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Simon and Zelda White of Port Chester, Leaders of Joy Fellowship Christian Assemblies

Bishop Simon White and his wife Zelda, also a minister, died Saturday in a crash on the New York Thruway when a van crashed on the way to a church event upstate.

Simon and Zelda White of Port Chester died Sept. 17, 2010 while on their way with parishioners of the Joy Fellowship Christian Assemblies to a religious  function in upstate New York.

Simon White's sister, Elaine Reid, also died in the crash. Zelda White's daughter, Charlene Mandrie, was critically injured.

Bishop White was a leader of affiliated churches in Mount Vernon, the Bronx and Newburgh, NY. 

With a bachelor's and master's degree in theology, Bishop White received a Doctor of Divinity from the Universal Theological Institute (UTI) in 1996 and a PhD. in Christian Education from Faith Theological Seminary in 1998. The Office of Bishop was conferred upon him in 2006.

Zelda White,  also a minister, worked at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Westchester in White Plains, according to news reports. 

The couple had eight children. 

The affiliated churches he founded or affiliated with include Joy Fellowship Christian Assemblies in the Bronx;  Upper Room United Christian Assemblies, Inc. in Mount Vernon; and The Living Word Church of God and Word of Life Christian Assemblies, both of Newburgh, NY.

According to the church website, "Known for his tremendous energy, vision and devotion, Bishop White is not only a dynamic speaker, but also a leader who shapes the entire ministry with his focus on the Gospel.  His ministry has taken him throughout the continental United States, the Caribbean and recently Ghana, West Africa."

In addition to the Whites and Reid, Joy Assemblies Pastor Titus McGhie, Avril Murray and Evelyn Ferguson  died at the crash, which happened when the church van blew a tire and rolled over. Eight others were hurt, four critically; and all remain hospitalized.

Parishioners and well-wishers gathered to pray last night and today, as well as pouring out prayers and sorrow on the church's website.

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