Raymond Bernard Swafford is the son of the late Joseph and Lavinia Swafford.  Raymond Swafford was born and raised in Evanston, Illinois.  Raymond accepted Christ at an early age, where he attended, Bethel AME Church, with his parents and sister, Janis.  His parents emphasized the importance of a Christian upbringing, by reading the Bible individually and as family, attending Prayer Meeting and church regularly (every Sunday). 

Raymond Swafford received his elementary education in the Evanston public school system.  After graduating from Evanston Township High School in 1976, Raymond went on to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL. 

Following his graduation from IIT, Raymond, moved to Florence, AL, and began attending the Greater St. Paul AME Church, where he served as Steward, Christian Education Director, Sunday School teacher, and on the Usher Board.  He accepted his call into the ministry in August 1987.  In November, 1988, Raymond was sent to function as pastor of Hopewell AME Church, Florence, AL, until an ordained minister could be found.  This temporary position became permanent, when Raymond Swafford, was ordained an Itinerant Deacon in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, in October 1989, and later an Elder in 1991.  He remained the pastor of Hopewell until October 1993, at which time Raymond Swafford was sent to pastor Oak Grove AME Church, Florence, AL.

Raymond B. Swafford, has been the proud pastor of Oak Grove AME Church, since October 1993.  Under his tenure, Oak Grove has paved a parking lot, built a fellowship hall, installed central heat and air conditioning, purchased a public address system and many other improvements.  Rev. Swafford's primary goal is that under his watch as the shepherd, the congregation grow spiritually, financially, and physically.

Raymond Swafford is married to Gail Simpson Swafford and the proud father of three sons, Cori, Jason, and Travis.  He also has three grandchildren which he is very close to, Khia, Amya and Jacori.  He is also, presently employed by the Tennessee Valley Authority, where he works at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Athens, Alabama, as a Senior Reactor Operator.