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Love and Comfort at a Candlelight Vigil for Christian Pearson
Featured

19 June 2017  

Hundreds of people gathered to honor Christian Pearson.

On Saturday evening, the community of Chino Valley gathered together to remember Christian Pearson - to remind one another of his smile and his friendliness and sweetness. Hundreds of people sat in chairs or on blankets in the grass - holding candles in their hands, as if to try to capture the light that was Christian just one more time.

Sarah Bristol, one of the organizers of the candlelight vigil explained, "We were hoping for a small crowd to gather and light candles, what we ended up with was 300-400 people arriving for a memorial service… We were able to give his Dad a goodbye gift that he wouldn’t have otherwise received… That is the biggest blessing of all… He really needed this time to grieve.”

Christian Pearson, Candlelight vigil, child abuse victim, Chino Valley, Arizona

Paper, pens and crayons were set out to share a memory about Christian, or write a note to his family.

Christian Pearson, Candlelight vigil, child abuse victim, Chino Valley, Arizona

A table was set up with pictures of Christian and piles of flowers. Children sat in front, crying softly.

Christian Pearson, Candlelight vigil, child abuse victim, Chino Valley, Arizona

Christian Pearson, Candlelight vigil, child abuse victim, Chino Valley, Arizona

Family and friends embraced, holding each other tightly.

Christian Pearson, Candlelight vigil, child abuse victim, Chino Valley, Arizona

Christian Pearson, Candlelight vigil, child abuse victim, Chino Valley, Arizona

Christian Pearson, Candlelight vigil, child abuse victim, Chino Valley, Arizona

Christian Pearson, Candlelight vigil, child abuse victim, Chino Valley, Arizona

Expressing a desire that this be a celebration of Christian’s life - not a focus on how he died, Heights Church Pastor Ron Merrill read a letter from the family:

Christian Pearson, Letter from family, Candlelight vigil, child abuse victim, Chino Valley, Arizona

Christian Pearson, Ron Merrill, Candlelight vigil, child abuse victim, Chino Valley, Arizona

The family sat in a row together, holding hands tightly, in support of one another, often bowing their heads.

Christian Pearson, Moreno, Candlelight vigil, child abuse victim, Chino Valley, Arizona

Christian Pearson, Christian's family, Candlelight vigil, child abuse victim, Chino Valley, Arizona

Christian’s father, Erik Pearson, was not expected to attend the vigil due to his personal health problems, but he later explained, “The community has been so supportive of us, I had to come and support them.”

Christian Pearson, Erik Pearson, Candlelight vigil, child abuse victim, Chino Valley, Arizona

Christian’s grandmother, Andrea Pearson, came and sat next to her son, Erik.

Christian Pearson, Andrea Pearson, Candlelight vigil, child abuse victim, Chino Valley, Arizona

Teachers shared their memories about Christian’s infectious smile and his quick wit.

Christian Pearson, Teachers, Del Rio School, Candlelight vigil, child abuse victim, Chino Valley, Arizona

Supporters came from all over the state, including representatives from Bikers Against Child Abuse.

Christian Pearson, Bikers Against Child Abuse, Candlelight vigil, child abuse victim, Chino Valley, Arizona

Christian Pearson, Bikers Against Child Abuse, Candlelight vigil, child abuse victim, Chino Valley, Arizona

Christian Pearson, Bikers Against Child Abuse, Candlelight vigil, child abuse victim, Chino Valley, Arizona

Perhaps most poignant, however, were the young children that spoke of their love and friendships with Christian.

Christian Pearson, School friends, Candlelight vigil, child abuse victim, Chino Valley, Arizona

Christian Pearson, School friends, Candlelight vigil, child abuse victim, Chino Valley, Arizona

Watch the ceremony:

Lynne LaMaster

Lynne LaMaster is the Founder and Editor of the eNewsAZ Network of websites. She asks a lot of questions! In her spare time, she loves photography, cooking and hanging out with her family.