Defiant evangelical pastor who refused to cancel church services dies of coronavirus

An evangelical pastor who boasted about packing his church with people despite warnings from public health officials has died from coronavirus.

Bishop Gerald O. Glenn of the New Deliverance Evangelistic Church in Richmond, Virginia held his last in-person service on March 22. At the time, he had been warned against holding gatherings of 10 or more people.

But he did it anyway.

“I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus,” he preached. “You can quote me on that.” Then he said “people are healed” in his church, which is why he was refusing to stop holding services.

Glenn went on to say that he enjoyed being “in violation” of safety protocols issued by public health officials, saying that he would keep preaching “unless I’m in jail or the hospital.”

“I am essential,” he boasted. “I’m a preacher! I talk to God!”

Then he went to the hospital. And now, his church announced yesterday, he is dead, just one week after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved Bishop Gerald O. Glenn, the Founder and Pastor of New Deliverance Evangelistic Church on Saturday, April 11, 2020 @ 9:00 PM,” the church wrote in a Facebook post.


Glenn’s wife is also sick with the virus. Now, their adult daughter, Mar-Gerie Crawley, is urging everyone to stay home.

“It becomes very real to you,” she told WTVR-TV after her parents’ diagnoses. “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.”

Glenn is one of many pastors who have refused to cancel church services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Just last weekend, Greg Locke of the Global Vision Bible Church in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee held a Good Friday event during which he crucified his 16-year-old son. Two days later, he welcomed over 250 into his church for Easter service.

The week before that, Tony Spell of the Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana was charged with six misdemeanor counts of disobeying the powers of the governor when he bussed in 1,825 people for his Sunday morning service.

Related: Antigay pastor refuses to cancel church, invites hundreds of people to watch his son be crucified