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Associate pastor at Water of Life Community Church in Fontana dies from COVID-19

An associate pastor at Water of Life Community Church in Fontana died Monday, Nov. 30, of complications from COVID-19 days after he was diagnosed with the coronavirus, according to a statement issued by church leaders on Facebook.

“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,” the statement issued Monday evening said. “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.”

Like most churches in the area, the Fontana megachurch shut its doors during the lockdown. After having socially distanced indoor services at the end of May and later switching to outdoor services to follow state health guidelines, the church reopened for indoor, socially-distanced services on Oct. 31.

The non-denominational church, which is about 26,000-strong and typically welcomes 8,000 people during weekend services, led the call in May to reopen houses of worship. But the church’s founder and lead pastor, Dan Carroll, has insisted that the church follow social distancing and health guidelines.

Bryant’s wife, Lori, posted on Facebook on Nov. 24, asking congregants to continue to pray for their family. The pastor, his wife and one of their children tested positive for the virus, according to the post, but Bob Bryant suffered the most serious complications.

“We were hoping he was turning for the good, but things went very bad very quickly today,” Lori Bryant said in her post. “He has bilateral aggressive COVID pneumonia, suffered a silent heart attack and is having some kidney issues. They had to put him on a ventilator immediately.”

She also talked about how traumatic it was not being able to see a loved one in the hospital.

“Even when he was having trouble breathing he said, ‘Tell everyone I love them and I’ll see them when I wake up,’” Lori Bryant wrote, pleading for urgent prayer from the congregation.

Memorial service details are pending.

This story will be updated as new information is available.

Source: Orange County Register

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