California megachurch associate pastor dies of COVID-19

Water of Life Community Church, a nondenominational congregation based in Fontana, California
Water of Life Community Church, a nondenominational congregation based in Fontana, California | Facebook/Water of Life Community Church

An associate pastor with a California-based megachurch died days after testing positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement from church leadership.

Bob Bryant, who served as associate pastor of benevolence at the multisite Water of Life Community Church, died on Monday after suffering complications from COVID-19.

In a statement posted to Facebook on Monday evening, Water of Life reported that Bryant “passed earlier today from this life and found himself fully in the presence of Jesus.”

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“So many of you have prayed and contended for his well-being and miraculous healing over the last week and half. It’s been inspiring to watch our church family come together to contend for Pastor Bob and care for the Bryant family,” stated the church.

“Today Pastor Bob is where he has always loved to be, in the presence of Jesus.  He loved God and he loved people with great passion.  We celebrate his life and how he lived and influenced us to love like Jesus loved!”

The church went on to ask for congregants to continue to pray for Bryant’s wife and children, with details about his funeral plans still pending.

A nondenominational congregation based in Fontana, Water of Life canceled in-person services, which often attract thousands of attendees, back in March due to the pandemic.

“Here at Water of Life, we believe that God is bigger than the coronavirus,” stated Dan Carroll, founder and lead pastor, as reported by the Fontana Herald News.

“We also believe in taking the right precautions to ensure the safety and health of everyone who comes to our campuses. We want you to know about the steps we are taking to prevent the spread of germs.”

After doing outdoor worship, Carroll announced in October that they were returning to having indoor worship services on Oct. 31 with social distancing guidelines.

“We’ll also still have some seating outside for those of you who are not comfortable coming inside. We’ll have the big screen up,” stated Carroll in a video posted to the church website.

“I want to encourage you, if you don’t have any underlying issues or anything preventing you from coming back, encourage you to come back and join us.”

Last week, the church posted a message to Facebook from Bryant’s wife, Lori, explaining that she and her husband had tested positive for COVID-19, with his case being severe.

“We were hoping he was turning for the good but things went very bad very quickly today. He has bilateral aggressive Covid pneumonia, suffered a silent heart attack and is having some kidney issues,” read the message.

“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. We are just asking you to pray and believe for Bob to make a miraculous recovery.”

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