The Rev. Charles M. Franklin Jr., a beloved father of five and pastor of Ray of Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland, died Sunday after suffering a heart attack shortly after a communion service. He was 47.
“My heart is heavy, but Earth has no sorrow Heaven cannot heal. I was blessed to have married an exceptional man from which I now have amazing and beautiful children to live on and carry out his legacy. His departure, though untimely for us, was all on time according to God,” wrote Ayanna Franklin in a post on Facebook Monday.
“Ray of Hope, be not sad, but rejoice in having had such an inspirational, vibrant pastor who was devoted to his calling, and represented each of us and the legacy of his father, Rev. C.M. Franklin Sr., very well. We've celebrated 40 years, and our faith journey is not over. We will continue to be a beacon of hope, a ray of light to all who are in darkness and do not yet know their Savior. My husband, my pastor, our pastor preached the Good News of Christ and served God's people well. I love you all, and remember, everyone Needs a Ray of Hope!” she added.
Darrell B. Giles, a deacon at Ray of Hope, told The Baltimore Sun that Franklin suffered a seizure in his office at about 1 p.m. after preaching at the church and serving communion.
“He had a seizure about 1 p.m. The church nurse went in and they were soon calling an ambulance,” Giles said.
Members of the congregation followed their beloved pastor to the Union Memorial Hospital and after waiting for about an hour they were informed that Franklin had died.
Like Franklin’s wife, many of those who knew the late pastor remembered him as a respected and principled spiritual leader.
“He was his father’s only son and he was born to be a preacher,” the Rev. Alfred C.D. Vaughn, pastor of Sharon Baptist Church and a family friend who was a classmate of the senior Rev. Franklin, told The Baltimore Sun. “He fell right into his father’s footsteps. He was one of the kindest, most gentle-hearted and compassionate persons you could ever hope to meet.”
State Delegate Talmadge Branch told the publication he was shocked by the preacher’s death.
“He was a caring guy who led his church well. He had a total belief in what he was doing. He was an active pastor and was always coming up with a new project for his congregation. He believed in community activism,” Branch said.
“He knew his members by name,” Branch added. “His style of preaching mixed in humor. He would tell jokes in the pulpit — and talk about what it was like growing up as a pastor’s son. He was well respected.”
The Christian Post reached out to Franklin’s church for further comment on his passing Friday morning but no one was immediately available.
Visitation for Franklin will be held on Sunday, Feb. 17 at Ray of Hope Baptist Church from 2 – 7 p.m. Service location is pending.