Randy Baker was a humble man with a servant heart who preferred working behind the scenes. Involvement with the civil rights movement during the 1960s instilled in him a passion to work toward justice in inner-city marginalized communities. He was a prolific church planter and teacher. On the morning of October 5, when Baker died suddenly and unexpectedly, students were arriving at Spirit and Truth Fellowship Christian Reformed Church’s ministry center for a class with him.
Baker attended Wheaton College in Illinois where he met his wife, Sue. There he grew to love the city and felt drawn into urban ministry. The Bakers began ministry in Chicago among African American and Hispanic youth, and Baker became the director and founder of the city’s Christian Youth Center. Many of those children, now grown with families of their own, loved Baker and attended his recent memorial service in Philadelphia.
After seven years in Chicago, the Bakers met Manny and Blanca Ortiz. The four became fast friends and partners in ministry until Ortiz’s death 43 years later, just eight months before Baker’s. Together, they became a part of the church planting and ministry development of Spirit and Truth Fellowship in Chicago.
Both couples moved to Philadelphia in 1987, where they planted a second Spirit and Truth Fellowship (which later became organized as a CRC). In 1991, Baker was ordained by the CRC. Several more church plants followed. Bivocational for most of his life, Baker also worked as program developer at the Center for Urban Theological Studies and then as director of education at Whosoever Gospel Mission.
Baker will be lovingly remembered by Sue, his wife of 51 years; their four children, Tammy, Derek, Curtis, and Tanya and their spouses; and by six grandchildren. He will also be greatly missed by the leadership and members of Spirit and Truth Fellowship CRC.