A US Pastor, Gerald Glenn, who defied warnings about the danger of religious gatherings during the pandemic and vowed to keep preaching “unless I’m in jail or the hospital” has died of coronavirus weeks after contracting the disease.
The Bishop Glenn of Richmond, Va.’s New Deliverance Evangelistic Church held packed church services, despite a state order limiting public gatherings to no more than ten people.
During his last known in-person service, on March 22, Bishop Glenn spoke about COVID-19:
I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus. You can quote me on that, you can quote me on that. I am essential, I’m a preacher — I talk to God!
Glenn, 66, died on Saturday night, according to Bryan Nevers, a church elder.
Mr. Nevers announced the death of Bishop Glenn during an Easter sermon, which was posted on the Facebook page of the Richmond-area Pentecostal congregation. He said that Bishop Glenn had transitioned from labor to reward.
“The first thing I asked God is, ‘Why?’ ” Mr. Nevers said. “The bishop has touched our lives in so many ways.”
Mother Marcietia Glenn, 65, the bishop’s wife, also tested positive for the virus, Mar-Gerie Crawley, their daughter, said in an April 4 post on the church’s Facebook page. Ms. Crawley said at the time that her father was on a ventilator at the hospital.
“It becomes very real to you,” Ms. Crawley said on Facebook. “I just beg people to understand the severity and the seriousness of this, because people are saying it’s not just about us, it’s about everyone around us.”
The church’s members held vigil and some fasted for Bishop Glenn, whose death was widely mourned, including by Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia.
Bishop Glenn’s death came as church leaders from Pope Francis to local pastors grappled with the challenges of social distancing. Some church leaders have notably defied pleas from governors and public health officials to shutter houses of worship.
In Florida, the pastor of a Pentecostal megachurch was arrested last month after holding services with hundreds of worshipers.On March 17, Gov. Ralph S. Northam told Virginians avoid nonessential gatherings of more than 10 people, in accordance with federal guidelines on social distancing, NYTimes reports.