There were some mixed emotions for hundreds of people Tuesday as they said goodbye to their pastor.
Andrew Pray was hit and killed last week while riding his bike along U.S. Highway 41 in Bartow County. Pray was one of the pastors at West Ridge Church in Dallas, GA.
The family insisted on calling it and treating it like a celebration instead of a funeral and it was just that. It was loud with a lot of energy, just like Pray would have wanted.
It's a loss the community can barely fathom.
"It is sad for sure, but Andrew always told us he didn't do somber and sad very well. He wanted energy and excitement. That's what we're going to try to do," said Paul Richardson, a pastor at West Ridge Church.
And that's exactly what they did through a whole lot of songs and smiles. It was helped along by what many people said was Pray's spirit.
"I think we sensed some of that. We were able to sing and feel some of the energy," said Emily Morgan, a longtime friend of the family.
"This was an absolute treasure to see the church come together and do what I know Andrew would want us to do," said Carlos Whitaker, a musician who has worked a lot with Pray.
And they did it in a way they said would have made Pray proud.
"Oh, I think he would have said, 'That was awesome. You guys brought it.' I think he would have been very pleased," said Morgan.
It was all for a guy they said was special on so many different levels.
"You can't say enough about him. He really was that unique and that incredible," said Richardson.
"He's just full of life - 110 percent all the time and he really brought that. He had a passion that was contagious," said Morgan.
Pray was known for being a very encouraging person. JD Myers found encouragement even after he was gone.
"I wonder what my legacy will be like when I'm gone. Just looking at this parking lot, the legacy he's left is one that mattered to a lot of people," said Myers.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 5:52 PM EDT2013-05-22 21:52:07 GMT
Newton County Animal Control confirms that a fox bit two children on the playground of Rocky Plains Elementary School around 11 a.m. Officials set up a trap in the area, but the fox has not been caught. CBSMore >
Newton County Animal Control confirms that a fox bit two children on the playground of Rocky Plains Elementary School at about 11 a.m.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 6:39 PM EDT2013-05-22 22:39:41 GMT
A Decatur woman who was out with friends in Nashville, Tennessee during a bachelorette party is recovering at the Shepherd Spinal Center in Atlanta, after being hit by a suspected drunk driver the nightMore >
A Decatur woman who was out with friends in Nashville, Tennessee during a bachelorette party is recovering at the Shepherd Spinal Center in Atlanta, after being hit by a suspected drunk driver the night of the party.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >
Friday, May 24 2013 7:39 AM EDT2013-05-24 11:39:32 GMT
Palmetto police department is investigating an attempted abduction that occurred Wednesday afternoon. A 13 year old male got off of the school bus along Carlton Road and stated to police that a man approachedMore >
Palmetto Police Department is investigating an attempted abduction that occurred Wednesday afternoon. More >
Friday, May 24 2013 1:27 PM EDT2013-05-24 17:27:13 GMT
It only took a Fulton County jury one hour to reach a guilty verdict against Michael Parson, 40. Prosecutors said Michael Parson shot his wife Adina eight times outside their Sandy Springs home in AprilMore >
Jurors sentenced the Sandy Springs man found guilty of attempted murder to a maximum of 35 years in jail.More >
Friday, May 24 2013 2:31 AM EDT2013-05-24 06:31:07 GMT
Jodi Arias (Source: CBS 5 News)
It is now in the hands of the 12 jurors to decide if Jodi Arias will live her life behind bars or if she'll be executed. The defense and prosecution gave their closing statement Tuesday afternoon andMore >
The judge has declared a mistrial in the penalty phase of the Jodi Arias trial. The jury announced late Thursday afternoon that they could not reach a unanimous decision on life or death for Arias.More >