The Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church, where Gibbs served as an associate pastor, confirmed the news on July 11.
With a heavy heart, we share with you that our beloved Resurrection family member and Associate Pastor Reverend Vickey Gibbs succumbed to the COVID-19 virus at 7:31 am Central time on Friday, July 10. She had been taken to the emergency room on Wednesday, diagnosed with pneumonia, and placed on a ventilator. The doctors said her heart was just too weak to fight the infection.
Please keep Cassandra and their daughters Cara and Ariel, along with their precious grandchild Xavier in your prayers.
Here’s what you need to know about Reverend Vickey Gibbs:
1. Gibbs Spoke About Coronavirus & Racial Inequality in Her Last Sermon
On June 7, Gibbs addressed the threat of coronavirus and the state of the nation in her last sermon, delivered during Pride month.
“I can say without a doubt that we are a nation that believes in God … but we have yet to be transformed by the receiving of the gift of the holy spirit,” she said.
She described the U.S. as “fractured around matters of race, class, sex, politics and religion.”
“I have to ask myself are we really a nation who is having an argument about how wearing a facemask in the midst of a highly contagious viral pandemic is an impediment to someone’s civil liberties? Are political parties truly thinking that they can make wearing or not wearing a mask a way to formulate a winning strategy for election?”
Gibbs went on to talk about white supremacy and said, “We must wake up to the truth there is no such thing as race, and repent that we think that there is.”
Detailing “poor white, brown and Black workers” being sent back to work at meat processing plants in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gibbs said, “It seems we are OK that 100,000 Americans have died in … four months, which is more people than have died in our military operations since WWII.”
2. Gibbs Was Married, With 2 Children & a Grandchild
Rev. Vickey Gibbs, a progressive pastor, died of pneumonia caused by the coronavirus. She was 57. Her death came five days after she had tested positive, her wife Cassandra White says. https://t.co/LxyrXc0wB7
— CNN (@CNN) July 18, 2020
Gibbs is survived by her wife, Cassandra White, and their two children, Cara and Ariel.
Gibbs married White in a 2016 service at the church. White serves as gospel ensemble director of the Resurrection Metropolitan Community. She told CNN that Gibbs had “exceeded her life expectancy” after having lupus since she was young.
White told CNN that after Gibbs’ passing, she found a list from Gibbs expressing her sadness the pair did not have more time together and reminding her to tell their grandson, Xavier, nicknamed ‘Boo,’ that she loves him.
3. Gibbs Was Passionate About Social Justice
REV. VICKEY GIBBS, 57, pastor at the Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church in Houston, TX, has died of COVID-19.
“As our sorrow washes over us like sea billows, may we honor her ministry of healing…as we continue to be love in action in this world https://t.co/wslOyhTXG1
— FacesOfCOVID (@FacesOfCOVID) July 12, 2020
White said Gibbs worked tirelessly on behalf of those who were marginalized in the community.
She said Gibbs insisted on participating in marches and other social justice events in Houston, even though she knew it would aggravate her lupus.
The Houston Chronicle reported that Gibbs organized protests and a prayer vigil for Sandra Bland, a Black woman who was found dead in her jail cell in 2015.
She delivered an address against white supremacy at a vigil for George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody, a few weeks before her death.
She was also a committed AIDS activist. “Her foray into church life … came amid the AIDS epidemic,” and her brother died of AIDS, the Chronicle reported.
Her wife, White, urged churchgoers to donate to Resurrection MCC Justice Ministry or Children’s ministry in her memory. “They were her heart,” she said.
“Maybe where you are there is a local Black Lives Matter chapter or the Color of Change. Donate money, donate time, in Vickey’s honor. Keep fighting. Don’t accept anything less than transformation. Change the things you cannot accept.”
4. Gibbs Joined Resurrection Church When She Was Just 18
Prominent activist, preacher dies from COVID-19 https://t.co/17MmzNyNLZ
— Dee Scott (@deescott29) July 19, 2020
Born in 1962 in Beaumont, Texas, to a Baptist family, Gibbs started attending Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church, a non-denominational church in Houston, when she was just 18.
Ordained in December 2014, Gibbs “helped grow the congregation substantially in her first few years of membership. She was a fervent crusader for social justice issues, and wanted the congregation to reflect her commitment to accepting any and all people,” the Houston Chronicle reported.
She was instrumental in the establishment of the church’s gospel and African American women’s ensembles and served as the church’s curriculum specialist and Diversity and Inclusion Program coordinator, on the church board of directors and as an administrative assistant.
5. A Facebook Group was Formed to Share Memories of Gibbs
A Facebook group established to keep Gibbs’ memory alive was flooded with messages and music.
“If you want to know what kind of person Vickey was, scroll down the list of members in this group. Notice that there are people of every color, every gender, every socio-economic background, and people from places far and near to her home. She brought unity, not division. She removed walls that others built. She looked beyond labels and saw people. We need more like her,” Jim Winslett wrote.
Scottie Kahiau Shelton posted a link to a video of a Detroit Youth Choir performance dedicated to recently deceased Representative John Lewis. In remembrance of Gibbs, she wrote, “Dearest Rev Vickey, as for social justice, for which your lived your life, I’ll continue the struggle, the conversations, continue to be the word in action for your memory, for Rep John Lewis, Rev C.T. Vivian, Dr King and the thousands of others who put their lives, their bodies in the way. The work is for all of us to do.
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