Reverend Kenneth Ray Hammond was installed as pastor of Union Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina in January 1992 after accepting the call in August 1991. Pastor Hammond is many things to many people. More specifically, he is a shepherd to his church family, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, a leader in his community and a scholar to academia. With nearly 40 years of pastoral ministry, Pastor Hammond remains faithful to serving God which is evident in through his unique and energetic preaching style which often consists of “Divine Emails” and “Momentary Detours.”
During his tenure at Union Baptist Church the membership has grown by more than 5,500 new disciples to a total of more than 7,000. More than 20 new ministries have been launched and the church has moved from a single ministry staff to a multi-ministry staff of nine and a volunteer staff of thirteen. The church's budget has increased by nearly $3 million and an endowment established. In May 2001, a new $3.5 million dollar worship center and a fully renovated educational building were dedicated. Ground was broken in July 2006 to build the Union Baptist Independent School, a pre-K through 8 and Family Life Resource Center on a site adjacent to the church. In 2008, construction of the Union Independent School, now Global Scholars Academy, began and the school opened the summer of 2009.
Pastor Hammond served as pastor of Mount Shiloh Baptist Church in Williamston, North Carolina, Cedar Grove Baptist Church, Greenville, North Carolina and also served as the Youth Minister for Mount Shiloh Baptist Church in Winterville, North Carolina.In addition to his ministerial service, Pastor Hammond has served East Carolina University as the Associate Director of the Department of University Unions and the school’s Mendenhall Student Center as Assistant Director and Program Director.
His days at East Carolina can be traced to his undergraduate years where received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, Master of Arts in Education and a Certificate of Advanced Study. Pastor Hammond earned a Masters of Divinity degree from Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina and did doctoral studies at North Carolina State University. His scholastic achievements are marked by his inductions into Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society, The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, Who's Who in Education and Who's Who Among Black Americans. In 2001, Gospel Today Magazine named Pastor Hammond as one of America's Most Loved Pastors. In October 2007 he was recognized by Christian Tools of Affirmation (CTA, Inc.) as its National Pastor of the Year. He received a Doctor of Divinity degree from the Apex School of Theology in 2008.
He is past moderator of the American Baptist Churches of the South, Area III, a member of the American Baptist Churches of the South Board of Directors; member of the General Board and Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee of the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, Inc.; a member of the General Board of the Lott Carey Foreign Missions Convention. He has also served as president of the Shaw Divinity School National Theological Alumni Association and on the Board of Trustees of Shaw Divinity School; chaired the Executive Board of the East Cedar Grove Missionary Baptist Association and held offices in the Old Eastern Missionary Baptist Association, including that of moderator.
Since coming to Durham, Pastor Hammond has used his many talents for the betterment of the Durham community.He currently is chair of the Durham Economic Resource Center (DERC) and a member of Global Scholars Academy Board of Directors. He formerly served on the Board of Directors for the Greater Durham YMCA, the Habitat for Humanity, the Durham County Hospital Corporation, Duke University Health Systems, New Vision Community Development and the Joyland Foundation. He also served on advisory boards for the Unicorn Bereavement Center and Mechanics & Farmers Bank.
Most of all, Pastor Hammond is a family man.He is married to the former Evelyn Louise Patrick, a computer technology teacher. They are the parents of two young adults: Kennetta Hammond Perry and Brandon Timothy Hammond and grandparents to one granddaughter, Isabella Sophia Perry.
In June of 2016, Pastor Hammond was presented with a letter of congratulations and encouragement from the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama commemorating his 25 years of service to UBC.
Dr. Hammond's final official sermon as well as final service as pastor took place on August 27, 2017 at Durham's Hillside High School. During that emotional service he was given the new position as Pastor Emeritus of Union.