SOURCE – Associated Press
CHARLESTON, South Carolina — Members of a historic black church worshipped at their sanctuary today for the first time since a gunman opened fire at a Bible study, killing nine people.
Uniformed police officers stood among the congregation as a measure of added security.
The service started with a message of love, recovery and healing, which will no doubt reverberate throughout churches across the country.
“We still believe that prayer changes things. Can I get a witness?” the Rev. Norvel Goff said.
The congregated responded with a rousing “Yes.”
“But prayer not only changes things, it changes us,” Goff said.
Sunday morning marked the first service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church since Dylann Roof, 21, sat among a Bible study group and opened fire after saying that he targeted them because they were black, authorities said.
Among the nine killed was the church pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was also a state senator.
Events to show solidarity are planned throughout the city and beyond.
At 10 a.m. EDT, church bells rang throughout downtown this “Holy City” – which garnered the nickname because of the numerous churches here.