An American pastor who defied social distancing rules has died of coronavirus just weeks after holding a packed church service in Virginia.
The evangelical pastor, Bishop Gerald O Glenn, proudly showcased his packed church and vowed to keep preaching despite warnings against mass social gatherings, NY Post reports.
His last in-person service was held on 22 March, where he brought together his congregation despite warnings from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and medical authorities against gatherings of more than 10 people.
“I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus. You can quote me on that,” he said.
Repeating the message a second time to applause, he added that “people are healed” in his church.
Gerald vowed to his congregation that he’d keep his church open unless he was in jail or in hospital.
“I am essential,” he said defiantly. “I’m a preacher – I talk to God!”
Church official Bryan Nevers announced the passing of the pastor during the church’s livestream service this past Easter Sunday, according to People.
“It is with an exceedingly sorrowful and heavy heart that I come to you this morning, and regret to inform you that last night, April the 11th at 9pm, our father Bishop Gerald Glenn transitioned from labour to reward,” he said.
“Our bishop has been a friend, as well as spiritual shepard to so many of us here at New Deliverance Church, and around the country.
“He’ll be missed by us all. As we enter into a period of mourning for the next 30 days, let us continue to pray for Mother Glenn and the first family,” Bryan concluded.
The pastor is survived by his wife, their three daughters and two sons.