A Virginia pastor who told his congregants, “God is larger than this dreaded virus” died of COVID-19 the day before Easter, his church said.
The New Deliverance Evangelistic Church, in North Chesterfield, Virginia, right outside Richmond, announced the death of Bishop Gerald O. Glenn in an Easter Sunday address by Bryan Nevers, a church elder.
“The first thing I asked God is, ‘Why?’” Nevers said in a speech posted to the church’s social media.
The bishop was mourned by Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., who wrote on Twitter, “My heart sinks as I learn this morning that Bishop Gerald Glenn, pastor of New Deliverance Evangelistic Church, died yesterday from COVID-19.”
Kaine, a former mayor of Richmond, said Glenn was “a friend and pillar of Richmond faith community.”
“May all do as much for so many,” the Senator wrote.
Glenn and his wife, Mother Marcietia Glenn, both tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, according to local news reports.
The bishop had held a service on March 22, where in a sermon given to a crowd of congregants he said, “I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus,” according to CBS affiliate WTVR. The next day, Virginia banned gatherings of 10 or more, but had already been encouraging social distancing. Virginia did not issue a stay-at-home order until a week later, and has seen at least 149 COVID-19 related deaths.
In a Facebook post on Monday, the church asked people to “pray continually” for their “first family.”
“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,” the church wrote.
On the congregations' Facebook page, a picture of the sign outside the church was posted on Sunday that read, “Dear God, We need your help.”