Preacher who lost wife in Charleston church shooting to hold prayer march
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A Charleston minister who lost his wife in the Charleston church shooting in 2015 will lead a prayer march through the Holy City on Sunday.
The Rev. Anthony Thompson says forgiveness is a key part of his ministry.
Thompson will lead a prayer march starting at 2 p.m. at the Battery. It will end at Marion Square with marchers pausing along the way to pray at six landmarks Thompson calls significant.
The purpose of the event, he says, is to bring people together.
“Different cultures, different denominations, different races, diverse group of people. Young, old, middle age, people of all class people of all status seeking the Lord about what we can do, to see each other as one,” Thompson said. “So, we’re not saying come and be a Christian or come and be a part of a religion, we’re saying come and see what God has for you,”
Thompson’s wife, Myra, and eight others died in a shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church on June 17, 2015, when Dylann Roof opened fire after a Bible study. Roof, who is white, told investigators he opened fire in the historically-Black church in hopes of starting a race war.
But after Roof was captured, several of the victims’ families attended his bond hearing and expressed forgiveness to him.
“When I forgave Dylann,” Rev. Thompson says, “the burden of hate and anger and the sadness I felt about my late wife Myra, I mean I was burdened. When I forgave him, God released me from all those burdens. What I do know is that when you go to God with it, and you forgive the person, then you’re no longer the victim, he will grant you that peace.”
Thompson founded One New Humanity Charleston to carry out his mission.
“This is the mission of One New Humanity Charleston,” he said, “by the grace of God, to encourage people, to forgive, to repent, to reconcile for the purposes of breaking down the walls that divide us.”
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