Reverend Mark Pafford


Since 2013, the Rev. Mark C. Pafford functioned on a part-time basis as minister and to the Unitarian-Universalist Congregation of Cookeville (UUCC). On Sunday, May 3, 2015, the UUCC Congregation unanimously voted to hire Rev. Pafford as its very first pastor. We are very pleased to have this multi-talented man to help guide us on our spiritual journey.

Rev. Pafford earned his Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School in 1999. At the time, Rev. Pafford was serving as a United Methodist Minister. Over the next decade. Rev. Pafford gained additional pastoral experience by enrolling in Clinical Pastoral Education and served as a hospital chaplain. After completing a two-year chaplain residency, Rev. Pafford served diverse populations as a psychiatric and hospice chaplain. A large part of Rev. Pafford’s ongoing spiritual and In

ter-faith practice includes studies in the Sufi tradition of the Sufi Order International, founded by Pir o Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan.

After leaving the United Methodist Church in June 2013, Rev. Pafford was ordained by the Interfaith Chaplaincy Institute in Berkley, California, in December 2013 . December 2016 saw Rev. Pafford earning his Master of Counseling degree from Trevecca in Nashville, Tennessee. In addition to these studies, Rev. Pafford is a certified spiritual director through the Jungian based Haden Institute since 2012.

Rev. Pafford is looking forward to completing the fellowship process and ordination in the Unitarian Universalist tradition. A native of Middle Tennessee, Rev. Pafford resides in Smithville with his wife and their four children.You may contact Rev. Pafford at

Now, a few words from Rev. Pafford:

“Welcome Friend,

As a member of this community, I extend this welcome to each of you as you explore and search for a safe and affirming space within the larger Upper Cumberland and Cookeville community. It was not all that long ago that I was searching for a community of folks that could embrace me and accept me just the way I was. I found just such a place among the people of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Cookeville. The hospitality I experienced and the absence of pressures to conform convinced me to return again and again. I eventually called this church “Home.”

As a minister to this congregation and the surrounding community, I have come to love the life experiences and challenges we share as a covenant community. I cherish the friendships we have cultivated and the work we have accomplished together. When you come for a visit, it is my hope and aim that you will know that you are valued and accepted just as you are.

Salaam, Peace, Shalom,

Rev. Mark C. Pafford

You can read Reverend Pafford’s blog, A Kindled Word, at this link.