Church raising money for fatal crash victims’ families through musical performance

After the November crash that killed three members of the Lighthouse of Jesus Christ, Bishop Floyd Knowlin said, “The healing process for me is very, very slow.” Buy this photo

Bishop Floyd Knowlin watched a car crash claim the lives of three of his Georgetown church members a few months ago. In the wake of their deaths, Knowlin hopes a musical production at the church will help him and the community heal while assisting the families of those who died.

“The healing process for me is very, very slow,” Knowlin said. “This accident is going to be with me forever.”

At times, Knowlin could barely sleep at night as he replayed the events of that November night in his mind. Over and over, he recalled seeing the sport utility vehicle behind him, full of his church members, burst into flames.

“I would just wake up and lay there and just memorize the accident and pray for morning to come,” he said.

An upcoming musical performance is meant to shed some light on the darkness that clouded the church following the deaths of 55-year-old Edith Jackson and 45-year old Angie Arthur, both of Georgetown, and Melvira Johnson, 51, of Loris.

On Feb. 23, their church, the Lighthouse of Jesus Christ, will host the musical production “God’s Trombones,” which includes a 50-member ensemble and choir from Charlotte.

“It’s about coming together,” said the production’s director, Donald Gilliard.

Gilliard and Knowlin hope the performance will raise money, which they said is much needed for the families of the victims.

“Those people who died, they did not come out of well-to-do families. All of them were bread-winners within their families,” Gilliard said.

The five-car wreck claimed four lives, including a driver not related to the church. Arthur’s husband, Johnnie, was severely injured.

The crash occurred on Nov. 14 while the women’s choir and church members traveled to Russellville in a caravan. They were headed south on U.S. Highway 17A near Freefall Lane in Jamestown when an oncoming car tried to pass two vehicles.

The car struck a utility trailer attached to the van that was carrying musical instruments, according to Knowlin. The car then hit the SUV carrying the victims, Knowlin said, which ran into the woods and caught fire.

“We’re just hoping the community will really come together with us and help us because that’s what we’re about. If we can come through now for people that are in need, that’s what life is all about,” Gilliard said.

Tickets for the two-hour production are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, and can be bought at the church on Johnson Road. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the show begins at 6.

Church leaders are also reaching out to the business community in hope of raising money through ad sales for a commemorative booklet.

Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594.

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