Virginia bishop who vowed to keep preaching ‘unless I’m in jail or the hospital’ dies of COVID-19

A prominent Virginia bishop died after contracting coronavirus, members of his church announced Sunday.

Bishop Gerald Glenn, the founder and pastor of New Deliverance Evangelistic Church in Chesterfield, Virginia, died Saturday night, church elder Bryan Nevers said in a video post on the church's Facebook page.

"During this time of intense grief, we ask that you pray continually for the FIRST FAMILY of NDEC," a Facebook post from the church read. "While they are mourning the heartbreaking earthly absence of their family patriarch & spiritual father, they also have family members who are struggling to survive this dreaded pandemic."

Glenn and his wife Mother Marcietia Glenn, tested positive for the virus, their daughter Mar-Gerie Crawley said in a video shared on Facebook. Crawley said in an update Friday that Glenn was very sick but had improved slightly after being put on a ventilator.

“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," Crawley said.

She told Richmond station WTVR that Glenn had diverticulitis and that it was not uncommon for him to get sick or have a fever. Glenn's health worsened despite trips to urgent care and the emergency room, she added.

Despite authorities urging people to practice social distancing, Glenn held an in-person service on March 22.

“I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus,” Glenn told his congregation in a sermon that day, according to video of the service shared by WTVR. He vowed to keep preaching “unless I’m in jail or the hospital," the New York Times reported.

The next day, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ordered nonessential businesses closed and banned all gatherings of more than 10 people. Seven days later on March 30, Northam issued a stay-at-home order in Virginia.

Sen. Tim Kaine offered his condolences, calling Bishop Glenn a friend and pillar of the Richmond faith community in a tweet Sunday.

The church said final arrangements will be announced within the next few days.

Follow N'dea Yancey-Bragg on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/04/14/coronavirus-bishop-who-defied-social-distancing-dies-covid-19/2987693001/

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