Updated June 26, 2015 6:17 p.m. – Thousands, including President Obama, came to pay their respects at a public funeral in Charleston for Clementa Pinckney, pastor of Emanuel African Methodist Church and a South Carolina state senator. The President gave the eulogy and led the congregation in singing “Amazing Grace.” On Thursday night, a wake was held for the slain pastor. Funeral services also were held on Thursday for Ethel Lance and Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, who also were killed during a shooting at their Bible Study on Wednesday night, just over a week ago. Funeral services of the other victims continue this weekend through next week.
Posted June 21, 2015—
Historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina held its first worship service today since a lone white gunman killed 9 of its members in a mass shooting during a Bible Study on Wednesday night. The Father’s Day service was packed and overflowed outside the church, according to national news media reports.
“A lot of people expected us to do something strange …. like riot. Well, they don’t know us very well,” said Reverend Norvel Goff during the worship service. Goff is the presiding Elder of the 7th AME (African Methodist Episcopal) disrict in South Carolina.
Since the tragedy, Tampa Bay area churches and others across America continue to remember and pray for the families of the victims, the Charleston AME Church and the Charleston community. Six women and 3 men, all African-Americans, were killed during the shooting rampage. All remembered by their families and friends as “loving. God-fearing.”
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“These were our brothers and sisters (in Christ), our family, too. Our nation is sick and hateful. This is a reminder to us that racism is alive and well. It is real. Racism is idolatry. It is evil and wrong. What happened in Charleston, God will use for good,” said William Rice, Senior Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Clearwater, Florida during this Sunday morning’s worship services. The congregation, mostly Caucasian, also prayed for the Charleston AME church and the victims’ families today. Calvary Baptist Church is a Southern Baptist Church.
“Pray for Charleston, our family. We praise the victims’ families for their example of faith, forgiveness and grace, ” Pastor Rice said.