Pastor: ‘A Celebration of Life in Lights’ will be ‘a great way to help people to heal’

Published 8:00 am Saturday, November 20, 2021

A local pastor says sometimes the best help for hurting people is other hurting people, so he is working with other community members to host a memorial celebration in downtown Brookhaven.

The Rev. Phillip Sterling, senior pastor at Grace Community Church, said he was hurting — for himself and others in the Brookhaven and Lincoln County communities.

“I know I have been to at least 30 funerals in the past month or so,” Sterling said. “People have lost loved ones. The holiday seasons are hard for them. A lot of times they feel alone more than usual.”

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The pastor was trying to find a way to help and says God answered him when he prayed.

“This is what God gave me,” he told the Brookhaven Board of Aldermen Tuesday. “Hold an event downtown where people who have lost loved ones can come together and heal.”

On Thursday, Dec. 9, beginning at 6:30 p.m. “A Celebration of Life in Lights” will begin outside the Veterans Memorial Museum on South Whitworth Avenue. The focus is to remember those who have died throughout the COVID pandemic — though not necessarily solely because of the virus — and celebrating their lives as people come together as a community of one. Attendees are asked to bring cell phones, flashlights or candles along with a photo of their deceased loved one.

“Bring your lights. We’ll have a short program,” Sterling said. “I’ve got a great core group of people who are helping me to plan this. We’re going to have a memorial tree set up throughout the holiday season that will have lights on it. I think it will be a great way to help people to heal.”

“I wanted to come by and ask you for your prayers, your blessings, your support and your ideas to maybe even make this an annual event. To let people know that others are hurting,” Sterling told the board. “Sometimes the best help for hurting people is other hurting people, because they truly, really truly understand.”