Pastor Jay Gooding Sr. is on a mission to stop gun violence, and to spread the “good news” of the gospel.
While leading and providing spiritual sustenance as pastor of two churches – Fellowship Tabernacle in Williasmbrdge, which he founded 17 years ago, and Miracle Revival Temple near the Grand Concourse – he is also one of the leading lights in an anti-violence program based out of Jacobi Medical Center called Stand Up to Violence.
The anti-violence initiative employs people to try to prevent retaliation when shootings happen in communities and Gooding, 52, leads rallies within 72-hours of gun violence to urge a stop to bloodshed. The program, also referred to as SNUG (‘guns’ spelled backwards), was founded earlier this year by Senator Jeff Klein with other elected officals and medical, religious and community leaders.
“I have been called on through pastoring to help families who have lost loved ones tragically,” said Gooding, adding that he was asked by Senator Klein to be a part of the program.
“I believe in ministry, and I look at ministry as being able to serve,” he said of his work. “The reward that I get is being able to serve and maybe save a life. I do about 200 funerals a year and I am tired of burying our young people. But if we can bring ‘life’ to them, and save a life, that is the greatest thing we can ever do.”
Gooding came from a church family. He is the son of the late Bishop Ceacer Gooding of Miracle Revival Temple. His father was pastor of the temple until 2009, when Gooding became co-pastor there with his mother Josephine Gooding. Both houses of worship are now referred to as “one church in two locations.”
His entry into ministry was partially through gospel music, he said. He began playing the organ at age of five, and became the organist at his father’s church when he was 11. While in his teens, he played football for DeWitt Clinton High School.
From 1984 through 1987 he was a member of the award-winning gospel music group “The Ecstatistics.” His music ministry led him to establishing a community choir: “Jay Gooding and the Fellowship” in 1991. The choir has recorded five albums, including a track called “No Stopping Us Now – The Remix Project,” which was a number one single on a countdown of WTHE, a gospel music radio station.
While at times he never thought he would become a pastor, music helped lead Gooding back to God, he said. He preached his first sermon in 1993. Today, he is a Bronx superintendent for the Church of God in Christ.
His community service is extensive, including: president of the 49th Precinct Clergy Council, the executive board of the 44th Precinct Clergy Coalition from 2002 to 2008, executive of Chaplains Helping in Police Situations (C.H.I.P.S.), and now director of community outreach for SUTV. He is the recipient of the 49th Precinct Community Council’s Tom Twyman Citizen of the Year Award for 2009, and NYPD 2013 Partnership in the Community Award.
He is married to Nicole Stacey Ann Gooding, and has four children and five grandchildren. Gooding said that his motto is “life is a gift from God; what we do with that life is a gift to God.”
To learn more about Gooding and his ministry, visit: www.fellowshiptabernacleministriescogic.org