MOTHER ISABELL BROOKS FORD
October 12, 1920 – May 28, 1994
Founder of the National Youth for Christ, Inc. Of The Way of the Cross Church of Christ, Inc.
Mother Isabell Brooks Ford was the oldest of twelve children born to the late Henry Chauncey Brooks (founder of The Way of the Cross Church, Inc.) and the late Willie Shaw Brooks. At the age of eight, Mother Ford’s parents along with four others started The Way of the Cross Church of Christ. After being baptized in the name of Jesus and receiving the Holy Ghost, she began what became many years of services in the House of the Lord. Mother Ford took piano lessons, and she began to play and sing for services. The church grew rapidly and the first children’s group was formed, the Sunshine Band in which Mother Ford was the pianist. As a teenager she became the first director and pianist for the Junior Choir, this choir later became a mainstay in the worship services. Mother Ford later organized a choir for the toddlers (the Cherubims), the 10-14 Choir, and the Youth Choir.
Mother Ford attended the District of Columbia public schools, graduating from Cardozdo High School. She studied voice and music at the Howard University School of Fine Arts and Music. She also studied Cosmetology at the Apex School of Cosmetology. In October 1945, Mother Ford was married to the Late Richard J. Ford, Jr., from this union there were four children Deborah (deceased), Richard III (deceased), Bernadette and Reginald. They were also foster parents to five more children. Mother Ford was employed at the Treasury Department, and upon completion of her studies in Cosmetology, she worked at several noted Washington area beauty salons. Mother Ford stopped working to raise her children, but in the later years she returned to work where she was employed at the D.C. Board of Elections until she retired in 1989.
During the 1950’s, Mother Ford organized the Christian Lites, an ensemble that performed around the Washington, DC Metropolitan area. When the Junior Ushers were organized, Mother Ford was one of the first members. She also worked in the Church Nursery and taught Sunday School. In the early 1950’s she became overseer of the Young Peoples Union, which she reorganized and named the Youth for Christ. In the late 1950’s, Mother Ford requested to make the Youth for Christ a national auxiliary of The Way of the Cross Church of Christ, which remains to this date. After serving this group for many years she retired and became the Youth For Christ National Advisor. During the 1950’s Mother Ford also organized several clubs, the Busy Bees to help with the beautification of the church, Single Girls Club, to teach the young women of the church etiquette and social graces. The Single Girls Club was later renamed the Pollyannas. During the later years, Mother Ford organized the Women’s Council and served as president until her death. In addition she served as director of the Senior Choir, and the Pastor’s Choir until directors were found, and in the early 1980’s organized the Consoling Choir to furnish music for funerals.
Along with the numerous auxiliaries and clubs Mother Ford organized at The Way of the Cross Church, she was also a Missionary for 37 years, a member of the Floral Club, the Pastor’s Aid Club, the Willing Workers’ Club, the New Members’ Committee, the Drug and Alcohol Outreach Ministry, co-chairman of the Building Fund, and a faithful Sunday School scholar. In addition, Mother Ford was affiliated with “For the Love of Children”, the Toastmaster’s Club, and the Business and Professional Women’s Club.
On October, 1990, Bishop A. D. Brooks, pastor of The Way of the Cross Church of Christ, Inc. Headquarters appointed her Mother of the Church. Mother Ford had a zest for living. She loved the arts, and she traveled to many places in the United States. Her international travels included Canada, Ghana, Liberia, and Israel. Mother Ford loved her family, but most of all she loved the Lord! Mother Ford was an “idea” person, continually thinking of ways to do things and to help others. Mother Ford had a special ability to find and direct talents of others.