Essex Mourns the Reverend Ron Christian

Rev. Ron Christian, Pastor of the Christian Love Baptist Chruch in Irvington, N. J., delivers his sermon on the first Sunday in 2009. Christian, who was once a prison guard and drug addict, took over the church in 2001.  Since then it has grown from 12 members to over 5,000 members. Many members are former drug addicts and criminals.  Christian is hailed by citizens as well as politicians and community leaders for his work.  Photo by Timothy Ivy of the New York Times

Rev. Ron Christian, Pastor of the Christian Love Baptist Chruch in Irvington, Photo by Timothy Ivy of the New York Times

The death of the Reverend Ron Christian of Christian Love Church today shocked the community in and around Irvington, where the late Reverend Christian was a much sought-after political ally.

Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo was the reverend’s highest profile political ally in Essex.

“Rev. Ron was a very special and tremendous individual,” DiVincenzo said in a statement. “His energetic sermons spiritually motivated his congregation at Christian Love Baptist Church and his dynamic personality and kind words inspired everyone he met. 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. He was a very dear friend and we will miss him greatly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”

The reverend welcomed then-Governor Jon Corzine to his church in 2009, and late opened the doors of Christian Love to Gov. Chris Christie.

Essex Mourns the Reverend Ron Christian