PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - Members of local churches are taking this time of mourning to talk about the lasting legacy Reverend J.H. Flakes Jr. is leaving behind.
"I saw my pastor as a spiritual leader, as a spiritual advisor, and also, you know, I saw my pastor as a father figure," said James Wade, a member at Fourth Street Missionary Baptist Church.
For members of Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church and Fourth Street Missionary Baptist Church, this week has been difficult after the passing of the late Reverend J.H. Flakes Jr.
"We are going to grieve. We are going to cry. We are going to shed tears, but at the same time, you know, our hearts inside inwardly, are still rejoicing because we have memories we can always hold onto, and we know he is out of his pain and he has gone on to a better place," said James Wade.
Hundreds wrapped around Fourth Street Missionary Baptist Church to pay their respects to the long-time community leader on Friday.
He was a pastor at the church for 51 years while also acting as pastor for Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Phenix City for 53 years.
Even though in mourning, some are finding happiness in the lasting legacy Flakes leaves behind.
Chair of the Trustees, Nathan Suber, says that one of the biggest influences Flakes had in his role in the expansion of the church from one building to a complex of buildings.
"He taught us to think big and not just to think so small. That we need to grow and to grow we got to bring people in and he had to bring people in to make sure the growth was there," said Suber.
In April, Flakes son's Reverend Johnny Flakes the third took the reins from his father as senior pastor at 4th Street.
In a recent interview, he thanked the community for the outpouring of support.
"There are days that are more challenging than others, but with the outpouring of support from both churches, 4th Street, Good Hope, and various churches and various pastors in the community it has made it more bearable," said his son.
Flakes was laid to rest at Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church.