A Bay Ridge pastor is being deeply mourned by his community and the many lives he’s touched after passing away suddenly in his sleep of a genetic heart condition on Oct. 13.
“‘Well done thou good and faithful servant’ are the words I have no doubt my brother Pastor Jason Andrew Walker heard this morning when he went to be with his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,” wrote Jerry Walker Jr. in an online fundraiser for his brother.
Pastor Jason Andrew Walker is remembered by all for his passion for serving others throughout his 43 years, including the 17 years he served as a pastor at the Bay Ridge Baptist Church — a post he succeeded his father in.
“As the Pastor of Bay Ridge Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York he epitomized Christ’s love and shared his testimony and his faith not only verbally but more importantly he lived his faith as an example to others,” his brother wrote.
The young pastor leaves behind his wife of 20 years and seven children, the youngest only 10 months old and the oldest in college, as well as his parents, Jerry Sr. and Dawn, a brother and sister, and nieces and nephews.
He was also known as a father figure to the countless teenagers and children that he met via the church, through his youth programs and through the summer Bible school he spent months organizing each year, according to information provided to Brooklyn Paper by Walker’s family.
The youth knew him as someone that could both lend them advice but also knew how to have fun — often greeting them with a blast of Silly String or a water gun. He would spend hours driving across the five boroughs to shuttle kids back to the church so all could enjoy the supervised activities hosted at the Fourth Avenue parish at the intersection of 67th Street.
Walker also devoted his time to the seniors in his community starting when he was just a teenager working at the front desk at Norwegian Christan Home and Health Center in Dyker Heights — where he would practice preaching, giving sermons once a month to the women’s club, and later work as a part-time chaplain meeting with residents and hosting a weekly praise service “Walk to the World” from 2007 to 2009.
“When Jason was a teenager and studying for the Ministry, he worked at the Front Desk and all the residents loved him,” Amy Christodoulou, of Norwegian Christian Home and Health Center, wrote in a tribute to Walker. “He preached once a month to the Home’s Ladies Club where he got practice and they got a good sermon.”
When he became a minister at Bay Ridge Baptist Church along with his father, they created a spring program at the senior center in conjunction with the Bob Jones Academy, a Christian school in South Carolina, and Walker’s family always volunteers for the home’s Christmas Eve festivities.
“The residents loved him and his beautiful family and our programs were excellent because of their part,” Christodoulou wrote. “We were always grateful that they would spend Christmas Eve with us.”
His love for New York City led him to serve as Chaplain for the Brooklyn Cyclones and the Manhattan Detention Center in Manhattan’s Chinatown.
And people around the county and the world may have been impacted by Walker and his family, who volunteer with Operation Christmas Child— a project by Samaritan’s Purse giving “shoebox gifts” to kids in need all over the globe— and through missionary work in Uganda.
Though he kept himself very busy, the pastor was able to keep Tuesday nights for his side passion, playing recreational hockey at Aviation Sports Center in Marine Park — where he played as goalie on the same team as his wife, Lisa, who plays right wing.
Walker’s impact on the world can never be calculated but the outpouring of support shown on the two online fundraisers opened to help out his family could be an indicator — raising $80,000 within five days of launching.
In addition to the donations, many have posted prayers and words of gratitude for the impact Walker has had on their lives from Brooklyn, New York to South Carolina and even Moldova.
The two fundraisers, both posted on the popular donation site GoFundMe, with a combined goal of $250,000 were made by his brother Jerry and a family friend though the money raised will all go to his wife, Lisa, to pay for funeral and living expenses.
A service for the late pastor will be held at Bay Ridge Baptist Church on Wednesday, Oct. 20 at 5 pm.