Weeks After Packed Church Service, Pastor Is Dead

Virginia Bishop Gerald O. Glenn dies of coronavirus
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2020 12:59 AM CDT
Updated Apr 14, 2020 6:43 AM CDT
Pastor Held Packed Church Service Amid Pandemic, Died Within Weeks
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / ChristinLola)

On March 22, Bishop Gerald O. Glenn held a packed church service at Virginia's New Deliverance Evangelistic despite Gov. Ralph Northam urging residents to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people amid the coronavirus pandemic. By April 11, Glenn was dead of COVID-19, People reports. The 66-year-old pastor and founder of the church made headlines with the completely full service, the last in-person one held by the church, and even said during his sermon, "I got way more than 10 people here." He said he considered himself "essential," and chided the government for "making moral decisions for church members." The Washington Post describes him as a "prominent" evangelical leader in the area.

The day after the service, March 23, Northam officially banned gatherings of more than 10, and shuttered non-essential businesses. Glenn started feeling ill March 25. On April 3, his daughter said on Facebook Live that her dad was in "pretty critical condition" in the hospital, and by the following day she had confirmed both he and her mother had tested positive for the virus. Three of their children and a son-in-law also tested positive, WRIC reports. "It is with an exceedingly sorrowful and heavy heart that I come to you this morning, and regret to inform you that on last night, April the 11th at 9pm, our father Bishop Gerald Glenn transitioned from labor to reward," a church official said during the church's Easter livestream service. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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