New Birth Baptist Church Bishop Victor T. Curry led the Sunday Service after Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina was attacked by one of the churchgoers on June 17 — killing 9 people— and beseeched the Almighty for help.
In a service honoring a countywide call for a prayer on June 21, the bishop asked for divine intervention, saying “Father we need you, we need you in a special way. This nation is reeling.”
United States Representative Frederica Wilson, representing Florida, was among the politicians who attended the Sunday Service at New Birth Baptist Church which attracted more local government executives, and said the prayer service was to “show solidarity for those who lost loved ones and to show that we have a choice,” Miami Herald News said.
Wilson described the community as very silent, yet they have to voice out their outrage so that “people will know that black lives matter.” She elaborated that “churches are sanctuaries” and although racism is real, she never dreamed it would be targeting the church.
An hour after a prayer was being held at the historic African-American Emanuel Church on the evening of June 17, Dylann Roff stood up, opened fire and fled the scene. He was arrested at Shelby, North Carolina, after a tip was given to Federal Bureau of Investigation which launched a hate-crime probe after the killing spree.
No longer than his arrest was made public did the United States President Barack Obama break his silence on the massacre, condemning the Charleston killing, labelling it as an obvious attack against a church built by African-Americans who sought for liberation of the slaves.
According to the news, Roof chose Emanuel Church because of its historic significance, and a manifesto uploaded on a website entitled “The Last Rhodesian” was discovered on June 20 by Internet specialists, claiming he was “not raised in a racist environment.”
“I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country,” the manifesto reads.
Several churches in Florida held the special prayer service to commemorate and to pray for the 9 lives lost. The event also sparked courage to tackle issues involved in the shooting.