New York Magazine

He’s Lost Seven Parishioners, and 20 Are Sick

ON PALM SUNDAY, the Reverend Dr. Johnnie Green put on a black suit, hung a silver cross around his neck, and sat at his dining-room table. The past few weeks had been the most difficult of his 40 years in the ministry. He’d lost seven members of his congregation, six to COVID-19. Twenty had tested positive. Fifteen miles from the New Jersey home where he was quarantined with his wife and one of his two sons, his church, Mount Neboh Baptist in Harlem, was empty. Sitting before his computer, he welcomed worshippers to a Facebook Live service. “We can’t thank God enough for sparing our lives,” he said, smiling broadly at the camera. “I’m thankful to be alive. I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m thankful the Lord has spared our lives another day. It’s another day’s journey, and I’m glad about it, and you ought to be glad about it.”

It was his third Sunday leading a virtual service. Some 400 worshippers joined him live, and another 1,500 watched the service later in the day. As he sang “Amazing Grace” are the church.”

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