Bryant, 58, was an associate pastor at Water of Life Community Church in Fontana. His wife also contracted the virus. “It is with heavy hearts that we share Pastor Bob Bryant passed on Monday, November 30th from this life and found himself fully in the presence of Jesus,” the church wrote on its website.
“So many of you have prayed and contended for his well-being and miraculous healing. It’s been inspiring to watch our church family come together to contend for Pastor Bob and care for the Bryant family. … 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!”
Bryant had been a pastor there for 18 years, starting as a youth pastor, The Orange County Register reported. Susan DePaola, executive assistant to the senior pastor, told the outlet Bryant went from youth pastor to “our healing department where he helped care for people who were suffering financially.” Bryant “was on vacation when he became ill,” according to The Register.
Although tributes flooded the church’s Facebook page, remembering the pastor’s faith and charitable acts toward others, some people raised the COVID-19 connection, with one writing, “Definitely could of been prevented. My condolences.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Bryant’s Wife Described How His Symptoms Escalated
In an interview with NBC Los Angeles, Bryant’s wife Lori Bryant described how his symptoms kept getting worse. “Bob got every symptom. He just started to get more and more symptoms,” she told the television station. “Within three hours they were running me back to the back and they were putting Bob on a ventilator.”
The church has held outdoor services during the pandemic, and Lori Bryant told the television station that it’s not clear how she and her husband got the virus.
“I had no symptoms and Bob had most of the symptoms,” she wrote on Facebook. She said the couple and one of their sons received positive coronavirus test results on November 17.
One tribute noted that Lori Bryant would wait in the parking lot while her husband was in the hospital.
“Bob is very very safe because he had some issues with his health so he’s been very very safe and it could be you,” she said.
On Facebook, Bryant’s wife posted the video above, writing, “This is Bob!! Radical lover of God, his family and the next generation.”
In another post, she wrote, “It is with a broken heart and gratitude that I am letting you know that Bob went to be with the Lord at 9:45 this morning. He fought to the very end and so did his doctors and nurses. The love and support, prayer and generosity around us continues to just astonished me. Please continue to pray like Bob prays and believe that God is turning this around. It is definitely not the way that we hoped it would be but he is doing some thing, God is doing something right now. Pray for the family. I will keep you posted on arrangements for a memorial celebration of Bob’s wonderful wonderful life!!”
Before he died, she shared a post that read: “I just talk to the doctor. The muscle enzyme count, that prompted the scan yesterday, has continued to go up. This has the doctor baffled and so Lori is asking prayer for wisdom for the doctor to know how to take care of this. Unfortunately this muscle enzyme impacts all of the body – organs, skeletal structure, everything – it fights against every area of his body. The doctor will continue to do a test every four hours to check these enzymes. They are also checking for seizures although there’s no signs that he has had any. On a positive note they have weaned him off of several medications, including the sedative, and have lowered the amount of medication for his blood pressure. His lungs are about the same, no worse. The doctor said he is at peace but not awake. He is not able to breathe on his own yet.”
Lori Bryant wrote on Facebook that her husband had pneumonia, a “silent heart attack” and kidney problems and was then placed on a ventilator.
Bryant Was Remembered for His Kindness & Faith
The Water of Life Community Church has about 26,000 members, about 8,000 of whom show up for in-person services each weekend, according to The Orange County Register. Church leaders were among those lobbying California Governor Gavin Newsom to allow churches to reopen for in-person services in May after being shut down due to coronavirus restrictions in March, The Register reported. The church held indoor services with social distancing in late May and then moved to outdoor services, according to The Register, before resuming socially distant indoor services at the end of October.
People filled social media with tributes, leaving comments on the Water of Life Community Church’s Facebook post about Bryant’s death:
“Pastor Bob impacted the world especially my family and ministry in Uganda, he stood on teaching the truth from the word of God, I loved him so much whenever I watched him teach online ,he loved God so much in everything he did , we are so sad to loose him but we know that he is with God, it’s very difficult to find people who give their lives to serve God as servants like him, to the family be strong and know that Bob has gone to be with God, and that’s what we all strive for , let’s continue to serve God as he did so that we will also be with God.”
“My prayers go to the family, he prayed for my daughter and when I got baptized for the second time father Bob baptized me and that was an honor , you will be truly missed.”
“Rest in peace Pastor Bob. Your kindness, faith and love for God will truly be missed. Thank you the beautiful words and prayers you blessed me with. You touched my heart so deep and knew just the right words to bless me with. Thank you!! ❤💔.”
“You Helped Me Financially when my Transmission Went Out & Prayed For Me, Several Times Thank U Pastor Bob Bryant U Truly Touched My Heart ❤️ U Will Truly Be Missed I Pray For The Family Peace & Comfort.”
An in-person memorial service for Bryant is planned for Monday, December 7, at the Water of Life Community Church and will also be streamed online, Lori Bryant shared on Facebook, writing, “We are asking that you just use your own wisdom and discernment on how you would like to attend the service and we will be following all CDC social distancing guidelines.”
Bryant is survived by his wife and four children, according to The Orange County Register.