A Virginia evangelical pastor who defiantly held a packed church service late last month, has passed away after being infected with the coronavirus, the New York Post reports.
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved Bishop Gerald O. Glenn, the Founder and Pastor of New Deliverance Evangelistic Church on Saturday, April 11. at 9:00 p.m,” the Church announced on Easter Sunday. “Please be in prayer with us for Mother Marcietia Glenn, our first family & the NDEC church family. We ask that you respectfully allow our First Family to grieve in their own way.”
In his last known in-person service on March 22, Glenn reportedly asked his congregation to stand to prove how many were there despite warnings against gatherings of more than 10 people, according to the Post.
“I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus. You can quote me on that,” he said, repeating it a second time to claps, saying that “people are healed” in his church.
Glenn said he was being “controversial” by being “in violation” of safety protocols — with “way more than 10 people” at the church. He vowed to keep his church open “unless I’m in jail or the hospital.”
“I am essential,” he said of remaining open, adding, “I’m a preacher — I talk to God!”
His wife, Marcietia Glenn, is also reportedly battling COVID-19.
Their daughter, Mar-Gerie Crawley, told WTVR that her father initially dismissed his symptoms because he has a condition that often leads to fevers and infections.
“It becomes very real to you,” she told WTVR after her parents’ diagnoses.
“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.”