Bishop Gerald O. Glenn, an evangelical pastor in Virginia, has died from the coronavirus just a few weeks after he showed off his packed church and said he'd keep delivering sermons "unless I'm in jail or the hospital." Note that Glenn is not the first church leader in the state to die after downplaying the virus' severity.
The New York Post reports that Glenn performed his final known in-person service at Richmond's New Deliverance Evangelistic Church on March 22. It was during that service that he asked congregants to stand in an effort to prove how many showed up despite warnings against more than 10 people gathering.
Though the state had been urging social distancing at that point, Glenn's comments came a mere day before a ban was put in place to stop gatherings of 10+.
“I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus. You can quote me on that,” he said, prior to repeating it.
The Post says he announced that he was being "controversial," by violating safety guidelines.
“I am essential,” he said. “I’m a preacher — I talk to God!”
Fast forward to this most recent Sunday and his church said, "with an exceedingly sorrowful and heavy heart" that Glenn had died just a week after getting a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
His wife has also reportedly contracted the virus.
Their daughter, Mar-Gerie Crawley, said that her father initially mistook his COVID-19 symptoms. "He has diverticulitis, so it's not uncommon for him to get fevers or you know virus or sinus infection," she said, according to WTVR.
Nevertheless, she said that his health continued to get worse, even after visits to urgent care and the ER.
She further says her dad's sermon was to support those who were scared, and wasn't intended as mockery towards the state's advice.
She's now urging others to stay home.
“I just beg people to understand the severity and the seriousness of this," she said. "[B]ecause people are saying it’s not just about us, it’s about everyone around us.”