Charleston's Emanuel AME Church Reopens

Photo: David Goldman-Pool/Getty Images
It's been only four days since the hate crime that took the lives of nine at Charleston, South Carolina's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopalian Church, but today it opened its doors to begin the process of healing for its members, and the rest of the nation looking on. According to ABC News, 800 people attended the service, while hundreds more stood outside and listened to the service on speakers.

"Many of our hearts are broken," said Elder Norvil Goff, who lead the service in the place of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was shot and killed by Dylann Roof on Wednesday night. "Many of us are still shedding tears, but I know a man who can answer all of our questions. But you and I must bring our burdens to the Lord and leave them there."

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was in the church, as was Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, according to the New York Times. The police presence was heavy, and backpacks and camera bags were prohibited, but the church elders expressed that it was important to keep the doors open after the tragedy.

"The doors of Mother Emanuel are open," Goff said, per the New York Daily News. "It sends a message to every demon in hell and on earth ... We are serving notice on every evildoer on earth."

ABC News Liz Kreutz tweeted a photo from the Fellowship Hall where the shooting took place. But the more moving images came from the hymns that gave comfort to those in attendance.

Outside the church, though the atmosphere was respectful, particularly when the bell was struck nine times, one for each victim, protest signs repeated the request for South Carolina to remove the Confederate Flag from the capitol.

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