A Virginia evangelical pastor has died after contracting the CCP virus, weeks after holding a packed service in his Richmond church.
Bishop Gerald O. Glenn, 66, founder and pastor of the New Deliverance Evangelistic Church in Chesterfield, died on April 11, the church announced on Easter Sunday.
“It is with an exceedingly sorrowful and heavy heart that I come to you this morning, and regret to inform you, that on last night, April 11 at 9 p.m., our father Bishop Gerald Glenn transitioned from labor to reward,” church member Bryan Nevers announced in a YouTube video.
News of Glenn’s death came a week after the church announced he had tested positive for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
His daughter, Mar-Gerie Crawley, told WTVR that he had a pre-existing condition that causes inflammation of the intestines, so she wasn’t too alarmed when he began to display symptoms on April 5.
“He has diverticulitis, so it’s not uncommon for him to get fevers or you know virus or sinus infection,” she said.
His health quickly deteriorated despite receiving medical care in hospital. He soon struggled with his breathing and was put on a ventilator, Crawley said.
Before Glenn was diagnosed with the CCP virus, he held a congregation at the New Deliverance Evangelistic Church on March 22, where he told attendees:
“I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus.”
The following day, the state banned gatherings of 10 people or more; however, guidelines to practice social distancing had been issued before the ban.
He declared that he would defy the Virginia orders “unless I’m in jail or the hospital,” and he insisted “I am essential. I’m a preacher — I talk to God!”
Glenn’s wife, Marcietia Glenn, three of their children and their son-in-law, have also tested positive for the CCP virus, reported 8News. Two of their daughters and their son-in-law are hospitalized.
“It’s been very hard to go through something like this with the isolation on top of it,” his wife told the news outlet, describing Glenn as a “loving, compassionate, fair man.”
“He just loved people,” she continued. “I believe the Lord gave him that kind of love.”
Crawley is now urging everyone to stay at home.
“It becomes very real to you,” she told WTVR. “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.”
More than 23,000 people have died from COVID-19 disease in the United States, and more than 577,000 U.S. residents have tested positive for the CCP virus that causes COVID-19 disease as of Monday afternoon.
“My heart sinks as I learn this morning that Bishop Gerald Glenn, pastor of New Deliverance Evangelistic Church, died yesterday from COVID-19,” Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D) said after hearing of Glenn’s death.
“He was a friend and pillar of Richmond faith community. May all do as much for so many.”
Plans for Glenn’s funeral “in the season of social distancing” will be published sometime this week, church elders said.