The Spook Who Sat By the Door The Spook Who Sat By the Door

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Va. Beach bishop dies in pulpit after fiery sermon

Los Angeles, CA — The fiery preacher with a booming voice delivered a final message from the pulpit Sunday morning.

“You shall live and not die,” Bishop Barnett K. Thoroughgood shouted in his signature baritone, exhorting his congregation of more than 2,000 members to squeeze as much as they can from their lives before going to meet their maker.

Thoroughgood, 62, wiped sweat from his forehead as he finished the sermon at New Jerusalem Church of God in Christ, sat down on stage, and collapsed in his seat.

Teary-eyed church members embraced and prayed together as paramedics were called to the church on Bishop Thoroughgood Avenue, but they couldn’t revive him, according to members who were present.

“He died doing what he loved,” church member Mable Beckett said Monday, still in shock a day after watching her pastor of 30-plus years take his final breath. “He lived the life he was called to, right up until the end.”

Word of the preacher’s dramatic end spread quickly through the Seatack community where Thoroughgood began his public ministry some 42 years earlier.

News of his passing reached people across the world by Sunday evening. Rapper Timothy Mosley, better known as Timbaland – a longtime church member

whose mother was at the service – wrote to his 315,000 Twitter followers: “rest in peace to my pastor, a true angel, Bishop Barnett K Thoroughgood.”

Thousands of people, including musician Justin Bieber, reposted the message, while others linked to a blog entry that detailed the circumstances of Thoroughgood’s death. Recording artists Pharrell Williams, a Virginia Beach native, and Missy Elliott, who grew up in Portsmouth, also called Throroughgood their pastor and contributed to the Pentecostal church he led.

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