Slain NYC cop active at Queens' Christ Tabernacle, preparing for ministry

by Will Hall, |
Ernesto Miranda kneels and weeps at a makeshift memorial on Dec. 21 at the site where Ismaaiyl Brinsley shot and killed NYPD Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos Dec. 20 as they sat in a marked squad car in Brooklyn. Miranda was a long time friend of officer Rafael Ramos. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

NEW YORK (Christian Examiner) – When Jaden Ramos wrote on Facebook that his slain dad, New York City Police Officer Rafael Ramos, "was the best father I could ask for," his comments touched hearts around the world.

Officer Ramos was killed Saturday, Dec. 20, along with his police partner, Wenjian Liu, by Ismaaiyl Brinsley who reportedly murdered the two patrolmen in retaliation for the deaths of Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, at the hands of police officers.

Jaden said his dad was there for him "every day of my life," and more details are emerging about why he and so many others thought so much of Rafael Ramos.

"Our hearts are heavy with the loss of a brother and faithful member Ralph Ramos in today's tragic events," read a Dec. 20 post on the Facebook page for Christ Tabernacle in Glendale, Queens. The church is a 1984 plant by Jim Cymbala's Brooklyn Tabernacle. Ramos served as an usher and also volunteered for other opportunities to serve at the 4,000-member congregation.

Jason Ayala, a member of the same church, recalled Ramos loved to be part of youth activities.

"It'd be a comedy thing, to make the kids laugh," Ayala said to the Wall Street Journal. "He was a great member, and a very humble man."

Ralph Castillo, teaching pastor at Christ Tabernacle, told New York Newsday that Ramos' "consistency and his faithfulness to the church and to his wife and to his children were remarkable."

Castillo added that Ramos was "one of the gems that made this place what it is."

"We're going to miss him dearly," he said.

Ramos also was preparing for Christian vocation after completing his service with the police force. He had finished training with the New York State Chaplain Task Force, a collaboration of clergy and lay persons who helped console people at a crisis, and was set to graduate with 150 others Saturday afternoon.

"He excelled," Marcos Miranda, president of the task force, told WSJ. "He never thought he could be a chaplain. He thought only clergy could. So when he found the opportunity to train with us, he jumped on it. He saw himself doing full-time ministry after he retired from the NYPD."

"He felt that police work was in many ways ministry as well," Miranda said, according to Newsday. "He felt he was making a difference.

His family also spoke to his Christian character, saying Ramos would not want revenge for his death and neither does the family.

"We don't blame [Ismaaiyl Brinsley]," Richard Gonzales said on behalf of the Ramos family. "We forgive him," the first cousin told WINS radio, a local CBS affiliate. "The Ramoses forgive him because God forgave us," he said. "And I know if Rafael was here ... he would say the same words -- he forgave him."