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In what has been a string of local authors publishing work in recent months, another Washington County native, Dr. Terry Lester, recently completed a piece, “Weeping With Those Who Weep: A Practical Guide for Ministering in the Crisis of Death.”
Lester, who left Washington County in 1971 to attend Georgetown College, has been the pastor at First Baptist Church in London, Ky. for the last 25 years, and is using his 33 total years of experience to better inform people of how to comfort those dealing with loss.
“It’s a practical guide for ministering in the crisis of death,” Lester said of his book. “One of the things that we deal with in life continually is giving up loved ones and friends. I think one of the really important functions of the church is to be able to care for families in that inevitable crisis of life.”
Lester said the book covers various topics on dealing with death, with some of the content targeted at the general public, and other areas meant to help young pastors improve upon their responsibilities.
“One of the things I deal with in the book is what you say when you go to see someone who’s lost a loved one. There are some good things that we can say and there are some things that we probably shouldn’t say,” he said. “Particularly for pastors, I have a chapter on the difficulty of doing funeral services. I think it could be helpful to younger pastors dealing with funeral situations like suicides, murders, tragic accidents and drug overdoses. Unfortunately, that’s life and we’re asked to deal with that.”
Lester has been helping families cope with losses for decades now, which he emphasized is among the most important of his duties as a pastor. One of his goals with this book is to help others better understand the importance of those duties.
“Part of the ministry of the church is to care for people in the time of loss, and I think we can always learn how to do it better,” he said. “Hopefully the book helps us learn how to do that better and I consider myself still learning as well.”
He also pointed out that everyone is forced to go through losing loved ones, and we’re often hesitant to deal with that, despite the fact we’re unable to avoid the gravity of death.
“It’s very possible for a person to sort of get hung up in their grief, and sometimes they can stay stuck in that for years,” he said.
The author also discusses the stages of grief, including the sense of shock that many loved ones initially feel, as well as emotions of guilt, regret and anger.
Lester has made a few stops along the way since leaving Mackville more than 40 years ago, but he said he still looks back on his time in Washington County fondly, and that his time here was very influential in his work.
“I had many friends, classmates and teachers who impacted my life,” he said. “ I feel that when we grow up in a place, that place stays a part of us all of our lives. I have wonderful memories of my years growing up in Washington County.”
The Mackville native said he’s also currently working on a book about what it was like growing up in a small town in Central Kentucky. He’s completed a rough draft of the book, but was uncertain when his next work will be available.
“Weeping With Those Who Weep” is available for purchase at www.weepingwith.com, or can be purchased by mailing a check or money order to Terry Lester, FBC London, 804 West 5th St., London, Ky. 40741. For more information contact First Baptist Church at (606) 864-4194.