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US bishop who defied lockdown and held church service dies of coronavirus

Bishop Gerald O. Glenn from Virginia held a church service with more than a dozen people on 22 March. He contracted the virus a week later.

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New Delhi: A 66-year-old bishop from the US state of Virginia, who refused to follow lockdown protocols and continued preaching despite the coronavirus pandemic, died Saturday after contracting Covid-19.

Gerald O. Glenn, founder and pastor of the New Deliverance Evangelistic Church in Richmond, died just weeks after holding a service at his church on 22 March. He proudly showed off the fact that more than a dozen people had attended the service and also vowed that he would keep preaching “unless I’m in jail or the hospital.”

The service was in clear violation of the protocols issued by the Virginia authorities that banned a gathering of more than 10 people

According to the New York Post, Glenn said, “I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus.” He added that  “people are healed” in his church.

Glenn also called himself an essential service and said, “I’m a preacher — I talk to God!”

Also read: Louisiana pastor, arrested once for defying stay-home orders, continues with church service

Wife also diagnosed with Covid-19, daughter urges people to stay home

In a video message to all of its members Sunday, the church announced Glenn’s demise and asked everyone to pray for the rest of the family.

In a Facebook live on 3 April, his daughter Mar-Gerie Crawley explained that her father was hospitalised and was in “pretty critical condition”. The next day she said that both her father and mother Marcietia Glenn had tested positive for the virus. Bishop Glenn passed away a week later on 11 April.

Speaking to the local news after her father’s demise, Crawley urged people to stay home and said, “It becomes very real to you. I just beg people 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.”

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine also tweeted that his heart sank when he heard the news of the Bishop’s demise and said Glenn “was a friend and pillar of Richmond faith community.”

Several religious institutions across the world defied coronavirus protocols and became ‘super-spreaders’ of the virus. In South Korea, a 61-year-old woman, who was coronavirus positive, attended a church service leading to a rapid surge of coronavirus cases in the country. In India as well, an event organised by the Tablighi Jamaat in Delhi became a coronavirus cluster and infected hundreds of people.

Also read: Coronavirus infections rise across the globe, total cases likely more than 2 million


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