2012, the LinkedIn online professional network ranked him as one of the top 1% most endorsed for Preaching in the nation.
Rev. Ford has a heart for ministry and is dedicated to empowering all of God’s people to walk fully into God’s promises for their lives. He is married to the Reverend Kirstin Boswell Ford, and their blended family includes three children: daughters, Cheyenne and Ayanna, son, William Jackson, and two dogs, Caesar and Gus.