South Carolina Church Meets for First Time Since Shootings
Last Wednesday, a white gunmen entered a historic black church in Charleston, South Caroline and opened fire, killing nine people. On Sunday, the Emanuel AME Church held its first worship services since the vicious attack.
The suspected gunmen, identified as 21-year-old Dylann Roof, was captured the following morning during a traffic stop in North Carolina. President Obama issued a statement after the shooting, saying it is too easy for people who want to hurt others to gain access to firearms.
Not surprisingly, the worship services on Sunday attracted a much larger crowd than usual. Along with the regular congregants, there were journalists, politicians, and other people visiting. The morning started as usual for the church, with an 8:30 Sunday School followed by a worship service an hour later.
There were three men and six women killed in the shooting. Among them was the pastor at Emanuel AME Church, Clementa Pinckney, who was also a South Carolina state senator. Each of the nine victims in Wednesday’s shootings was named in prayers offered by the church’s ministers. A lot of people wept as they sung and prayed together.
One can only imagine how difficult it must have been to hold worship services in the same building where victims lost their lives just days ago. Members of the local community were on hand following the service to offer any help the y could. They gave out water, snacks and words of comfort.
The shootings have sparked much debate on the subjects of race relations, hate crimes, gun control, and violence. Many people are calling for changes to be made. One CEO went on to social media and asked that the South Caroline State Capitol building take down the confederate flag in honor of the nine who were killed in Charleston.
Several agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Justice, are investigating the attack as a hate crime.