THE REVEREND ANDRA D. SPARKS
The Reverend Andra D. Sparks is a native of Birmingham, Alabama. He is the eldest son of the late Cedric L. Sparks and the late Doris Jones Sparks. He is a lifelong member of First Missionary Baptist Church East Boyles. He has been actively involved in all aspects of the ministry. He has previously served as an Associate Minister, Deacon (Vice-Chairman), Trustee (Vice-Chair) Director of Youth and Children’s Activities, Sunday School Teacher and the church’s legal advisor.
Reverend Sparks was educated in the Birmingham Public School System. He is a 1981 graduate of West End High School. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1985 from Tuskegee Institute and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1988. Reverend Sparks is a graduate of the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s School. He also pursued studies at Birmingham Theological Seminary.
Reverend Sparks had long sensed a call to serve in the preaching ministry and in June 2001 he followed the example of his paternal grandfather, the late Rev. George Jones, and accepted the Lord’s call to preach. He served as an associate minister at First Missionary Baptist Church East Boyles under the discipleship of the late Rev. Clyde Beverly, Sr. who ordained him in 2003. On March 3, 2004 he called to be the ninth Pastor of Forty-Fifth Street Baptist Church. Since his arrival, the church has experienced a resurgence in membership and mission. Rev. Sparks brings energy and a vision of community outreach with a focus on youth and senior citizen activities. The church has been totally renovated, physically (having undergone a complete modernization of the worship facility), programmatically (revamping of the worship service to make it more contemporary refocusing church’s community outreach and mission efforts) and spiritually (exponential personal and numerical growth) as it strives to be the friendliest church from the parking lot to the pulpit. Rev. Sparks also serves as the 1st Vice-Moderator of the Mt. Pilgrim Baptist District Association. Andra has long been actively involved in the community. He is a frequent lecturer and speaker for churches, school districts and agencies throughout the State of Alabama. He currently serves on the board of the following organizations: UAB Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center Community Advisory Board, Metro Birmingham-Area YMCA, Western Area Family YMCA, He is a member of the following organizations Alabama Municipal Judges Association, Leadership Birmingham, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Alabama Bar Association, National Bar Association, Magic City Bar Association, Birmingham Bar Association, NAACP, National Association of Drug Court Professionals and been across the United States as a traveling consultant and instructor with the National Drug Court Institute.
He has been honored for community service activities. In 2013 Metro NAACP Award as Pastor of the Year, April 2012, Inducted into the YMCA Order of the Red Triangle (the highest honor for a volunteer). Community Champion Award – The Dannon Project 2010 Meritorious Achievement Award – Lawson State Community College- January 2008 presented with the Key to City of Gadsden, Alabama; Recognized as one the most influential citizens in the 2009 and 2008 Edition of Who’s Who in Birmingham, Alabama; 2007 Appointed to the Blue Ribbon Committee to Review the Birmingham Mayor/Council Act; 2006 Recognized as a “Trailblazer for Education” Birmingham City Schools, Ted Hawkins Award of Excellence, Jarvis Christian College Birmingham Alumni; Appreciation from Seraaj Family Homes, Inc.; 2005 Award of Appreciation from Jefferson County Aids in Minorities; February 2004 The Alabama Association of Family and Consumer Science Professionals presented him with Family Advocate Award. In 2003, he was presented with the first Western Area YMCA Harrison/ Atkins Award for Outstanding Board Leadership. In 2002 he received the first IMPACT Family Counseling G.O.L.D. Medal Award, and was presented the Professional Child Advocacy Award from Seraaj Family Homes, Inc. In 2001 he represented the Birmingham City Council District Eight on the Citizen’s Commission of Redistricting (Co-Chair). In 2000 he was honored as Adult Volunteer of the Year by the Western Area YMCA.
In March 2008, he was appointed Municipal Court Judge for the City of Fairfield, the first African American to hold the position. In August 2008, the Birmingham City Council appointed Judge Sparks to a newly established seat on Birmingham’s Municipal Court to establish and preside over the Drug Court and Gun Court Dockets. He was reappointed in 2012. In December 2010 he was appointed Presiding Judge for the City of Birmingham Municipal Court (the largest Municipal Court in the State of Alabama with five full time judges, two part-time Special Judges and more than one hundred employees) by the Mayor.
Reverend Sparks has been happily married to the former Karen Moore since June 28, 1986. They are the proud parents of Anthony (author of #Better and RelationTips) who is married to Ashley (a teacher in the Hoover School District) and Brittany, (a registered nurse with UAB who writes the blog Until Nothing Is Left) who is married to George (a Birmingham firefighter). They are the proud grandparents of Aidan, who currently believes he will be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, George Solomon, and Ashton Donell.