Bishop Gerald Glenn passed away less than a month after holding his last church service
An evangelical pastor in Richmond who continued to hold church services despite official calls for social distancing has died of coronavirus.
Bishop Gerald O. Glenn held his last known in-person service on March 22 at the New Deliverance Evangelist Church, where he invited attendees to stand in order to prove how large the audience was. During his sermon he vowed to keep on preaching “unless I’m in jail or the hospital,” according to the New York Post.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam began urging people to use social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19 in mid-March and soon prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people.
“I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus. You can quote me on that,” Glenn said during his sermon.
He went on to say that he was happy to be “controversial” by violating the rules with “way more than 10 people” attending the service that day.
“I am essential, I’m a preacher, I talk to God!” he said.
The church announced yesterday that the pastor had passed away, just a week after being diagnosed with the virus. Glenn’s wife, Marcietia Glenn, is also sick with the virus, according to reports.
Bishop Glenn’s daughter, Mar-Gerie Crawley, told local news stations that her father had initially dismissed the symptoms he was experiencing because of a preexisting condition that often led to fevers and infections.
Crawley is now urging people to stay home and practice social distancing.
“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 said.