The Rev. Paul Robeson Ford is the Senior Pastor of the Union Baptist Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His leadership at Union 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 University of Chicago Divinity School.
Rev. Ford is currently completing a Ph.D. in Theology at the University of Chicago, where his research interests focus on the intersection between prison ministry, mass incarceration, and theology that is centered on transformation and liberation. During his tenure at the University, he also served as program coordinator for the Race and Religion Workshop from 2005-2008. He served as Adjunct Faculty and Teaching Pastor at the Divinity 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 two years as Senior Pastor of the Avalon Park Community Church in Chicago, Illinois, where the congregation experienced growth and increased vitality under his leadership from 2009-2011. He also served from 2003-2011 as the Associate Pastor for Justice Witness Ministries at Covenant United Church of Christ in South Holland, Illinois. There, he worked with the congregation’s outreach ministries and penned a page dedicated to justice and witness ministry that was published weekly in the church bulletin. He worked throughout his tenure at Covenant with the prison ministry there and at Trinity United Church of Christ, providing leadership and administration for pastoral ventures at prisons in two states.
Rev. Ford has an extended record of involvement in denominational and community organizations, including the governing council of the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ and service 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 featured on public access television, the International Sunday School Broadcast, and as a panelist on the DVD companion to the book Saving Our Sons.
Rev. Ford has a heart for ministry, and he is dedicated to empowering all of God’s people to walk fully into God’s promises for their lives. He resides in the West Roxbury neighborhood of Boston with his wife and partner in ministry, the Rev. Kirstin Boswell Ford, and their children: daughters, Cheyenne and Ayanna, and son, William Jackson.