ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Jeremy Reynalds, founder of Joy Junction, the state’s largest homeless shelter, was remembered during his memorial service Tuesday as compassionate, determined, a visionary, someone who influenced public opinion and a true believer in his faith.
More than 300 people attended the afternoon memorial at Calvary of Albuquerque, among them family, friends, fellow pastors, former and current residents and employees of Joy Junction, and city and county officials, including Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller.
Reynalds, 60, died late last Tuesday after a long illness. Joy Junction, founded in 1986, today provides meals and shelter for up to 300 people a night.
Skip Heitzig, senior pastor at Calvary, said he regularly met with Reynalds and other pastors to talk about issues affecting the community. “The man who cared so much for the homeless is now finally home,” Heitzig told those gathered. “This man was a visionary, with a big vision and an unrelenting vision, and he’d always play that note over and over again until the people around him got the message. The message was, ‘I care for the poor and the homeless, you should too.'”
Heitzig went on to clarify that Reynalds did not die. “It would be more apt and accurate to say Jeremy moved. In the days ahead people will say so sorry you’ve lost your father, your husband, your friend; but something isn’t lost when you know exactly where it is. Jeremy isn’t lost. We didn’t lose him, he just beat us there.”
Long time friend, Erica Ferraro read from the Maya Angelou poem, “When Great Trees Fall.” She called Reynalds “compassionate, determined and a true reservoir of goodness.” She also read a verse from the Gospel of Matthew that was particularly apropos in honoring someone who devoted his life in service to the less fortunate: “‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me.'”