Pastor Kenneth Green was in the middle of a sermon about the importance of persevering during times of trouble on Sunday when he collapsed and died inside of Greater Saint Mary Baptist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Green, 56, whom one church member described as a man known for ministering to the poor and his congregation, reportedly told parishioners just moments before he fell ill that he was ready to meet God.
“And then he had mentioned that, if the Lord called me now, I’m ready to go,” church member Joan Martin told WDSU-TV.
Not long after, the beloved pastor, whose encouraging Sunday sermon was titled, “Down But Not Out: How to Press Forward,” died.
“He took a swallow of water and then before he took the water he wiped his face, and then he looked up like his eyes rolled back in his head like there was no life in his eyes and he just tumbled over,” Martin said.
The grieving parishioner said that “everybody was in a state of shock,” and that unsuccessful efforts to revive Green followed.
“It took so long,” Martin told WDSU-TV. “I think we knew he was gone.”
She said that she will remember Green for being a kind and compassionate man and a caring faith leader.
Green, who was described as “very healthy, left behind a wife and three children. The family is awaiting results from an autopsy.