Unspeakable tragedy: Church members heal after deadly accident

A Georgetown congregation was left reeling from the loss of three active members in a crash last year.

Now, the church is working on ways to honor the victims and help their families pay the bills.

On the night of Nov. 14 in Berkeley County, a van belonging to Lighthouse of Jesus Christ Church in Georgetown crashed, killing three church members and seriously injuring a fourth.

Melvira Johnson, 51, Edith Jackson, 55, and Angie Arthur, 45, were all church trustees and members of the women's choir.

The fourth accident victim, Angie Arthur's husband, John Arthur, was recently released from the hospital.

Their pastor calls the women's deaths an unspeakable tragedy.

"They had a very important role in this ministry and it's so hard to express the way that I feel about them and the deepness of how I miss them so much," said Bishop Floyd Knowlin.

To honor the women, the church next month will host a benefit performance of "God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse", a collection of sermons written in 1927 and accompanied by music.

Church leaders hope the event will raise at least $50,000 for the women's families.

Though it's been difficult for the church to recover from the loss of three of its most prominent members, Knowlin says the outpouring of love and support from the community has been tremendous.

"So many people called to see what they could do and I was speechless at that time to even let them know what they could do, but now this is a time that they can just come and help the family."

One local pastor, who owns a Georgetown restaurant that employed Angie Arthur, wants to make the musical production an annual event and have the church build a permanent memorial to the three women.

He says the tragedy brought the community together.

"We're closer for that fact, we're closer because of what has happened and I think we're even better because of what has happened now," said Charles Johnson.

Knowlin says though he's heartbroken, the church will have to accept God's plan.

"As time goes by, time will heal all wounds and that's what I'm relying on."

The benefit event will be held at Lighthouse Church Feb. 23 at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. For more information about the performance, contact Marilyn Hemingway at 843-240-0432.