Historic S.C. church returns to space where 9 were slain

Published 9:30 am Thursday, June 25, 2015

CHARLESTON, S.C.  — The site of a massacre a week ago, the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is being reclaimed by parishioners who are pledging to remember the loved ones they lost in a shooting rampage while carrying on the work of the beloved pastor who was slain beside them.

Only hours before the body of state senator and pastor Clementa Pinckney was to be returned to the historic black church one last time for his wake, members of his flock and non-church members alike packed into the church’s basement to attend Wednesday night Bible study. It was the very same thing that was taking place a week ago before Pinckney and eight parishioners were gunned down in what authorities are investigating as a hate crime.

“Because of our faith, we’ve shown up once more again to declare that Jesus lives and because he lives, we can face tomorrow,” interim pastor Norvel Goff told a multiracial crowd that swayed, clapped and sang in the same room where the shooting occurred. Among the worshippers were several family members of one of the victims, Myra Thompson.

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