Memorial service for Bartow County pastor killed riding bike - CBS46 News

Memorial service for Bartow County pastor killed riding bike

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PAULDING COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -

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.

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