Danville, VA - Danville's Westover Baptist Church dedicated their service to honor local officials who've sacrificed so much for the community Sunday.
The special service was the church's first ever Patriot Awards ceremony, a time to celebrate local Christian leaders.
Pastor Doug Barber called the officials Christian Patriots. He said they deserve to be recognized for not backing down on their beliefs, especially when there's a lot opposition.
Sunday morning service was a little different at Westover Baptist Church.
The music and graphics all had a patriotic theme.
"A very moving service, bringing us all up to Fourth of July," said James Snead from the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors.
The church had quite a few important guests. The Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors, Senator Bill Stanley, Delegate Danny Marshall, and Danville Regional Medical Center CEO, Eric Deaton, were all in the pews.
"They have stood for righteousness and we are very thankful, very proud, and we wanted to honor them," Pastor Barber said.
The pastor awarded the officials with a medallion and a book, but also encouraged them during his sermon to stay strong on issues concerning prayer, marriage, and abortion.
"All he did was try to raise the standards for the protection of the ladies that go in there just to raise them to emergency room standards and I appreciate you Mr. Deaton and your stand," Barber said. "You stood for righteousness and Senator Stanley, I cannot thank you enough."
"There's still a battle to fight for that religious liberty ongoing, and it will continue here in this area," said Senator Bill Stanley.
"It means so much to them, to know that people are behind them," Pastor Barber said.
"Sometimes when you know you're right, but the court says you're wrong, it can be frustrating, so it's good to have people like members of this congregation and Pastor Barber to pick you up, lift you up, dust you off and keep you moving forward," Senator Stanley said.
Many of the local officials said they left the service very motivated and inspired. They were thankful for the invitation to Westover Baptist Church and for all of the support.