A Brooklyn assistant pastor — first lady — faced a tragic death on Saturday, Feb. 18, after she tripped, fell in the street and got hit by an SUV.
According to the New York Post, before 7 p.m., 50-year-old Aracely Courtenay attempted to cross East 21st Street in Flatbush, a Brooklyn neighborhood. Courtenay stepped into a depression in the ground, causing her to fall.
A 58-year-old driving a 2015 Toyota Highlander on East 21st Street started to make a right onto Ditmas Avenue, ultimately striking the Emmanuel Church of God’s first lady.
Courtenay was rushed to the Kings County Hospital Center to be treated for the head trauma she endured but died. The driver stayed at the scene.
On Sunday, the church took to Facebook to inform members of the first lady’s unanticipated passing.
“Emmanuel Family, it is with a heavy heart, that we share with you the untimely and unexpected passing of our beloved Pastor Aracely Courtenay our 1st Lady,” the post read. “We ask that you respectfully give them time to process this news and we will ensure we communicate all needed memorial information to you as a family in due time.”
Instead of canceling, the congregation gathered that Sunday to continue church services. Bishop Joe Nathan Boyd took the podium to begin preaching but acknowledged the grieving assembly.
“For a moment, look at your neighbor and say ‘I know that your heart is heavy. Your heart and my heart, we can make it,'” Bishop Boyd instructed. “And in the center of our heart is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who constantly looks beyond all our faults and he sees a need in us. Today, we pray that God satisfy that need to remove some things out of the way and to cause a heart thing to become easy.”
During the service, cries and shouts from churchgoers could be heard, demonstrating just how tragic the news was to the church and the impact Courtenay had on the Emmanuel Church of God members.
According to the church’s website, Courtenay was a native of the Republic of Panama and the overseer of the Talitha Cumi Women’s Ministry. In addition to impacting the church, Courtenay also gave back to the Brooklyn community, working in property management and pushing to get low and moderate-income families into housing.
Courtenay leaves behind her husband and head pastor, Bishop Curt Courtenay, and her three children, Gesai, Curt Jr. and Kayris.