The 11:30 a.m. service at Grace Tabernacle Christian Center in Brooklyn seemed like most others there. Sunday school had just let out, and the parade of white-brimmed hats began to fill the pews. The artificial shrubs were dusted off and the maroon recliners moved into place. The cymbals crashed, and the churchgoers began to dance and sing enthusiastically.
But as the breakneck tempos built, three voices were noticeably missing. One was that of the Rev. Timothy D. Wright, the church?s founding pastor and an award-winning gospel singer, who lay in a hospital bed more than 150 miles away after being critically injured in a car crash on Friday. His wife and co-pastor at the church, Betty, 58, was killed in the accident, the authorities said. The couple?s 14-year-old grandson, D. J. Wright, who was also in the car during the accident, died on Saturday night.
Hundreds of church and community members came to Grace Tabernacle in Crown Heights on Sunday to pray for their pastor and pay tribute to Betty Wright and D. J.
Despite the absence of Pastor Wright, 61, and his wife, the service went on. Hundreds of admirers streamed into the church all day; many cheered, ?He is not dead!? And, they spoke of the day when he would again walk past the pews and take charge of the pulpit.
They reflected solemnly on Betty Wright?s death, saying that her impromptu humor and sweet smile gave a sense of belonging to members of the church, which is affiliated with the Church of God in Christ.