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Pastor heads off to war

Glenn Taylor left his home and family Thursday to go to war.

Taylor, 45, is pastor of Orrville Baptist Church. He’s also group chaplain of the Army Reserve’s 926th Engineer Group. Thursday, the 926th became part of the ongoing U.S. military buildup in the Middle East.

As loved ones waved tearful goodbyes from a parking lot on the Montgomery campus of Faulkner University, the men and women of the 926th boarded Greyhound buses and pulled out on the first leg of a journey whose final destination no one knows for certain.

The 926th was activated on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day. Four days later the group received mobilization orders.

While the uncertainty of whether or not the 926th would be called up has been laid to rest, the uncertainty now is of a different sort.

On Sunday, Taylor preached his final sermon to the congregation at Orrville Baptist before shipping out with the 926th. It was an emotional time, Dawn recalled.

To support him in that belief, the congregation held a special service Sunday night to commission Taylor as a missionary while he walks the difficult road of a man of peace in a time of war.

A handful of dignitaries were on hand Thursday to see the 926th off. A general spoke a few words of encouragement, as did the mayor of Montgomery. Alabama Treasurer Kay Ivey spoke of her father, a veteran of World War II and of the beaches at Normandy.

But, although she tried her best to listen, Dawn remembers mostly the sound of her own heart beating.

The Taylors opted not to take their daughter, Emily, 6, to see her father off to war. Dawn Taylor made the trip to Montgomery alone.

Asked if there are any words she wanted to share, Dawn was silent for a long moment.