Mother Emanuel holds luncheon in memory of shooting victims

VIDEO: Drawing dedicated to Mother Emanuel AME during senior luncheon
Drawing dedicated to the congregation at Mother Emanuel AME (Source: Live 5)
Drawing dedicated to the congregation at Mother Emanuel AME (Source: Live 5)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Mother Emanuel AME honored the memory of two of the victims who tragically died nearly a year ago at a luncheon Thursday afternoon.

Susie Jackson and Ethel Lance were members of the Senior Citizens Program at the church.

It was an event to honor not only their lives but also other senior citizens in the community.

"They were ladies of graces who left us a legacy of love for eternity," said Reverend Dr. Betty Deas Clark. "The Mother Emanuel survivors and families have weathered the storm with their outpouring of love and humility. Their special spirit has warmed out hearts and souls since the tragedy."

Representative Jenny Horne (R-Summerville) was the guest speaker for the luncheon.

Horne gave an emotional speech sharing her memories of what happened nearly one year ago and in the aftermath of the shooting.

She also spoke about her speech she gave at the statehouse urging lawmakers to remove the Confederate flag from the state grounds.

The luncheon was a chance to remember all the changes that have happened over the last year without forgetting the memories of the victims.

"We've had a year of grace and forgiveness," Horne said. "We've shown the United States what unity looks like and for that I'm very proud of South Carolina."

Those who attended were also able to share their memories of the men and women who died June 17.

Timothy Jackson, the grandson of Susie Jackson, spoke briefly about his grandmother's love for feeding people both physically and emotionally.

"She's continuing to feed us, feed me through my faith," Jackson said.

He added the memories of all the victims will continue to live on and be felt in the community.

A spontaneous dedication was also made during the luncheon.

Peter Pierre Thompson II, an artist from Goose Creek, drew a nearly 4 x 6 foot picture of the Mother Emanuel AME church.

Thompson said he spent five months working on the piece after working his regular job.

Using only graphite pencils and acrylic paint, the picture shows the outside of the church, complete with nine doves in the air.

He said he wanted to give back to the church that has gone through so much, but says it's also for the greater Charleston community.

"There were other people, ordinary citizens, that were instrumental in keeping me focused," he added. "They told me I could do this picture, and said I will do this picture, and don't give up."

Reverend Dr. Clark says the picture will be displayed somewhere where the congregation can view it.

Copyright 2016 WCSC. All rights reserved.