About The Senior Pastor

Reverend Doctor Alesia Ford-Burse has been involved in the African Methodist Episcopal Church for over thirty years, beginning in her home church, Allen Temple AME in Tampa, Florida.

Rev. Dr. Ford-Burse graduated from the University of Florida with a Degree in Religion and a minor in Chemistry.  She went on to pursue her graduate education at Atlanta University studying Sociology with a concentration in Gerontology.  She obtained a PhD from the University of South Florida in Applied Anthropology with a Specialization in Gerontology.  She has the distinct honor of being the First African American in the United States with a PhD in Applied Anthropology.

After obtaining her doctorate degree she completed post-doctoral work at the University of Michigan and Harvard University.  She obtained her Masters of Divinity Degree from Turner Theological Seminary at the ITC. She also started a Doctorate of Ministry Program at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ohio.  Dr. Ford-Burse was a Professor of Gerontology at the University of South Florida (USF).  She left USF to assist a struggling Edward Waters College.  At Edward Waters, Dr. Ford-Burse brought in over 1.5 million dollars to assist the school financially.  She was also the Founding Chair of the Gerontology Department.

Her past experiences include being the Founder and Executive Director of two Community Based Organizations in Tampa, Vice President for Grants, owning her own Consulting Firm, and being appointed by President Clinton as a Community Builder with the Federal Government. She also started the first Charter School in Clay County.  She also was the Founder and President of the Clay County Ministerial Alliance. She was the first woman in the 11th Episcopal District to Host an Annual Conference. 

Dr. Ford-Burse is currently the Pastor of  St. James AME church located in Orange Park, Florida. She also was the Pastor of Union AME located in Lake City, Florida.  Rev. Dr. Ford-Burse built two churches by construction within a three year period during her pastorate at these two edifices. She also has a nonprofit organization T

he Circle of Hope House which helps needy families. Under her leadership at St. James, the church acquired some apartments and now own two other churches that are leased to other ministries. 

​Rev. Dr. Ford Burse’s spirit filled efforts to be a premier church in the community of Orange Park has come to fruition. She was an integral part of concerned citizens that ensured fair hiring was implemented in Clay County Schools.  Through her tireless efforts within a two month time frame 28 minorities were hired in 2011 setting a record for the County.  The hiring of these educators put more than a million dollars in the minority community. Rev. Dr. Ford-Burse ran for a position on the school board of Clay County.  She recently received an award for Woman of the Year for Community Activism. 

She is bi-vocational and has been with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development for over 21 years. She holds the position of Field Office Director which entails the oversight of 8 Divisions, 130 employees and covers the entire State of Florida. 

Rev. Dr. Ford-Burse is currently married to Mr. Winston Burse and they have a blended family with several children.