Evangelist Wade Morris, a popular youth evangelist who preached US’s largest Baptist youth camps has died of COVID pneumonia less than a month later.
Morris had preached at the camp that had 30,000 campers between July 5-9.
In a related development, some parents whose teenagers were part of the campers complained that their wards returned home from Falls Creek Assembly with COVID infections.
However, the camp’s managers said those infections represented a small percentage of the campers who attended over seven weeks.
According to the Baptist Messenger, the news outlet affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma Morris died on August 3.
As it was unclear when Morris first experienced symptoms of COVID, his death occurred 25 days after the end of the camp where he was the keynote speaker. He died in a hospital in Birmingham, Ala his area.
Meanwhile, the typical course of a severe COVID infection that results in pneumonia and death is reportedly two to four weeks.
“We are heartbroken to learn that Wade Morris passed away. His life, speaking ministry, and evangelism in Oklahoma and across the country, through annual preaching at camps and other church events, have forever impacted countless young people. … We are praying for his family and church family in Alabama, as we put our faith in the Lord at this difficult time,” said Brian Hobbs, Oklahoma Baptists’ communications director.
51-year-old Morris, 51, was said to be an avid runner who completed nearly 20 marathons. It was gathered that he had been battling the virus and resulting pneumonia in the hospital since mid-July. Baptist Press was unable to confirm whether he had received the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Delta variant of COVID-19 has surged across the country as the summer progresses. The situation has made parents began reporting that their children were coming home from Falls Creek with the disease.
It was reported that in the Falls Creek summer camp season, several metro-area Southern Baptist churches sent out emails and posted social media statements telling their members that they were concerned about the spread of COVID-19 at Falls Creek, and church activities had been canceled for several days to limit the spread of the virus.
“Like other organizations operating large events this summer, we adhere to strict protocols to protect the safety and health of our staff and campers. We constantly review and revise our protocols as the situation warrants.
“As the summer has unfolded, many areas of the United States, including Oklahoma, have seen COVID-19 cases increase. Having hosted around 4,000 participants each week, the number of positive COVID cases remains statistically low,” the state Baptist convention said in an issued statement the last week of camp.