Adam Parker, THE POST AND COURIER
CHARLESTON, S.C. (The Post and Courier) — In a remarkable display of joy, sorrow and trust, worshippers at Emanuel AME Church on Sunday morning honored slain parishioners by celebrating the power of faith and community.
It was the first service in the church since authorities said Dylann Roof, 21, an avowed white supremacist, gunned down nine people gathered for Bible study on Wednesday, including Mother Emanuel’s lead pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney.
The service drew more than 1,000 people to the Calhoun Street sanctuary, though the building could accommodate only about 800. The street in front of the church, closed by police, became for the morning a sacred space where people enduring another hot Charleston day added their voices to the singing inside and joined hands in prayer in a grand show of solidarity.
When a woman sang “Jesus Said You Can Lean on Me,” joined by a young trumpet player and the church choir, the building shook. Worshippers clapped and danced and cried. It was hard to ignore the message: strength comes in numbers and healing begins in the cradle of community.