The Shepherds’ Conference—a pastors’ conference in early March hosted by Pastor John MacArthur‘s church—today confirmed that a 90-year-old pastor who had attended the conference passed away from COVID-19.
In an email sent to the approximately 5,000 conference guests, which was then forwarded to me, the Shepherd’s Conference team wrote:
“Our pastor and the conference team is committed to your health and safety at all the conferences we host,; consequently, we want to update you concerning the 90-year-old Shepherd’s Conference guest who recently passed away. The doctors confirmed that he passed away from COVID-19.”
The email added that no other conference guests, Grace Community Church staff, or volunteers “have reported a positive diagnosis of the coronavirus.”
On Saturday, I reported that a guest at the conference, Alexey I. Kolomiytsev, pastor emeritus of Word of Grace Bible Church in Battle Ground, Washington, had died from coronavirus, according to multiple Facebook posts. I also noted that at that time, conference guests had not been notified of their possible exposure, and that Phil Johnson, one of the speakers at the Shepherds’ Conference, had deleted a Facebook post Thursday evening, telling people about Kolomiytsev’s death from COVID-19.
Saturday afternoon, Johnson responded to an inquiry I had sent that morning, saying he had deleted the post because a friend close to the family had said that the cause of death was not confirmed. I then updated my story to reflect the new information.
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The Shepherd’s Conference sent an email to conference guests later Saturday afternoon, informing them that a 90-year-old Shepherds’ Conference guest had recently passed away, but added that doctors who treated him had not confirmed that his death was due to coronavirus.
Today’s email from the Shepherd’s Conference encourages guests to “take the necessary steps to ensure your personal health.” However, it notes that conference guests would be outside the incubation period set by the CDC for COVID-19 since the conference was held March 4-6.
UPDATE: Ray Kulper, a 79-year-old Oregon resident who attended Shepherd’s Conference, died March 28, 2020. According to Kulper’s daughter, Katarina Dooman, Kulper died from COVID, which he had “contracted while attending the shepherding conference.”COVID Confirmation_Shepherds’ Conference 2020_Redacted