Bishop Glenn, founder and leader since 1995 of the New Deliverance Evangelistic Church in Chesterfield, had played down the threat of the virus before his passing weekend.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that he was the first black chaplain of that community’s police department and was a police officer before becoming a pastor.
“My heart sinks as I learn this morning that Bishop Gerald Glenn, pastor of New Deliverance Evangelistic Church, died yesterday from COVID-19.
“May all do as much for so many,” U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) tweeted.
Glenn preached in church about the virus in March, before he became sick, encouraging people not to be afraid. On March 22, five days after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) had urged people to “avoid non-essential gatherings of more than 10 people,” Glenn told his congregation that “I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus.”
Glenn’s wife, Mother Marcietia Glenn, was also diagnosed with covid-19, according to a YouTube post on Easter by Bryan Nevers, a church elder who also announced Glenn’s death Saturday night.
The April 6 WTVR report quoted Glenn’s daughter, identified as Mar-Gerie Crawley, as saying her father had been sick for about a week before he was hospitalized. She said he had diverticulitis — a digestive condition — and it wasn’t uncommon for him to get fevers and viruses.
His wife took him for a second time to an emergency room in late March, Crawley said, once his breathing was labored and he was lethargic. He was tested for the coronavirus and immediately got a positive result.
She said her father’s encouraging, well-populated March 22 service was held “not to disrespect (officials) but to support those who were scared.”
She said her parents were both very affectionate. “Mom and Dad are hugging [type] people. That’s what they do, they hug everyone.”