A New Jersey community is left mourning this week after a prominent Irvington pastor was found dead Friday inside of his church.
Family members of Rev. Ron Christian, 51, found him inside the Christian Love Baptist Church, where he preached to a loyal congregation, unresponsive after reportedly praying. Authorities said no foul play was suspected, but were waiting for autopsy reports to reveal the cause and manner of his death.
“Rev. Ron” as he was affectionately called by his congregation, was a staple of positivity and inclusivity in his community. He was well-known for his ripped jeans, casual shirts and cowboy boots, according to reports, as well as his strong YouTube following.. A former prison guard who battled heroin addiction before being sentenced to prison in 1996, Rev. Ron turned his life around and dedicated his career to uplifting those experiencing his same struggles.
He became pastor of Christian Love Baptist Church in 2000, where the church grew from just a handful to 6,000. He spent his life working with wanted murderers, drug dealers and other criminals, according to the Associated Press.
Now, officials are looking into his death, but praising his life’s work in the interim.
‘It didn’t matter who you were because Rev. Ron welcomed people from all walks of life into his church and into his own life,” Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. said Friday.
Rev. Ron is survived by his wife and five children. We send our thoughts to his family during this difficult time.