Raised in the United Methodist Church (UMC), Irene Elaine Ford has long felt a connection to the religious institution’s teachings and mission. She believed it was important to spread the word and to guide others in their faith, and thus she set out, never wavering in her devotion. To prepare for her endeavors, she completed coursework at Duke Divinity School, West Virginia Wesleyan College, and Northern Community College.
Just out of divinity school, Ms. Ford became pastor at Bristol Charge United Methodist Church in Bristol, W.Va., and served there for six years. She was also pastor at Christ-Owings Charge in Sinnston, W.Va., for five years. Additionally, Ms. Ford served as pastor of Graysville-Washington Lands United Methodist Church and Nessly Chapel of the United Methodist Church, and as parish coordinator of UMC in Bristol and in Shinnston.
In 1992, Ms. Ford was ordained as deacon of the UMC. In this capacity, she led the church in relating the gathered community to their ministries in the world, connecting the church’s worship with its service. As deacon, she had the authority to lead worship, to perform marriage ceremonies where the laws of the state permit, and to serve the poor, the sick, and the oppressed.
Ever the philanthropist, Ms. Ford enjoyed using the strong relationships she forged in the church to benefit the community in a variety of ways outside of her profession too. She was the president of the West Virginia Parent Teacher Organization, a school board member of Hancock County, and a member of the West Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Ms. Ford was also the president of the Well Holy God district of United Methodist Women, and has been a council member of the Race Track Chaplaincy of the American Mountaineer Race Track since 2005.
For her distinguished service, Ms. Ford has been honored with the Marquis Who’s Who Humanitarian Award, and is featured in numerous editions of Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, and Who’s Who of American Women.