The Rev. William Young IV was born on February 6, 1978 in Louisville, Kentucky to the late Rev. William Thomas Young, III and the late Willie Mae Mitchell-Young. He grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he graduated from the prestigious School for Creative and Performing Arts in 1996. William heard and accepted the call to preach the Gospel at the age of 9 and was licensed to preach on December 27, 1987 at the New Friendship Baptist Church under the Rev. Dr. H.L. Harvey, Jr. Over his formative years, he was able to develop a passion in ministry through New Friendship’s children’s church and by being mentored by denominational and civil rights leaders such as the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and Rev. James Wesley Jones.
William received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the American Baptist College in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2000. He continued his education at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, graduating with a Master of Divinity in 2003. While in Nashville, he was an associate minister at the Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church, where he was also ordained, and served under the pastorate of the Rev. Dr. James “Tex” Thomas. In 2003, William was invited to give the keynote address at the Nashville citywide Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorative service at Tennessee State University.
Upon moving to the United Kingdom in 2004, he studied at Birmingham University in England, receiving the M.A. degree in Global Political Economy, the Master of Theology from Edinburgh University in Scotland, and the Master of Philosophy from Glasgow University in Scotland. From 2006-2007, he was an assistant minister at St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh and served under the Chaplain to the Queen. William organized the first Martin Luther King Day service and the first jazz vespers service in the cathedral. In 2013, he was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacraments in the United Reformed Church (URC).
From 2013-2020 he served as senior Minister of 2 congregations: Morison Memorial URC in Clydebank, Scotland and Drumchapel Essenside URC in Glasgow. He served as a chaplain to the pupils, faculty, and staff of Clydebank High School and was a founding member of Thriving Places Drumchapel, a project aimed at revitalizing one of the most economically vulnerable communities in the city of Glasgow. He was also overseer of Friendship House Drumchapel, a church global cafe and support service for asylum seekers and refugees. In July 2018, he gave the closing address at the mass demonstration against President Donald J. Trump’s visit to the United Kingdom at historic George Square in Glasgow city centre, and organized the City of Glasgow’s Racial Justice Sunday service in February 2020. He is also a founding member of the Global Black Caucus of Democrats Abroad.
Ecumenically, Rev. Young has been active with the World Council of Churches and the Council for World Mission. In 2014, he joined the Scottish Churches Anti Human Trafficking Group, and from 2018-2020 he served as chair. He was also a member of the Strategic Oversight Committee on Human Trafficking policy in Scottish Parliament. As an activist he regularly spoke to churches and social justice organizations throughout Scotland on slavery and racism and was a member of the Church and Society Committee of the URC National Synod of Scotland.
Classically trained as a tenor, William was a member of the world-renowned Edinburgh Festival Chorus from 2006-2021, performing every year at the Edinburgh International Festival and throughout the year with the world’s great orchestras. He is also a jazz and blues singer with regular residencies at venues in Edinburgh and Glasgow for many years. He has performed at the Glasgow and Toronto Jazz festivals.
In November 2019, Rev. Young became the eighth pastor of Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ, and began his ministry with them on April 1, 2020. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the District of Columbia Baptist Convention and Churches for Middle East Peace. He is also a proud member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.