Paul Timothy Roberts Sr. is an academic fellow of the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey in Celigny, Switzerland, and an activist. He was born in Stamford, Connecticut, and grew up in the United Methodist Church in Bradenton, Florida. He graduated from Southeast High School in the city in 1981. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and African American Studies from Princeton University in New Jersey in 1985.
For his senior thesis in architecture, Roberts created architectural plans for redesigning a historic African American church. He earned a Master of Divinity with a concentration in New Testament studies from Johnson C. Smith Seminary, the only historically Black Seminary of the Presbyterian Church at the Interdenominational Theological Center, an HBCU consortium comprising Morehouse School of Religion, Gammon Theological Seminary, Turner Theological Seminary, Phillips School of Theology, and Charles H. Mason Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia.
From 1997 through 2010, Roberts was the pastor of the Church of the Master Presbyterian Church USA in Atlanta. During this period, he was the interim Dean at Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary in Atlanta and coauthored Pastoral Care: A Case Study Approach through Orbis Books. After relinquishing his duties as pastor in 2010, Roberts began his tenure as president of the Seminary, which offers 20 courses, some online and at satellite locations, for less than $400 each. The Seminary also offers two certificate programs. With all the fundraising activities, he completed the work Feasting on the Word, published by Westminster/John Knox Press in 2013. In 2015, Roberts was the interim preacher of the First Presbyterian Church of Asheville, North Carolina.
Roberts, who also centers reparations conversations on faith, is married to Nina Roberts, an elementary school teacher, and they parented three children. He is a board member and consultant with many organizations, including the Presbyterian Foundation and an advisory board member of the Ezra Youth Seminary and the Ministry Collaborative of Atlanta, the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, and the Mountain Retreat Association of North Carolina, Advisory Board Member of Ministry Collaborative, Strategy Team Member for NEXT Church, the Louisville Institute, and the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church.
Under the leadership of Reverend Paul Timothy Roberts Sr, a 2022 recipient of the Gospel Music Legend Award for his ministry in Christian worship, Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary has been redefined as an innovative institution emphasizing social justice to eradicate structural racism.