The Rev. Beresford Bailey, a Baptist pastor who brought to the embattled neighborhood of West Hill spiritual sustenance and a dose of hopefulness delivered in a lilting Jamaican accent, died Monday at his Colonie home after an extended struggle with dementia. He was 86.
Bailey came to Albany in 1970 to take a job as executive director of Camp Opportunities, located at Lawson Lake in Feura Bush. He held the post for 39 years and introduced two generations of inner-city young people to the pleasures of the outdoors in rural Albany County.
In 1982, Beresford founded the Star of Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church on Clinton Avenue in West Hill. He retired from the pulpit in June and was honored with a resolution by the Common Council, among several honors for his community activism.