Pastor Ray Hammond was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, the eldest son of a Baptist preacher and a schoolteacher. He was educated in the public schools of Philadelphia and went on to graduate from Harvard College and Harvard Medical School. He completed his surgical residency at the New England Deaconess Hospital (Boston, MA) and joined the Emergency Medicine staff at the Cape Cod Hospital (Hyannis, MA).
Pastor Hammond accepted the call to the preaching ministry in 1976 and completed his Master of Arts degree in the Study of Religion (Christian and Medical Ethics) at Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1982. In 1988 he was called to be the founder and pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Boston.
Pastor Hammond has a long history of involvement with youth and community activities. He is Chairman and Co-Founder of the Ten Point Coalition—an ecumenical group of Christian clergy and lay leaders working to mobilize the greater Boston community around issues affecting high-risk youth; Executive Director of Bethel's Generation Excel program; Executive Committee Member, Black Ministerial Alliance; Chair of the Boston Opportunity Agenda; a member of the Strategy Team for the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization; a member of the Boston Green Ribbon Commission; and a trustee of the Yawkey Foundation, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, BMC Health System, Inc. and the Math and Technology Public Charter High (MATCH) School. He is a former chairman of the Boston Foundation. He continues to work in local and district youth activities in the AME Church.
Pastor Hammond is the author of several papers and articles on a range of issues including academic achievement, diversity, and violence prevention. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is also the recipient of numerous honors including honorary doctorates from Boston University, Cambridge College, University of Massachusetts – Boston, Lesley College, Northeastern University, Boston College, Emmanuel College, Notre Dame University and AME University (Monrovia, Liberia).
He is the proud husband of the Rev. Dr. Gloria White-Hammond (a pediatrician and co-pastor to whom he has been happily married since 1973); the blessed father of two daughters, Mariama and Adiya, and a son-in-law, Turahn Dorsey; and the proud grandfather of Ella. He counts as his greatest blessing the love of a God who has made it possible for him to accomplish and receive more than he could have ever thought or asked.