By JESSE J. HOLLAND
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - The Rev. Norvel Goff will walk into Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church for Bible study keenly aware of the crushing burden now on his shoulders.
He's expected to be a comforter, a teacher, a man of God and most powerfully, a leader of a church whose heart is heavy with the tragic loss of its senior pastor and eight members.
The 65-year-old Goff was named interim leader of the historic church called "Mother Emanuel" at one of the lowest points in its nearly 200-year history. But the Georgetown, South Carolina, native says the church won't dwell on the past.
He'll lead the church through its Bible study Wednesday night, exactly one week after police say a 21-year-old white man opened fire on the group after sitting with them for an hour.