Tim Parsons: Kentucky pastor dies of Covid-19 as church preaches 'God is in control'
Pastor Tim Parsons of a Lexington church in Kentucky has died two weeks after being hospitalized for Covid-19 even as his church continued to advise members "not to worry" on its website because "God is in control." The Center Point Church announced the news of Parson's death on their Facebook page, with a picture of the deceased.
"We are saddened by the loss of our beloved Lead Pastor, Tim Parsons. He was loved by many and he leaves an impactful legacy in the lives of thousands of people. We are grateful that he is now in the presence of the Savior he loved so deeply and proclaimed so passionately. We know that we are all heartbroken and need each other in this time," the church wrote in its post. Some of the other pastors who have hit the headlines recently include Jonathan Shelley, Stewart-Allen Clarke, Stewart-Allen Clarke and Bryce Brewer.
Tim Parsons tested positive
Just a day before Parsons tested positive on Monday, August 23, congregation member Tyson Steelman shared in a virtual service on Sunday morning. The people of the church, who had been meeting in person, were forced to go virtual due to an abundance of caution following Parsons' diagnosis, as Steelman gave an update about Parson's condition over video conference.
“As many of you know, Tim is sick, and we wanted to kind of shed light on that situation. On Monday, Tim tested positive for Covid-19. And ever since then, he had been quarantining at home with his family. On Friday, the conditions worsened where he was taken to the emergency room. And as of right now, he has been intubated in the hospital,” Steelman said. “We know many of you, we’ve heard your concerns, your prayers, we thank you for your compassion during this time, and we know that your concerns are heard, and we appreciate those… But as of right now, wherever you are, whether you’re in your dorm room, whether you’re in your home, wherever you’re at, we’re asking you to pray,” he continued. “Pray with compassion for a God who heals and a God who is faithful.”
Steelman and the rest of the church community prayed with “heavy hearts” that Parsons would recover to be able to continue doing God's work. “Lord, I pray that you would hear the cry of your people,” he prayed. “We pray that he’s not done, that you’ll restore him back to his normal self.”
Associate pastor Graham Withers released the following statement: “We recognize and deeply appreciate our community’s concern regarding our pastor and our church. We are incredibly thankful that Tim is being treated by the excellent medical professionals that we have in our city. Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to move our worship experience online only this week. Church leadership will continue to monitor the situation and adjust accordingly. Center Point leadership continues to work closely together to care for the Parsons family and our entire church congregation during this time. We appreciate ongoing prayers for our pastor and our church.”
'God is in control'
Parsons’ death came as churches continue to grapple with how to lead their respective congregations in times of Covid-19. This includes advice about whether or not to accept coronavirus vaccines. Church preachers in Bible Belt states like Kentucky, however, have remained silent on vaccinations. None of the pastors want to offend their religious communities, regardless of their own stance on getting the jab themselves, the Associated Press reported. “I would say that the vast majority are paralyzed or silent because of how polarized it has been,” theologian Curtis Chang, who has pastored churches and a Duke Divinity School faculty member, told the AP.
As for the Center Point Church, in a frequently asked questions section on its website, one of the topics reads, "Should I be worried about Covid-19?" In response, the site states: "We don't want to be worried because the Bible tells us not to worry. We know that God is in control and that He can use all suffering to draw people to Himself. We do want to be wise by practicing what the CDC calls 'safe distancing.' We can also look for opportunities to turn Coronavirus conversations into gospel conversations."