Hundreds of people filed into the church pews of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Father’s Day, showing strength, power, and resilience after the shooting death of nine of its members.
Rev. Norvel Goff led a powerful sermon for supporters, family members, and politicians who attended the church’s first service since the horrific shooting last Wednesday. Goff, the church’s interim pastor, says he and the rest of the city of Charleston won’t erupt into chaos over the hate crime.
Suspected gunman Dylann Roof, 21, killed the church’s pastor and state senator Clemanta Pinckney and eight others.
Goff says the city will continue to show its true colors of faith and love throughout the tragedy. According to USA Today:
“A lot of people expected us to do something strange and to break out in a riot,” he said. “Well, they just don’t know us. We are people of faith. The blood of the Mother Emmanuel Nine requires us to work until not only justice in this case, but for those who are still living in the margin of life, those who are less fortunate than ourselves, that we stay on the battlefield until there is no more fight to be fought.”
Church members sang hymns and recited passages from the bible. Supporters waited and listened intently outside, planting flowers and gifts for the victims.
“The doors of the church are open,” declared Goff during prayers. “No evildoer, no demon in hell or on Earth can close the doors of God’s church,” he proclaimed.
And the message sent, both through words and acts of kindness, inspired the rest of the nation. Take a look at 20 photos that embody the resilience, love, and power of Mother Emanuel AME Church and the city of Charleston.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the storied church during this difficult time.
SOURCE: USA Today | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Alex Colby
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Sunday Sermon: Black Pastors Speak Out On AME Shooting
20 Pictures That Show The Powerful Resilience Of Charleston's Mother Emanuel AME Church
20 photos Launch gallery
1. Mother Emanuel AME Church held its first service since the shooting death of nine African-American church members on June 17.
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2. People line up to enter for Sunday service at the Emanuel AME Church.
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3. Two children wait to enter the Emanuel AME Church June 21, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina.
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4. A member of the church is seen outside of Emanuel AME before its first service since the Charleston shooting.
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5. A Charleston County sheriff's deputy checks bags as people line up to enter for Sunday service at the Emanuel AME Church.
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6. Gloria Moore watches the church as parishioners take their seats at the Emanuel AME Church.
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7. A woman prays as she attends the Sunday service outside of the Emanuel AME Church.
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8. People pray and listen to the Sunday service outside of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
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9. Parishioners sit at Emanuel AME Church four days after a mass shooting that claimed the lives of its pastor and eight others.
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10. The Rev. Norvel Goff, right, prays at the empty seat of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney.
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11. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, R-S.C., embraces U.S. Sen Tim Scott, R-S.C., at Emanuel AME Church.
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12. A parishioner prays at the empty seat of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney at the Emanuel AME Church.
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13. The congregation departs following Sunday services at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
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14. A family is seen leaving Emanuel AME Church following Sunday services.
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15. People embrace as they depart the Emanuel AME Church following Sunday services.
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16. Church members comfort one another after Emanuel's first service since the Charleston shooting.
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17. Church members comfort one another outside of Emanuel.
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18. A mother and son surround a memorial for the nine church members killed during the Charleston shooting.
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19. Charleston natives comfort each other during the church's first service since the shooting on June 17.
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20. Activist DeRay McKesson is seen outside of Emanuel AME church.
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