More than a few GetReligion readers have sent us a link to a CNN profile of slain New York City police officer Rafael Ramos.
The headline gives away the reason why:
NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos saw streets as his ministry
The story, published before services for Ramos this weekend, opens like this:
New York (CNN) — Rafael Ramos was an unusual cop.
He saw the streets of New York as his ministry.
In fact, he was just hours away from becoming a lay chaplain and graduating from a community-crisis chaplaincy program before he and fellow New York police Officer Wenjian Liu were gunned down in their patrol car Saturday in Brooklyn.
The gunman in the two officers' killing, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, was found dead of self-inflicted gunshot wounds at a subway station immediately after the slayings.
Services for Liu are pending. On Friday, a police honor guard took Ramos' casket into Christ Tabernacle in Glendale, New York, where an afternoon wake was being held. The visitation will be followed by a memorial service at 7 p.m. ET and a funeral service Saturday morning.
CNN provides a little more insight on Christ Tabernacle (first referenced in tmatt's Tuesday post) and includes a comment from the Rev. Adam Durso, the church's executive pastor:
Ramos was active in his church.
He served as an usher and as part of the church's marriage ministry and life group ministry, Durso said.
"When his team was scheduled to serve, we never worried about whether Ralph would be there with his team to help. He was a humble man and was willing to help at any capacity, helping people to their seats, moms with their baby carriages or the elderly in and out of our elevator," Durso said in a statement.
Christ Tabernacle also figures prominently in a New York Times report:
The Times' lede:
At Christ Tabernacle, a megachurch in the Glendale neighborhood of Queens with thousands of members, Officer Rafael Ramos was remembered by those who gathered at his wake on Friday in many ways, and for many reasons.
Some knew him as an usher named Ralph, a man who had no small task come Sundays. Dressed in a suit, he helped mothers handle baby carriages, steered the elderly to the elevator and personified the “little” in a self-described “big little church” by making churchgoers feel at home.
Others knew him as a beloved father and husband, a cherished friend or a humble servant to a greater cause, whether it be his family, the church or society. Cindy Ramos, speaking at a memorial punctuated by spirited singing and applause, said that being his sister was “the highest honor.” His friends and his church pastor, Michael Durso, described him as funny, gracious and generous.
And all came to mourn his death.
Later in the story, there's this:
Officer Ramos joined Christ Tabernacle 14 years ago. He belonged to a congregation of about 4,000 members but, Mr. Castillo said, “he was not just a churchgoer.”
“He was an active member, a faithful member of the church,” he added.
The officer participated in one of the church’s “life groups,” smaller circles of members who met once a month to socialize, follow a church curriculum and engage in other learning activities. But his primary role was serving on a team of ushers to welcome members, usually through three Sunday services, Mr. Castillo said.
“Our ushers are very important,” he said. “We tell our ushers, ‘The first person they see is you.’ ”
Relatives and colleagues said that Officer Ramos had attended the Faith Evangelical College and Seminary in Washington State and had hoped to become a chaplain. At Christ Tabernacle, church officials said in their statement, “he always talked about his kids and how well they were doing athletically and academically.”
“He loved his family and his church,” the statement said.
From CNN and the Times, readers definitely catch additional glimpses of the church that Ramos attended.
Still, I'd welcome even more precise details on Christ Tabernacle, such as its denominational affiliation, if any, and specific beliefs.