CLB Church welcomes a new pastor into its fold

Photo by Chris Sykes
Seated center is the newly installed Christian Love Baptist Church pastor, the Rev. Brandon Washington, surrounded by his deacons on Sunday, Sept. 22, at his official pre-installation service, as a picture of Christian Love Baptist Church’s former pastor, the Rev. Ronald B. Christian, hangs on the wall in the background.

IRVINGTON, NJ — The Christian Love Baptist Church officially welcomed its new minister, the Rev. Brandon Washington, into the church during a pre-installation service a week ago.

Back in July at Mayor Vauss’ inauguration ceremony, Christian Love Baptist Church Deaconess Mother Tee said she was excited to announce it had finally found a successor to its former pastor, the Rev. Ronald Christian, who died unexpectedly in 2015. Washington attended the inauguration and delivered the parting prayer at the end of the ceremony.

“He’s dynamic. He’s just like another Rev. Ron,” Tee said Sunday, July 1.

“The previous pastor of this church and I were bosom buddies. Less than 12 hours before the Lord called him from labor to reward, we stood about three hours downstairs in the little office, just having a good time in fellowship and then, the next morning, he was gone,” said the Rev. Johnnie Green of Mt. Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem, N.Y., who served as a guest preacher during the pre-installation service on Sunday, Sept. 23. “That was vintage Ron. If you knew him, he was here and then he was gone.”

But Green said he didn’t come to the pre-installation to dwell on the past, but to discuss the church’s bright new future through Washington’s stewardship.

“We’re honored today to have been used by God to introduce this young giant. He had never heard of Christian Love, he had never heard of Ronald B. Christian Jr. or Ronald Christian Sr. and he preached for us one Sunday, and I said: ‘You know what, I want to introduce him to Christian Love. And the rest is history,” Green said. “I introduced him and I got out of the Lord’s way and God worked, didn’t he? We’re here today because God married this preacher to this church. And he didn’t come by himself. He came with his lovely wife and his family.”

“This church was built on prayer. I watched this church go from 11 members to 7,000 members at its peak. I watched that with my own eyes. Ronald B. Christian was the pastoral phenomenon.”

Green said Rev. Ron’s life, legacy and good works will never be forgotten and he laid a strong foundation for Washington.

“Brandon didn’t come here trying to kill the legacy of Rev. Ron. No one can ever erase the work of the Rev. Ronald B. Christian,” said Green. “What we have is a new leader and an old God. God is in control. We’re not here because of incident or accident; we are here because of divine providence.”

Washington said he is ready to embrace becoming the new shepherd for the Christian Love Baptist Church flock.

“I thank God today for all of the leaders of this great church … I need everybody to see who are the people around here that make stuff happen,” said Washington on Sunday, Sept. 23.

“There are moments when we don’t always agree on everything. … I’m just grateful that God connected me with a good group of leaders that support this pastor, that trust this pastor and I thank God for you and trusting in me setting the vision for this house and I thank God for you one more time.”