ALBEMARLE, N.C. — A Stanly County pastor died from COVID-19 complications on Wednesday, according to another local pastor.
Pastor Joe Smith, 72, of Immanuel Baptist Church died after several weeks in the hospital. He was also the chaplain at Atrium Health in Albemarle.
In an emotional address, his son Stephen Smith, thanked members and everyone for their prayers and support.
“I believe everybody in here has at least one story that they can tell of how dad helped them," he said. “I don’t believe you can understand the love, the love my dad has for this church.”
Loved ones didn’t want to focus on the virus but rather Smith’s impact on the community.
“Joe was a man with a huge heart who loved Jesus Christ,” Chairman of the Deacon Board, Robert Farlow, told Channel 9′s Ken Lemon. “He touched so many lives that we don’t know about that he never spoke of. He never boasted of.”
Smith’s family said he quoted Psalm 23 every day when he was well and repeated it multiple times a day in the hospital. They understood that the virus was getting the best of him.
“They were telling him to run to Jesus. Don’t wait. Don’t hold back. We believe that as soon as he took his last breath he was in the presence of Christ," Farlow said.
He said it doesn’t make the pain of losing a dear friend and pastor easier, but it offers some comfort.
Family members are preparing for a visitation Friday and a memorial service Saturday. Pastor Smith’s son will lead the Sunday service.
Channel 9 does know the church was shut down for quarantine for two weeks after Pastor Smith’s diagnosis. The health department said they did perform contact tracing when they were alerted about Smith’s case.
Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.
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