Martha Lyle Ford

Bachelor of Arts, Communication, College of Arts and Sciences of Vanderbilt University
Master of Divinity, Vanderbilt University Divinity School
Doctor of Ministry, Memphis Theological Seminary



Martha Lyle Ford directs the programming and administration of the Center for Faith and Imagination’s work to provide resources and opportunities for ministers to live fully and healthfully — as persons, pastors and prophets — into their calls to ministry. She also serves as the chair of MTS’s Green Seminary Initiative which works to integrate Creation care and environmental sustainability into the Seminary’s teachings and practices. Ford’s doctoral work, titled “Renewal in Nature: Connecting Clergy to Creation for the Renewal of Both,” addresses the tandem issues of environmental degradation and clergy well-being. Her research interests include Creation care and environmental justice, spiritual formation, spirituality in nature, clergy well-being, and farming and rural ministry.

After completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication at Vanderbilt University, Ford worked in government, media, and politics in Washington, DC, then returned to Vanderbilt to earn her Master of Divinity degree. She then spent two decades raising two daughters, and working for secular conservation and environmental organizations, two United Methodist congregations, and as a high school mentor.

She joined MTS in 2018, helping develop the Center for Faith and Imagination and as a member of the first cohort of students in the “Land, Food, and Faith Formation” doctoral program. She received her Doctor of Ministry degree in 2022.

Ford is co-chair of the Creation Care Ministry Team of the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference of the United Methodist Church, a member of the Haywood County Human Relations Council, a GreenFaith Fellow, a commissioned United Methodist EarthKeeper, and serves on the Board of Directors of Memphis Kids in Nature. She enjoys hiking and backpacking, quilting, listening to Stax music, spending time with her daughters and husband, and doing pretty much anything outdoors. Her avocational interests include Southern US studies particularly the Mississippi Delta and Lower Appalachia, folk arts and crafts, Mayan culture, and all things Irish.


Scholarship, Piety, Justice


Martha Lyle Ford Pulpit & Pew lessons: