Founding Pastor of Maranatha Chapel Ray Bentley Dies; Phil Wickham Pays Tribute

Ray Bentley

Ray Bentley, founding and senior pastor of Maranatha Chapel in San Diego, CA has died from complications related to COVID-19 on January 4, 2022. 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.

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."

Christian music singer and songwriter Phil Wickham was not only close to Ray, it was Ray who first encouraged Phil to lead worship. Wickham reflects, "It's with a heavy heart I write that my friend, Pastor Ray Bentley, passed away today from complications due to Covid. Ray is the Pastor of Maranatha Chapel, in San Diego, CA, where my dad has been on staff as the worship leader since I was 12 years old.

Through Jr. High, High School and beyond I grew up under Ray's leadership and I have much love and respect for him. Always kind and encouraging, he gave me my first chances to lead worship as a young teen and I'm so thankful for his influence in my life. I have distinct memories of him talking about Heaven with so much joy and anticipation. It's mind blowing to think of what he is experiencing right now in the presence of God.

Please join me in praying for his family, friends and the church community who will feel his loss so heavily. So thankful that even in death we can celebrate a life well lived for Jesus and that it's never "goodbye forever" in Him. Thank you Jesus for that Hope!!" 

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