Bishop Gerald O. Glenn Virginia Evangelical Pastor at Richmond’s New Deliverance Evangelistic Church dies from COVID-19 weeks after defying orders to stop having mass congregations.
Is God an essential service?
In his last known in-person service on March 22, Bishop Gerald O. Glenn got his congregation at Richmond’s New Deliverance Evangelistic Church to stand to prove how many were there despite warnings against gatherings of more than 10 people.
‘I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus. You can quote me on that,’ Bishop Glenn is heard saying it to the raucous of clapping hands.
During service, the Richmond pastor announced he was being ‘controversial’ by being ‘in violation’ of safety protocols — with ‘way more than 10 people’ at the church — in which he vowed at the time to keep his church open ‘unless I’m in jail or the hospital.’
‘I am essential,’ the preacher told his congregation, adding, ‘I’m a preacher — I talk to God!’
Preachers nationwide continue to hold in-person services despite the deadly risk to their congregations:
Come Sunday, in a Facebook post, Pastor Glenn’s church announced ‘with an exceedingly sorrowful and heavy heart’ that the pastor had died a week after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Also ill, is the reverend’s wife, Marcietia Glenn, who has also contracted the deadly virus.
She is now urging everyone to stay home.
‘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.’
The New Deliverance Evangelistic Church said it will announce funeral arrangements in the coming days according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Bishop Glenn’s passing comes as religious leaders have repeatedly flouted the federal and state guidelines temporarily banning gatherings of more than ten people to prevent the spread of a novel coronavirus. Zealots in Florida and Louisiana have been arrested for violating the orders.
Preachers nationwide have continued to hold in-person services despite the deadly risk to their congregations, while one church in California has threatened legal action to have church doors re-opened because prayer is an ‘essential service’.