The lead pastor and founder of a local church has died of complications of COVID-19, one day after doctors removed him from life support.The Rev. Dennis Turner, who was the founder and lead pastor at Christ Church, a nondenominational church 14242 E. 21st St. North, died on Saturday morning, according to a post on the church’s Facebook page.“The family shared that there was a great peace in the room as they sat with him,” the post read. “There was blessing even in the time of sadness.”
On Thursday, the church shared a post explaining that Turner, 58, had been receiving treatment for COVID complications but that the doctors said that there was nothing more that they could do medically and that they would be removing life support on Friday. The post asked church members to pray that Turner would be able to breathe on his own.
Turner was originally diagnosed with COVID-19 and admitted to the hospital in late July.
“As a church family we will mourn our loss and yet celebrate his life and the fact that he is now with his Lord and Savior,” read the church’s post announcing his death on Saturday. The church opened on Sunday morning for 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services.
Christ Church was previously known as Eastside Community Church but Turner changed the name in 2016. The church first opened in 1993 and operated in several places around town, including Coleman Middle School and Wichita Collegiate School, before moving to its current address in 2006.
On Sunday, commenters on the church’s Facebook page expressed their grief about Turner’s passing.
“Dennis helped save my marriage,” one person wrote.
“Pastor Dennis was the greatest leader I’ve ever known,” wrote another.
Representatives from the church declined to be interviewed about Turner’s death. In a Facebook message, his wife, Cathy, said her husband was “loved by rich and poor… here and around the world.
“Words will never express all that he was to me, our family, friends, the church and the community.” she said.