Virginia-based Bishop Gerald O. Glenn died on Sat., April 11, due to COVID-19. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Richmond-area pastor was a large figure in the community, and the loss is a profound one. Glenn’s New Deliverance Evangelistic Church was one of the many evangelical-run organizations resistant to recent state and local attempts to curb people’s physical interactions due to the ongoing pandemic.
Church elder Bryan Nevers gave a virtual address on Easter Sunday to church followers announcing Glenn’s passing, saying “It is with an exceedingly sorrowful and heavy heart that I come to you this morning, and I regret to inform you that on last night, April the 11th at 9 PM, that our father the Bishop Gerald Glenn transitioned from labor to reward.”
The news of Glenn’s passing has brought many forward to speak his praises, and he sounds like he was a well-loved and well-respected member of the greater Virginia community. U.S. Sen. Mark Warner released a statement calling Glenn “an extraordinary spiritual and community leader” who would be greatly missed. Speaking during a sermon a week before his last March service, Glenn said that if he died, he would have “God is greater than any challenge that you and I face” written on his gravestone.
Glenn gave his last sermon on March 22, where he reportedly said, "I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus.” That sermon came one day before Richmond officially banned gatherings of 10 or more people, though social distancing practices were being promoted for quite some time. According to WTVR, Glenn’s daughter Mar-Gerie Crawley told people to follow social distancing norms after both her parents tested positive for the virus a week after her father’s last sermon.
Glenn’s passing has not seemed to faze other evangelical ministers, many of whom continue to defiantly say they will hold in-person church services, with God as their only defense against illness. You can watch one of the livestreamed sermons Bishop Glenn gave a couple of weeks ago on YouTube.