In his last known in-person service on March 22, Bishop Gerald O. Glenn told his congregation at Richmond’s New Deliverance Evangelistic Church to stand up. He wanted to show the entire world that they were defying the warnings against gatherings of more than 10 people. “I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus,” he thundered. While his congregants clapped, the pastor then said that at his church, “people are healed,” not made sick.
He admitted that he was being very “controversial” and “in violation” of safety protocols. But, he said, his church was going to remain open “unless I’m in jail or the hospital.” If bakeries and supermarkets could stay open, then the same went for his church. Oh yes, he said, “I am essential. I’m a preacher — I talk to God!”
On Sunday, his church announced that Bishop Glenn had died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new Chinese coronavirus. His wife, Marcieta Glenn, is also sick.
In what won’t surprise anyone, the couple’s daughter, Mar-Gerie Crawley, is now telling the media that her father’s death has made the virus “very real” to her. That’s why she’s now urging people to stay at home. “I just beg people,” she explained, “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.”
That’s right, and that’s exactly why her father was wrong to hold the service despite abundant warnings about the risks involved. We can only hope that the damage will be limited and that no congregants were infected with the virus during the service back in March.
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