Beloved Harlem pastor dies of coronavirus

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HARLEM — The longtime pastor of Harlem’s Macedonia Baptist Church, Reverend Isaac Graham, passed away Sunday after a short but intense battle with coronavirus.

“His last words to me were, ‘I love you,’” his widow Cheryl Graham revealed in an interview with PIX11 News. Their goodbye was not in person.

“I was quarantined away from him,” Mrs. Graham said.

The couple was together for nearly 45 years. Reverend Graham became Pastor of Macedonia Baptist on West 147th Street in 1979.

“The deacons, the trustees, and the congregation they are so heartbroken,” Cheryl Graham explained.

Reverend Graham’s wife first took him to Harlem Hospital on March 16 she said. The longtime pastor was diagnosed with corona its, taken to the ICU and placed on a ventilator until his last breath.

Cheryl Graham was heartbroken, “I couldn’t even go to the morgue after he passed to see him because of the effects of the coronavirus.”

“He was doing good and expecting a full recovery then the word came that he passed away and it has sent shockwaves,” said Dr. Johnnie Green.

As the coronavirus crisis continued, Dr. Green’s church, Mount Neboh, is hurting too. “We’ve had 11 of our parishioners test positive. We’ve had 2 to transition,” he explained.

Pastor Michael Walrond, Jr. of First Corinthian Baptist Church is working on a delicate balance – comforting members while continuing to serve those in need, explaining “oftentimes unprecedented times call for unprecedented resilience and unprecedented faith.”

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