My first Sunday as the new senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Columbia was July 8. Just three days later, I found out that one of my parishioners, Sterling Wyatt, had been killed in Afghanistan.
The Wyatt family is dearly loved by our church, and their loss reverberated throughout our congregation as waves of grief rolled over us. Then, we were shocked by the news that protesters might be coming.
But on Saturday, instead of seeing protesters from my office window at the church, I saw a beautiful display of patriotism, respect and love as thousands of you surrounded our church in a red wall of support.
I want to thank you for your kindness toward the Wyatt family and our church. Columbia, you made a lasting first impression; I am proud to call myself one of you.
Carol McEntyre is the senior pastor at First Baptist Church in downtown Columbia.