CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Mother Emanuel AME opened its doors to the public for the first time since nine people were killed last week in what's being called a hate crime.
The church was packed for its two-hour-long Sunday service mixed with several emotions.
People gathered early this morning outside of Mother Emanuel AME to attend this Sunday service following the death of those nine individuals last Wednesday night. This service was focused on one theme of unity.
"I just had to be at fellowship with my brothers and sisters," Norvita Bell, of Charlotte, NC, who attended the service, said. "We're one church, one body, the church universal. When one hurts, we all hurt."
Song, prayer, and praise were in abundance throughout the service Sunday.
Church members and even strangers filling the pews inside the historic church following the tragic deaths of some of its own.
"People are from everywhere, and they're here for one purpose," Bell said. "That is for the purpose of unity. We are one."
"Yes, there are answers that we're still waiting for," Mother Emanuel AME Elder Dr. Norvel Goff said Sunday during the service. "But the answers still... by leaving our hands in the hands of God."
It was an emotional service that hit on a range of topics, including Father's Day and seeking justice for the nine victims.
"The blood, of the Mother Emanuel nine requires us to work, until not only justice in this case, but for those who are still living in the margin of life," Goff said.
"I think this took in the love of everybody," Floyd Breeland, a member of the church for 56 years, said. "It doesn't include one race. It's about the entire black, white... whatever."
Governor Haley, Senator Scott, along with Mayor Joe Riley and Mayor Keith Summey were all in attendance for the service.
Law enforcement could also be seen throughout the church.
The congregation will never forget the Emanuel Nine.
Ministers say the best way to move forward is to put their faith and hope in God.
"Don't forget, but to remember, that the God who created us all, is the God that will make a way out of no way," Goff said.
The next step for these church members and families is to continue with the healing process and making sure the memories of those nine victims continues to live on.
Funerals are expected to happen within the next few weeks.
Senator Clementa Pinckney will have three viewings this week, in Columbia, Ridgeland, and Charleston. The viewing in Charleston will take place on Thursday at Mother Emanuel from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The funeral will be Friday at 11:00 a.m. at the TD Arena followed by his burial in Marion.