Tags: charleston | church | service | massacre | shooting

Charleston Church Service, First Since Massacre, Urges to Keep Faith

Image: Charleston Church Service, First Since Massacre, Urges to Keep Faith
(Photo by David Goldman-Pool/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 22 Jun 2015 03:47 PM

The Charleston church where nine African Americans were killed last week held its first church service since the massacre on Sunday.

The 800 racially-diverse attendees crowded inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church to reaffirm their faith, honor the slain men and women, and join with one another in support for the community and for its healing.

“A lot of people expected us to do something strange and break out into a riot,” the Rev. Norvel Goff declared from the pulpit, according to The Wall Street Journal. “Well, they just don’t know us. They don’t know us because we are a people of faith.”

Other churches across the Charleston community rang their bells at 10 a.m. on Sunday, and St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church rang its bell 81 times — nine times for each victim, according to The Examiner. The slain victims included Emanuel’s senior pastor, 41-year-old Rev. Clementa Pinckney, and 87-year-old worshipper Susie Jackson.

The church’s response to the slayings starkly contrasts with the massacre itself, which was allegedly perpetrated by 21-year-old gunman Dylann Roof, who was apparently motivated by his racial hatred and has been charged with nine counts of murder, CNN reported. According to Roof’s manifesto, he chose to target Charleston because “it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country.”

Nevertheless, the Charleston community surrounded the grieving families as they expressed their love and forgiveness Sunday.

“I'm reminded of some news media persons that wondered why the nine families all spoke of forgiveness and didn't have malice in their heart. It's that the nine families got it,” Goff said, according to CNN. “The doors of the church are open. No evildoer, no demon in hell or on Earth can close the doors of God's church.”

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The Charleston church where nine African Americans were killed last week held its first church service since the massacre on Sunday.
charleston, church, service, massacre, shooting
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2015-47-22
Monday, 22 Jun 2015 03:47 PM
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