Getting to know you: the Rev. Canon Joan Ford

We’re starting a new series to introduce the “retired” clergy who serve St Paul’s in so many different roles.   This biography of the Rev. Canon Joan Ford comes in part from a profile written by Phil Darby.


Canon Ford arrived in San Diego some 14 years ago, from Northern California by way of London, where she was Director of Telecommunications for the Anglican Communion. Canon Ford has a wide-ranging professional and personal background. Married at the age of 20, she spent many years raising four children and volunteering in the community. Once the children were grown, she decided to complete her half-finished college education, and enrolled at Stanford, where she received her A.B. in Psychology, and her Master’s and Ph.D. in Sociology.

Joan with her children Anne, Dave, Chris and Rich

While still a student, Canon Ford worked at the Institute for the Future, a think tank which specialized in studies of communication technologies, especially the (then) fledgling fields of computer and video conferencing. After graduation, she taught in the Sociology department, and formed a company, Target Technologies, that produced a a newsletter about Artificial Intelligence for the Silicon Valley community. About the time that Target Technologies was asked to merge with another company, Joan felt the call to the priesthood.

After ordination, and jobs as curate and interim rector, Canon Ford served for almost five years as rector of St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church, a parish in an inner city, mostly minority neighborhood of San Francisco.

Her experience in technology led her to a position in telecommunications in the Anglican Communion office in London. While there, she helped form plans for establishing effective telecommunications systems for provinces around the Anglican Communion. She was also co-chair of telecommunications for the 1998 Lambeth Conference. After three years in England, Joan decided that she would like to live in a temperate climate, and after reviewing options in San Francisco, decided to settle in San Diego, where she became a Priest-in-Residence at St. Paul’s.

In 2000, Joan was made Canon for Communications at St. Paul’s, with the charge of forming effective means of connecting to the rest of the Anglican world, both locally and globally, through print and electronic media.

After “retirement” in 2006, Joan took a 3 month break, then returned to St. Paul’s, to become the Canon for Outreach. We have many outreach programs happening, including our “flagship” project, Dorcas House, our foster home for children of jailed parents in Tijuana, MX. She says, “St. Paul’s has felt like home from the very beginning, and I am honored to be a part of this wonderful cathedral.”

Joan shares a house with longtime friend and fellow priest Canon Dorothy Curry, dog Sandy, cat Bella, some koi and goldfish, and any kids and grands who happen to be in town.

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