It’s been almost four days since a gunman went on a rampage inside a Charleston church, killing nine people at their Bible study. On Sunday morning, that same church reopened for services.
There are still people visiting the memorial site to grieve the loss of those church members, but an overflowing congregation worshipped inside on Sunday, hoping to send a message of unity and resilience to those with eyes on Charleston.
“Even in death, death has no victory,” eva bryant said.
Within the same walls where horror struck only days before, sounds of worship came. It sounded out into the streets from an overflowing congregation at Emanuel AME church.
“We’re still here. We still believe that God is in control. The mere fact that we can come together and open this church after such great tragedy, that I believe that we are already beginning to heal. We are accomplishing something,” Bryant said.
Church-goers’ moods changed from heavy-hearted, when they heard the pastor’s message of unity. This, after nine of their own were killed while in Bible study by a shooter who wanted to start a race war.
“They would want us to do like we’re doing now, I’ll put it like that. I don’t think they would want us to go on and make the church with a bad name or give the church some…I think that whatever happened, that was God’s work,” Richard Polite said.
Some say it’s in honor of those killed that the community attends church. Others say it’s important to convey a resilient bond.
“People are hurting, but we have forgiveness in our heart. And that’s the key, we have to forgive, to move on, no matter what took place. He just represents himself, he doesn’t represent a whole race,” Helena Ringo said.
“I don’t think they were going to stop the church service, no, we’re too strong for that. I don’t think none of the members and stuff, iIm sorry that it happened, but I give God the glory anyway,” Polite said.
In Beaufort on Monday night, there is a memorial service planned for the late Senator and Reverend Clementa Pinckney at 7 p.m. in the gym of Whale Branch Early Collegiate High School.