NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston Southern University honored the 14 victims involved in the Mother Emanuel shooting during a prayer service Thursday.
Five people managed to survive that tragedy, while nine died nearly one year ago.
Faculty, staff and the public attended the service as song and prayer filled the room at the Whitfield Center for Christian Leadership.
The campus has a personal connection to that tragedy, CSU baseball player Chris Singleton, lost his mother, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, in that shooting.
"[We] haven't forgotten," said head baseball coach Stuart Lake. "This has been a really difficult time with the anniversary of this, and just being so fresh in the news again. Chris has tried to separate as much as he can, but he understands, and we've talked about it, he'll never be able to completely separate, and neither does he want to. This will be something he can use as a mission for himself forever."
Singleton, a rising junior at Charleston Southern, was honored with the Humanitarian Award over the weekend by the Charleston RiverDogs. The award was created to recognize outstanding individuals who dedicate their time to fighting indifference, intolerance and social injustice and whose approaches and accomplishments are consistent with the club's goals and mission to better the community.
Several of the people who attended the service say an energy filled the room as many of the people sang together during the service.
"I'm really proud of our school and people in the community who showed up," Stuart said. "It seems to be, as our speaker said, so many different things happening all the time, but this one will always be very personal to me and obviously the school."
"There's a hope to come," added diversity officer Marcus Bryant. "Whenever there's unity, there's an energy that's created out of that. I think it's greatly important for us as believers to come together. It seems to only happen when there's times of critical mass."
Bryant was also impacted by the tragedy last year. He went to school with Tywanza Sanders, the youngest victim who was killed.
"It's been hard," Bryant said. "He was a great guy, made everybody laugh. I just think we have an opportunity to make things special. Make things happen in a way that's helpful for everybody in our community."
The service also recognized the victims and families involved in the mass shooting in Orlando over the weekend.
"The terrible tragedies in Orlando and Charleston should cause every believer to seek the Lord in prayer," said CSU executive vice president Dr. Michael Bryant. "We should pray for those who suffer and grieve, and we should promote Scripture's teaching that all men and women are made in God's divine image and are thus worthy of love and respect (Gen 1:26-27)."
"If there was ever a time when prayer was needed for our community and our nation it's now," Bryant added.