A popular pastor from the US state of Georgia has died from Covid-19 at the age of 44. Rev Bryant Wardell Raines was a highly respected local activist and leader of the New Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in Macon.
Announcing the death, Rev Anthony Q. Corbett Sr, president of the General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia, requested prayer for the family and noted that Rev Raines had recently become the president of the convention’s sixth district.
“Your prayers and well wishes are requested for his wife, Sister Ilashia Raines along with their family, and the congregation of New Pilgrim Baptist Church,” he said.
Last month, the pastor's brother, Curtis Raines Jr, said his sibling had become unwell with Covid-19.
“FB Family, as many families and lives have been affected by Covid-19, so too have ours. We are grateful for the ongoing outpour of support, unselfish expressions of love and genuine concern all of you have shown,” Raines Jr. posted on Facebook. “My family and I ask for your continued prayers for Bryant for the total restoration of his strength and health. We know that there is incredible power in prayer and that God is a healer.”
Tributes to Rev Raines have been pouring in on social media.
Alexander Montel Gibson, the executive pastor of Lundy Chapel Baptist Church in Maco said that Raines' father, Curtis Raines Sr, "was a household name".
"When he left us to be with the Lord it left a huge dent in our family," he said. "We immediately received the same love, humor, and respect from his wife and his children, especially his successor: the Rev. Bryant Wardell Raines."
He added: "Me and Pastor B. Raines always kept a text thread of laughs, encouragement, and love and to know that he will never text me or call me to joke about something funny we see in a service or him just checking on the Gibson/Glover/Harden family, hurts me deeply.
“We love you and we will forever cherish your servant’s heart and love for your community and the Kingdom of God."