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Nine Dead After Church Shooting In Charleston

Source: Joe Raedle / Getty

Just one week after a gunman killed nine people during Bible study at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, worshippers gathered once more in the same room where the bullets flew.

“This territory belongs to God,” Interim Pastor Norvel Goff Sr. told the roughly 150 people gathered for the resumption of weekly Bible study in the basement of the church they lovingly call Mother Emanuel.

This week’s theme, fittingly, was “The Power of Love.”

Some believe it took an incredible amount of love and faith for family members and loved ones of those killed to publicly declare their forgiveness of 21-year-old Dylann Roof.

He sat through the class for an hour with his victims before declaring he was there “to kill black people” and opening fire. Roof, who has admitted to the killings, has been charged with nine counts of murder. Additionally, the Department of Justice is likely to pursue federal hate crime charges against him, law enforcement officials told CNN.

Inside the room, beige tile floors and a low suspended ceiling showed telltale signs of the horror that unfolded. One of the ceiling tiles was missing. A number of others were new and in one was a bullet hole taped over with the number H-17, a police ID.

“Bible study will continue,” Goff told the crowd, “but because of what happened, we will never be the same.”

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Emanuel AME Bible Study Reclaims Room: ‘This Territory Belongs To God’  was originally published on

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