IRVINGTON, New Jersey – Family members found the body of beloved pastor Ron Christian inside the same church where he delivered his powerful sermons.
They found 51-year-old “Reverend Ron,” as congregants knew him, inside the Christian Love Baptist Church at 830 Lyons Avenue in Irvington.
A preliminary investigation found no signs of foul play, according to Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray, but a full autopsy is still pending.
Many who attended Christian Love Baptist Church — including celebrities like actor Michael K. Williams from ‘The Wire’ — recalled fondly Christian’s electric delivery and larger-than-life persona.
Shocked congregants mourned his death Friday.
“I can’t believe this! Yesterday Rev Ron encouraged me to do the eulogy at my Dad’s funeral head at Christian Love Baptist Church,” mourned one woman on the church’s Facebook page. “He told me after the service that he was proud of me. I’m in total disbelief!!”
Reverend Ron began preaching in 1997 after turning over his life to God. Christian had battled heroin addiction and was imprisoned for theft in the early 1990s.
As a powerful speaker with a criminal record, Christian had the ability to inspire both the law-abiding and those wanted for serious crimes. After sitting down with Christian, it wasn’t uncommon for those on the run to turn themselves in.
A joint investigation by Irvington police and the Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force is underway.