Exactly a year ago, the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., was left reeling after a horrific mass shooting that claimed the lives of nine victims, including church pastor and state Sen. Clementa Pinckney.
Today, Friday, the church is remembering those parishioners, embracing the community with a message of love, as it remember those victims, whose lives were violently ripped from them in the brutal attack, CNN reports.
“Let all that you do be done in love,” the church said in a statement on its website, quoting 1 Corinthians 16:14 and encouraging all to perform “Acts of Amazing Grace,” designating June 21, Tuesday, the day of action.
“With thousands of acts of grace being performed around the world, we will surely make the world a better place. No act of kindness or grace, no matter how small, is ever wasted,” the church said. “We can think of no better way than a day of ACTS OF AMAZING GRACE to honor those persons who lost their lives, and the families, friends, and a church continuing to move forward.”
The church will be holding several events and services Friday to remember all the victims: Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, the Rev. Sharonda Singleton, Cynthia Hurd, the Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Ethel Lance, Susie Jackson, Myra Thompson and the Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr.
“I know the result of people coming and showing their love,” Betty Deas Clark, the current church pastor, said, according to CNN.
On Wednesday, more than 150 people gathered for the Wednesday evening Bible study, the same gathering that the shooter targeted last year. This Bible study was led by the Rev. Anthony Thompson, who lost his wife, Myra Thompson, in the tragedy.
“The closer it gets to that anniversary date, the more anxious I feel,” the Rev. Thompson told CNN affiliate WCBD. “I cry without even knowing it’s going to happen. I really have no control.”
The anniversary of Charleston’s mass shooting comes less than a week after the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., that left 49 dead and more than 50 injured. Pastor Clark, according to CNN, was in Orlando to show her support for the community, attending counseling sessions with those impacted by the rampage.
Clark’s message to those in Orlando?
“Time brings about healing,” she said. “What you can’t see today, what you can’t imagine today, tomorrow, you can see it as a reality if you just keep moving forward. That’s what we’ve been doing.”
Read more at CNN.