Batesville pastor dies after COVID diagnosis

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BATESVILLE, Miss. — A Batesville church is mourning the loss of their pastor to COVID-19.

On December 15th, Concord Missionary Baptist Church in Batesville, MS lost their rock and leader: Pastor Christopher Townsend, Sr.

“This hurts really bad,” said Townsend’s sister LaMeisha Wright.

Deacon Gregory Franklin says the Batesville native became pastor five years ago and since then he preached the importance of giving back.

“He was a man that walked humbly before his lord. And he was a kind person,” said Franklin, chairman of the deacon’s ministry. “He was involved in programs that would help other people. So, it’s not just Concord that’s saddened, but I would say the whole community is saddened.”

“He always had his words of encouragement whether you liked them or not. He’s going to let you know,” Wright said.

Wright says he was diagnosed with COVID-19 around December 5th — which was his 50th birthday. Wright says it’s believed he may have contracted the virus from a family member.

But a positive diagnosis didn’t stop the pastor from spreading the gospel to his congregation virtually from his home.

“You knew that he wasn’t feeling 100%. Yet, he was giving 100%,” Franklin said.

Wright says at first his symptoms were minor, but his condition deteriorated.

“I just don’t know what happened to make it just turn around so suddenly,” Wright said.

She says having grown up in a church, he always worked to uplift others. Church members say they plan on continuing that.

“If we want to continue his legacy, then the thing for us to do is bounce up and keep doing the work that he was doing when he was here,” Franklin said.

The visitation service will be held Sunday, December 20 at Cooley’s Mortuary from 2:00pm to 5:00pm.

The funeral will be noon on Monday, December 21 at Olive Ray M.B. Church Cemetery, 1422 Plum Point Road in Pope. The drive-by processional will leave Concord M.B. Church at 10:45 am Monday.

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