Reverend Paul Robeson Ford was called as the eleventh Senior Pastor on October 17, 2017. 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.
Education and Licensing
Rev. Ford is a graduate of Grinnell College in Des Moines, Iowa where he received the Bachelor of Arts degree. He received his Master of Divinity degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago. He answered the call to the ministry in 1997 and was licensed to preach the Gospel at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Des Moines, Iowa.
Rev. Ford came to First Baptist Church from the historic Union Baptist Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts where he served as Senior Pastor. His leadership at Union Baptist was focused on stimulating growth and renewing the mission at this historic church. His research interests are focused on the intersection between prison ministry, mass incarceration, and theology that is centered on transformation and liberation. Rev. Ford has an extensive record of involvement in denominational and community organizations, including serving as the General Secretary of the Cambridge Black Pastor’s Alliance and as President of the Chicago chapter of the Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice. He was Co-Chair of Committed Clergy in Action for the 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, he was ranked as one of the top 1% most endorsed for Preaching in the United States, by the LinkedIn online professional network.
Reverend Glenn Pettiford was born in Durham, NC, the son of Mr. and Mrs. McNeil Pettiford. Rev. Pettiford’s home church is the Mount Gilead Baptist Church of Durham.
Education and Licensing
Acknowledging a call to preach while in high school in Durham, Rev. Pettiford began preparing for the ministry while a member of Mt. Gilead Baptist Church. He was licensed three years later at the age of 19 and has been an ordained minister since 1976. He is a graduate of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. His seminary work has been done at the School of Theology at Virginia Union University in Richmond, VA, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC, and the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, GA.
Presently, Rev. Pettiford serves as the Assistant Pastor at First Baptist Church on Highland Avenue in Winston-Salem, NC.
Previously, he served as pastor for 17 years at the First Baptist Church of Lexington, NC. Before the pastorate, he served as a full-time chaplain for the prison, youth detention center, and women’s halfway house in Winston-Salem for five years.