Faith community comes together in latest deadly church van crash

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A church who has lost three members in a deadly bus crash is reaching out to another church, coping with a similar loss.

On Sunday, a Jesus House of Prayer Temple church van was heading back from a retreat when a car blew a red light on 46th Street and Emerson Avenue. The driver of the van, Edward Sadler, 51, was killed in the crash. 13 out of the 18 passengers on the bus were transported to the hospital and released.

It’s left members of Colonial Hills Baptist Church reliving their pain. Three months ago, their church bus was returning from camp when it crashed and flipped on Keystone Avenue near I-465. The crash killed Tonya Weindorf, Youth Pastor Chad Phelps, his wife, Courtney, and their unborn daughter.

Deacon, Jeff Leffew, said he felt the need to reach out to Sadler’s family and their church.

“Any time we hear something like this, it’s certainly still fresh for us,” said Leffew. “Life just changed in a matter of minutes and that’s exactly how it was for us as well.”

Leffew sat down with Sadler’s family to share thoughts of encouragement. He even passed along a special healing tool — rough notes from an old sermon written by Chad Phelps a year ago about how to deal with loss.

Since the tragedy, 10-thousand thin booklets have been printed and passed along everywhere — from church members in other congregations to victims in the deadly church bus crash in Tennessee in October.

The book, titled ‘My Daddy’s Message on the Purpose of Suffering’, has a cover picture of two-year-old toddler, Chase Phelps. The family’s only surviving son is captured standing in front of his parents’ graves at their funeral.

Leffew plans to print a few dozen more for church members at Jesus House of Prayer Temple Church.

“It was amazing at how dead on it was for helping us,” said Leffew. “There was a reason why God didn’t take us home that day. There’s still work for us to do. There’s still things we need to accomplish and people we need to touch.”

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