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.