Bishop Gerald Glenn Who Kept Church Open Despite CDC Guidelines Dies of COVID-19

·4 min read
The New Deliverance Evangelistic Church
The New Deliverance Evangelistic Church

On Sunday, Virginia’s New Deliverance Evangelistic Church announced on Facebook that pastor Bishop Gerald Glenn had died. Before his death, Glenn tested positive for COVID-19, the new-to-humans coronavirus that causes respiratory infection and can lead to serious or fatal health complications.

Despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s calls for social distancing, on March 22, the pastor held a church service which he said had 185 people in attendance. During the service he told his congregation, “I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus,” and said he was not afraid to die.

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, 2020 @ 9:00 PM. 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. We will announce final arrangements within the next few days.Be blessed and don’t stop praying for one another.“Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.””‭‭Revelation‬ ‭14:13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Posted by The New Deliverance Evangelistic Church on Sunday, April 12, 2020

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After the announcement of his death, many offered their condolences for Glenn’s family, but others took to social media to mock him with resounding “I told you so’s” and proclaiming things like “stupid is as stupid does.” Some of the posters said they were Christians.

As a Christian myself, this response saddens me. While I do not agree with the choices pastor Glenn made in ignoring the warnings of the CDC, we should not use his death as an opportunity to pat ourselves on the back for how much “smarter” we are than him. Since when is it OK to delight in anyone’s death?

There shouldn’t be mockery or celebration when we talk about this story. It is a tragedy. Instead of mocking Glenn, we should have compassion for his family as they navigate this difficult time. We should grieve for the countless people in Glenn’s congregation who were likely exposed to COVID-19 and may become sick. We should use this opportunity to talk about the importance of doing what we can to flatten the curve.

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In some ways, I am able to understand Glenn’s desire to keep his church’s doors open. After all, a large part of the Christian life is being in community with others. This has even led three Southern California churches to sue California governor Gavin Newson over the stay at home orders, which they say violates the 1st Amendment right to freedom of religion and assembly.

But being physically in church is not the only way to connect with other people. If you are a Christian, here are three things you can do (while social distancing!) to connect with and tangibly love those around you:

1. Stay home.

In the Bible, Jesus went out of his way to protect the most vulnerable people in society. Right now, some of the people who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 include the elderly and folks with chronic illnesses and disabilities — among many others. One of the best ways you can show love to your neighbors is to stay at home. Hopefully, by staying home now, we will be able to stop social distancing sooner.

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2. Pray for and reach out to those who may be struggling.

Because of COVID-19, there is a lot of fear and uncertainty. Now, more than ever, people in your life might be seeking connection and comfort. Pick up the phone and call your loved ones who may be struggling. Send a text to a friend you’ve fallen out of touch with, checking in on how they are doing. Set aside time to pray for health care workers, or folks struggling with their health right now.

3. Share your #JesusChangedMyLife story on social media.

With churches being closed right now, it’s easy to think there are no opportunities to share your faith — but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In the week leading up to Easter, Los Angeles church Reality L.A. asked its congregants to post one-minute videos sharing why they follow Jesus with the hashtag #JesusChangedMyLife. What started as a Los Angeles movement quickly spread to other churches in the U.S. — and even started popping up internationally. Though Easter has passed, there’s no reason you can’t still join in and share your own #JesusChangedMyLife story.

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