Last Wednesday, June 17, Emanuel African Episcopal Methodist Church became the target of a racial hate crime when 21-year-old Dylan Roof entered and opened fire during a Bible study, killing 9 members of the church. The church’s head Pastor and South Carolina state senator, Reverend Clementa Pickney, was among those that were killed.
Yesterday, Sunday, June 21, was the first time the church doors had opened for an official service since the shooting. Although many were grieving and mourning, the historical church became a sanctuary as messages of love, hope and faith were preached throughout the service. Reverend Norvel Goff, a presiding elder within the church, tried to remain positive through it all as he was appointed to lead the service as the late Reverend Pickney’s chair sat empty and covered by a black sheet.
“It has been tough, it’s been rough, some of us have been downright angry, but through it all God has sustained us and has encouraged us. Let us not grow weary in well-doing”
Before committing the horrendous acts, Roof typed out 2,200 word letter where he explains why he felt the need to commit such a crime. Among the letter were also about 60 pictures that portray Roof embracing white supremacy, disrespecting the American flag and holding a gun. Both the letter and pictures are under federal investigation as officials continue to unfold the mysteries behind the motive.