A Week On, Bible Study Packed at Historic Church
Thousands pay respects to slain pastor
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2015 5:29 AM CDT
The Rev. Norvel Goff speaks during a service at the Emanuel AME Church.   (AP Photo/David Goldman, Pool)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – A week after the massacre that shook the nation, Bible study was once again held last night in the basement of Charleston's Emanuel AME Church, and the turnout was huge. People started arriving at least an hour early and every chair was filled for a total of around 200 attendees—including a few regulars who probably wouldn't be alive now if they had been able to make it last week, the Post and Courier reports. The Rev. Norvel Goff, who's the historic church's interim pastor after the murder of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, spoke of the power of love and called for people to keep hate out of their hearts. "Many of our hearts are broken, but only God can fix a broken heart," he said. "That's my testimony."

"Because of our faith, we've shown up once more again to declare that Jesus lives, and because he lives, we can face tomorrow," Goff told a crowd that included relatives of shooting victim Myra Thompson, the AP reports. In the days to come, funerals for several of the nine people killed will be held at the church. Thousands of people came to pay their respects as Pinckney, a state senator for many years, lay in state under the Capitol dome in Columbia yesterday, reports the Post and Courier. President Obama, Michelle Obama, and Joe Biden will be at his funeral tomorrow, as well as a congressional delegation led by John Boehner, reports WCIV. (Alabama's Capitol has taken down its Confederate flags.)