Reverend Ricky Ray Ezell, Sr., is a native of Fort Valley, Georgia. He is the son of the late John and Luchers Robinson Ezell. He is married to the former Bernice Gadson of Barnwell, SC. They are the proud parents of three boys, Ricky Jr., Brandon, and Dorian and one adorable granddaughter, NaVaeh Ka’Ren Ezell.
Rev. Ezell graduated from Peach County High School in Fort Valley, Georgia. Rev. Ezell was voted Man of the Year for his contributions in the Fort Valley Community. Rev. Ezell was also co-founder of the Peach County Progress (the first historical black newspaper in Fort Valley, Georgia).
He graduated from Fort Valley State University with a Bachelor’s Degree of Art in Criminology with a Minor in English Journalism. While at Fort Valley State University, he received the Ty Cobb Scholarship Award and the Thermostat Award for having the highest academic average in Criminology. After graduation, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Fort Valley State University for contributions in the field of Criminology.
He received his Masters Degree from the University of South Carolina in Criminology with a concentration in Court Administration. The University of South Carolina honored him with a Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to the college. He also received his Master of Divinity with an emphasis in Pastoral Leadership from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina. He received his Doctor of Ministry from Gordon-Cornwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina on May 20, 2017.
He is currently the Pastor of the Central Baptist Church at 3625 Clement Road in Columbia, SC. Rev. Ezell served as Moderator for the Gethsemane Baptist Association. Rev. Ezell served as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Lutheran Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC. Rev. Ezell also received the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award presented by Midlands Coalition of Churches. Rev. Ezell was awarded The Community Service Award presented by The Columbia Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. He was also awarded the Presidential Citation Award by Dr. Luns C. Richardson and Morris College, Sumter, SC, and he serves on the Board of Trustees for Morris College.
Rev. Ezell led the Central Baptist Church family in the construction of a new four-million dollar ministry complex complete with a new sanctuary, administrative and educational building, and family life center. Under Rev. Ezell’s leadership, the Central Baptist Church established a Community Development Cooperation that provides affordable housing to those in the community. The Central Baptist Church recently purchased the old Sunset Shopping Center. This forty-thousand square foot shopping center, along with 8.5 acres of land will be transformed into an economic development center to serve and meet the needs of the surrounding community.