CNN US News

Church grapples with loss
of four members in crash

church

May 15, 1996
Web posted at: 7:00 a.m. EDT

From Correspondent Andrew Holtz

ALPHARETTA, Georgia (CNN) -- When ValuJet Flight 592 crashed in the Florida Everglades Saturday, the ripples of that tragedy were felt across the country in homes, schools, offices and churches.

Mt. Pisgah United Methodist church in Alpharetta lost four of its congregation members in the crash: The minister's son Ray Lathem III, Hispanic ministry pastor Carlos Gonzalez and Dana and Roger Lane.

victims

For this church community in the suburbs of Atlanta, it is a loss that touches multitudes. The church gym is filled with chairs for the crowds that are expected for the memorial services of the four members.

The church's publication director plans to print 6,000 programs for the services, maybe more.

The four who were lost were returning from a ground-breaking mission to establish the very first Methodist church in Venezuela.

Although he has just lost his son, Rev. Warren Lathem said he has no doubts about the validity of the mission that was embarked on.

"This would be a partnership that would really make a difference in that country and we are going to continue this somehow," Lathem said. "We don't believe God started this to let it stop."


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