Ray Bentley, founding and senior pastor of Maranatha Chapel in San Diego, California, has died from complications related to COVID-19.
A statement was released on Bentley’s website, which read, “With grieving hearts, we need to let you know that our dear Pastor Ray went home to be with the Lord this afternoon due to complications of COVID.”
“We are all in shock and heartbroken. We find comfort in knowing that he is rejoicing in heaven with his beloved Jesus. Certainly, he was welcomed with those beautiful words, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant,’” the statement continued. “Please pray for Vicki and their family and for our church.”
The statement added that more information would follow.
Ray Bentley founded Maranatha Chapel in 1984. At its beginning, a group of about 30 met for a midweek Bible study in a local recreation center. Today, Maranatha serves roughly 7,000 weekly attenders across four services. Bentley is also the host of the daily Maranatha Radio show, which has aired on stations across the United States and internationally.
Bentley had just released a book in November called “As the Days of Noah,” an end times thriller novel that is part of “The Elijah Chronicles” series. All the proceeds for the book are being given to the Nehemiah Fund, which “is an outreach ministry of Ray Bentley Ministries that supports and endorses a group of non-profit organizations dedicated to helping and blessing Israel and her neighbors.”
“We were just with Pastor Ray Bentley on Dec 20. He became ill Dec 23, I am told,” said Jim Garlow, former senior pastor of Skyline Church in the San Diego suburb of La Mesa. “He was a very special friend to all of us. He was one of San Diego’s most outstanding pastors. A severe loss. Much shock and grief in San Diego tonight. And across America where he was known, and especially in Israel where he went continually, and where his heart was. Grieving.”
Bentley could be seen actively ministering up until the final weeks of his life, regularly releasing online devotionals and preaching at Maranatha Chapel on December 19. In that sermon, Bentley spoke about his plans for the coming weeks and his excitement for the Word he said God had given him for the year 2022.
“Our God, He invites you into an adventure. That’s been my whole story,” Bentley said.