A much-loved church leader has died after contracting Covid-19. Pastor Bob Bryant of the Water of Life Community Church in Fontana, California, died just a week after being hospitalised with the virus.
Water of Life Community Church's senior pastor Dr Dan Carroll confirmed Bryant's death in a Facebook post to his congregation: “It is with heavy hearts that we share Pastor Bob Bryant passed earlier today from this life and found himself fully in the presence of Jesus,” he wrote. “So many of you have prayed and contended for his well-being and miraculous healing over the last week and a half."
Bryant’s wife, Lori, posted a message to Facebook on 24th November, a few days before his death, saying that her son had also caught the illness, but did not present any symptoms. Her husband, on the other hand, was gravely ill
“He has bilateral aggressive Covid pneumonia, suffered a silent heart attack and is having some kidney issues," Lori wrote. "They had to put him on a ventilator immediately. He is critical but stable tonight in the Covid ICU. It really is the worst feeling to not be able to see your loved one in the hospital.”
Bryant leaves behind his wife and three children.
In a post announcing his death, Lori said that her husband "fought to the very end".
"Please continue to pray like Bob prays and believe that God is turning this around," she added. "It is definitely not the way that we hoped it would be but he is doing something, God is doing something right now. Pray for the family. I will keep you posted on arrangements for a memorial celebration of Bob‘s wonderful wonderful life!!"
Lori called Boby a "wonderful husband but he was a stellar grandfather".
The state of California has some of the highest rates of Covid-19 infections in America - logging more than 1.2 million cases, with approximately 20,000 deaths. In San Bernadino County, where the church is located, hospitalisations have increased by nearly 50% over the past week.
Pastor Carroll said that his church had experienced "several deaths" among the congregation as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. "It's been difficult but, yes, we try to protect ourselves and guard against Covid," he told NBC Los Angeles. Church services have continued to be held outside, in accordance with official guidelines.