Pastor's Biography

Rev. Dr. Winston C. Ridley, Jr., is originally from Duquesne, Pennsylvania. Introduced to Jerusalem Baptist Church at an early age, Pastor Ridley was licensed July 13, 1980, under Rev. A.R. Cardwell, serving as Associate Minister until December 1984. He began working in the Rodman Street Baptist Church with Rev. Delano R. Paige. In October 1986, Dr. Ridley became pastor-elect of Mt. Olive Baptist Church. He was ordained in November 1986 and began work with the Mount Olive Baptist Church, Coraopolis, PA.

Pastor Ridley is happily married to Bonita LuRose Ridley, an accomplished coloratura soprano, pianist and organist. She is currently the National Coordinator/Chair of the Ministers' Wives and Widows of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.

Pastor Ridley was invited to preach at Greater First in October 2000. He was called to pastor Greater First on January 27, 2001 and was installed as the new pastor of The Greater First Baptist Church on Sunday, May 20, 2001. Pastor Ridley's installation theme was: "Continuing the Vision - A Revitalized Greater First Baptist Church. During the installation as the new pastor, Dr. Ridley stated his primary goal was to ensure that the church stay focused on its mission of "glorifying God." Throughout his first year, he stood steadfast to the mission. He extended the tradition at The Greater First Baptist Church by demonstrating in new ways how the church can biblically, cultural, and technologically minister to the need of its members and community. His leadership in updating existing ministries and promoting new ones, speaks to the spiritual, educational, and public service growth of the church. Pastor Ridley urges his members to go beyond the walls of the church and spread the Gospel throughout the world.

Pastor Ridley received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh. On May 13, 2006, Pastor Ridley graduated from Howard University's School of Divinity, receiving his Master of Divinity degree. In May 2011, he received his Doctor of Ministry from the Howard University School of Divinity.

Every year, Pastor Ridley passionately chooses a binding theme. The theme for 2012 is "LIVING ABUNDANTLY FROM GOD'S WELL IN 2012." The Scriptural Reference is Isaiah 12: 2-6. During this year of several national challenges, Pastor Ridley has done much, especially through his weekly sermons, to provide the members with spiritual guidance and enlightenment.

Rev. James A. McCord, Associate Minister

Rev. James A. McCord, Associate Minister First introduced to Greater First by his wife of 45 years, Mary. Rev. McCord left in 1987 to pastor The First Baptist Church of Highland Park, Landover, MD. Retiring after 27 years as its spiritual leader, he returned to Greater First in 2000.

Rev. Robert Hood, Associate Minister

Rev. Robert Hood, Associate Minister Reverend Hood is married to Mrs. Barbara Hood; they have two children and two grandchildren. Rev. Hood was ordained in 2005. His ministerial objectives include a commitment to the furtherance of the gospel. His goal is to preach, evangelize and educate those who are saved and those who are seeking salvation. God has blessed his life with many opportunities of servanthood to those who are in need and less fortunate. Rev. Hood has worked with the elderly for the past 24 years. In addition, he has worked with pastors, church groups, missionaries and other volunteer groups who are willing to provide services or minister to the elderly; served the mentally challenged; and worked with at-risk youth in the metropolitan area.


Hebrews 12:1-2