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December 11, 2012

Stabbing victim remembered at church service

— It was like a shooting star: a brief moment where all who observed it felt comfort, encouragement and could see everything that is good in the world again; a moment that ends all too soon.

That was the life of Sharon Wellington.

Friends and church family gathered Sunday afternoon to remember the 32-year-old who police say was found stabbed to death at Elmwood Apartments on Friday, Nov. 30.

Wellington’s friends from Southside Church of Christ in Rogersville came to Central Church of Christ on U.S. 31 to say goodbye. Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson spoke at the service and said his department believes Wellington’s killer was probably someone she knew.

“What amazes me is how this has touched so many lives,” Johnson told the crowd. “It’s a sad situation, it never should have happened to anyone.”

But there were few tears shed Sunday.

“Sharon would not want us to be sad or grieved, but to remember her life,” said Freeman Malone Jr., senior minister of Southside. “She was not a sad person. She would come into Southside with a smile on her face.”

Wellington came to Athens from Charleston, S.C. She had heard about churches in Limestone County over the Christian social site, Acanetwork.us, and decided to move to Athens.

A seriously Christian woman, she wrote poetry and read Scripture, but she was best known for her love of a cappella singing, so the congregation sang, clapped and praised God for the time they got to spend with her.

“Sharon didn’t belong to us,” said Val Weeks of Harlem, New York City, a friend from Acanetwork. “Her spirit is with the Lord now. The work God prepared for Sharon to do here is complete.”

Wellington was also known for being a woman of few words. Close friend Joy Watkins said Sharon was always on-point with saying what needed to be said, but those short conversations, like everything else about Sharon, lasted a lot longer in memory.

“It’s horrible how it happened, but it doesn’t change who she was,” Watkins said. “She always spoke positive things.”

Associate Minister John Malone called the death a “beautiful tragedy,” and compared it to biblical tales.

“(Jesus) died at the hands of evil men, just like Steven, just like Sharon,” Malone said. “In her death, she shook up the world … to the point that the guards, the police, the investigators came to church.”

Sharon Wellington was only in Athens a short time, but those who knew her had little trouble describing her impact.

“She touched so many people in so little a span of time,” John Malone said. “Sharon was just Sharon. She was unique.”

Johnson did not have new details to release about the murder at Sunday’s service, but said he would release information on any developments.

Sharon Wellington was buried at her home in North Charleston, S.C. on Saturday, Dec. 8.

 

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