The last thing Shannon Barrett told her father was to fight.
“I said, ‘Do your best. You fight. You hear me? You fight,’” she said. “And his last words to me were, ‘I’m going to fight the good fight of faith.’ …
“And he did just that. He fought the good fight of faith his whole life.”
Her father, Terry Joel Barrett, died just two weeks later, Jan. 31, of COVID-19 at the W.J.B. Dorn veterans hospital in Columbia. He lived 69 years of service — as an Army soldier, a sheriff’s officer, a pastor and a chaplain. Above all, he was known as a man of faith.
His wife, Kathleen, the woman he loved for 46 years, is in the hospital now fighting the same virus that took his life so suddenly.
“She’s a fighter. We are praying. Our faith is in God, which we learned that from our father,” said Shannon, the youngest of the Barretts’ three children. “I’m not going to lie to you — right now, it’s very tough. We are just leaning and depending on the presence of God.”
Barrett was a man of the cloth and of the uniform, a man of faith and of service. As a chaplain for the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and the pastor of a Columbia church, Barrett brought closure and comfort to victims of crimes, mentorship and guidance to fellow officers of the law, teaching and encouragement to his family, friends and congregation.
Barrett knew the word of God well, but he didn’t just know what it said; he mixed knowledge with faith, believing deeply in the truth and power of the scriptures. That’s what he urged his congregation to do in one of his later sermons at Resurrection Life Ministries church, delivered last fall.
Teaching from the book of Hebrews on Nov. 15, he encouraged his congregation to have faith in the things that haven’t yet come to pass, and he asked them to rest in the assurance of God’s faithfulness.
“If he goes through it with me,” Barrett said, “as long as he is with me, I know that I’m going to make it, because that’s just what he does. He won’t leave you alone. He won’t forsake you. But he’ll always be there with you.”
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SOURCE: The State, Sarah Ellis