Bishop Gerald O. Glenn of the New Deliverance Evangelistic Church in Richmond, Virginia, has died from COVID-19, the church announced this week.
Glenn held his last in-person service on March 22, when he told his parishioners: "God is larger than this dreaded virus."
The 66-year-old pastor told his followers that he would continue preaching unless he was "in jail or in the hospital."
An evangelical pastor who continued in-person services amid warnings of the coronavirus outbreak has died of COVID-19, just weeks after vowing to continue preaching unless he was "in jail or in the hospital."
Bryan Nevers, an elder at the New Deliverance Evangelistic Church in Richmond, Virginia, announced in a Facebook video shared on Sunday that Bishop Gerald O. Glenn, 66, had died on Saturday after testing positive for COVID-19.
"During this time of intense grief, we ask that you pray continually for the FIRST FAMILY of NDEC," a Facebook post from the church said. "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's wife, Marcietia, had also tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Mar-Gerie Crawley, the couple's daughter, said in a video shared on Facebook.
"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 told WTVR.
Glenn's final in-person sermon was March 22, according to WTVR. Gov. Ralph Northam issued a stay-at-home order for Virginia on March 30.
At the March 22 service, Glenn told his parishioners that "God is larger than this dreaded virus."
According to the New York Post, he said that "people are healed" in church and that while he knew his decision was "controversial," he planned to continue holding in-person services "unless I'm in jail or the hospital."
Churches across the country have come under fire for holding in-person church services in violation of stay-at-home orders. In Louisiana, Pastor Tony Spell has hosted hundreds of people for services in recent weeks, and parishioners at a Kentucky church were told by officials that they would have to quarantine for 14 days after attending Easter services.
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