An evangelical pastor in Virginia, Gerald Glenn, who refused to stop holding church services in spite of state warnings died of the coronavirus on Sunday after fighting for his life in a hospital for about a week.
Glenn’s daughter, Mar-Gerie Crawley, told local news WTVR that her father had at the beginning of the symptoms, dismissed concerns. Glenn had an underlying condition that often led to fever.
The deceased bishop, who contravened Virginia’s prohibition of meetings of more than 10 people, asked his church members to stand so viewers could see they far outnumbered the restriction.
“I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus. You can quote me on that,” he told his congregation. He then added that “people are healed” in his church.
Bishop Glenn also boasted, calling himself an “essential” worker. “I’m a preacher — I talk to God!” he maintained.
That was on March 22. Bishop Glenn said he was being “controversial” and vowed to keep preaching “unless I’m in jail or the hospital.”
On April 4, he was hospitalized when his condition became severe. A church elder announced Bishop Glenn’s passing in an Easter sermon posted on the Facebook page of the New Deliverance Evangelistic Church.
Crawley, in her interview with WTVR said she told her parents after her father was diagnosed with the disease, “it becomes very real to you.”
“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,” she added.
Tributes to Bishop Glenn came from around the state with one from Senator Tim Kaine who tweeted: “My heart sinks as I learn this morning that Bishop Gerald Glenn, pastor of New Deliverance Evangelistic Church, died yesterday from COVID-19. He was a friend and pillar of Richmond faith community. May all do as much for so many.”