Waterbury pastor opens up about the loss of a beloved parishioner to coronavirus


WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — News 8’s LaSalle Blanks spoke with a Waterbury pastor who lost a beloved parishioner to COVID-19 over the weekend, just as the number of coronavirus-related deaths jump in the Brass City.

Late Tuesday, Mayor Neil O’Leary officially delivered the bad news — the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Waterbury is 384; the number of COVID-19-related deaths in Waterbury has jumped to 17.

That includes two members of the same family.

News 8 was at Grace Baptist Church Tuesday interviewing Senior Pastor Rev. Kristopher S. Reece. He knows all about the painful situation in Waterbury. Monday, he found out about the loss of a beloved church member who passed away from the coronavirus — 82-year-old Archie Ellington.

“She was always encouraging people — loved children,” Rev. Reece said. “I got the news yesterday. My heart broke.”

Rev. Reece has been consoling Ms. Ellington’s family. But, as he later told News 8 after we left the church, her family is now experiencing even more pain because of the coronavirus. The Pastor reported the family believes another relative, who had the virus, passed it along to Ms. Ellington, and that that family member also died as a result of the virus Tuesday.

“I’m grieving, the family’s grieving, because it hits home,” he said.

Rev. Reece has managed to use social media and Bible study conference calls to continue to be there spiritually for his congregation. But, he knows one key way to bring down the coronavirus numbers is to engage in social distancing and stay home.

In a cruel sign of the times, however, he knows the virus will also prevent a proper goodbye to an outstanding disciple.

“We’re not really able to celebrate [Ms.Ellington’s] life the way that it should be celebrated and that’s painful for me,” he said. “But it’s very important to listen to the leaders and medical experts.”

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