A church bishop may have sung “Just a Closer Walk With Three” unaware he would soon be joining his Lord and Savior in “The Sweet Bye and Bye.” The New York Times is reporting that “Gerald O. Glenn, 66, the bishop and founder of New Deliverance Evangelistic Church in Chesterfield, Virginia” passed away from COVID-19 after holding church services during the coronapocalypse. The brave bishop defied government recommendations on social distancing and continued holding live services for the faithful. According to the Times article:
“I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus.” Local media reported that Bishop Glenn said that he would keep preaching “unless I’m in jail or the hospital.”
It should be noted that Virginia issued guidelines advising people not to gather in groups larger than 10 for non-essential purposes. The fact that Virginia issued a recommendation rather than a flat-out ban was incorporated into a sermon with Bishop Glenn reminding the parishioners (who felt the need to assemble in person rather than watching the sermon via video from the safety of their home):
“I’m glad to be in the Lord’s house. It didn’t have to be this way. The government could have said we couldn’t gather at all. Just imagine if the government had the authority to say, you and me, we can’t go to church. Aren’t you glad you were free to get up and come?”
Before his passing, Bishop Glenn said ““I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus,”
Ironically, Virginia’s governor issued a ban on all non-essential businesses and gatherings of more than ten people the day after Glenn’s final service. Glenn’s faith was unwavering, even as he seemed to be on the express lane of the highway to heaven. According to a story at The Philadelphia Inquirer church Elder Bryan Nevers:
“We still believe in God for healing right now,. Our bishop always told us, even as they wheeled him into the operating room, he proclaimed that God is still a healer. . . I don’t know how, but I have to say: God will get the glory from this.”
While God will get the glory, no word on who will cover the bishop who has gone bye-bye’s funeral expenses.
As more churches grapple with whether it’s wise to hold services and courts deal with whether the freedom to worship applies during a pandemic, this case will likely be brought up in conversations concerning the pros and cons of public gatherings during the coronapocalypse. Do you think it was wise for the bishop to hold church services during the coronapocalypse? Be sure to share your comments below.