Four family members of a Virginia pastor who died from the coronavirus are now battling it themselves.
The New Deliverance Evangelistic Church in North Chesterfield, outside Richmond, announced during an Easter Sunday address that Bishop Gerald O. Glenn had died of COVID-19.
Glenn’s daughter, Mar-Gerie Crawley, said in a Facebook post days later that she, her husband, her sister and her mother, Marcietia Glenn, “are all currently fighting this virus.”
“We will continue to believe God for healing,” she wrote. “I don’t have the words right now to express myself. I pray that God would give me the strength to in the future.”
In a Facebook Live video on Friday, Marcietia Glenn thanked people for their prayers and support and said she and her family were getting better.
“This has been difficult. To say that it has not would be an understatement,” she said. “God is still bigger than this virus. We absolutely trust God.”
Glenn said her family no longer has fevers except for Crawley. “But we believe in God that he’s going to handle this,” she said.
Bishop Glenn held a church service on March 22 despite warnings about social distancing. During the sermon, he preached about not being afraid of death, telling the congregation, “I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus,” according to CBS affiliate WTVR.
A day after his sermon, Virginia banned gatherings of 10 or more. On March 30, the governor issued a stay-at-home order.
Crawley told CNN that she thinks her father is getting unfair criticism for having a church service in spite of the social distancing warnings.
“When he decided to have services, he was very clear in posting signs and having hand sanitizer, and wearing gloves and not congregating with people after service, during service,” she told the outlet in an interview published Thursday. “People were asked to sit six feet apart. Family members sat together. That’s it. After service, there was no talking and hanging around. Everyone left.”
She said her father wanted to preach to give people “a message of hope that it’s OK that this virus is out there. God is out there, too, and we believe that God will protect us.”
Crawley said the family has not had a chance to mourn the loss because they are caring for each other as they fight the virus.