Mother Emanuel holds powerful praise and worship service one year after tragedy

Published: Jun. 18, 2016 at 4:27 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 20, 2016 at 11:06 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WIS) - Friday afternoon, hundreds of worshipers gathered inside Emanuel AME church for a powerful praise and worship service.

The service was just one of the many ways the community paid tribute to the nine worshipers who were killed inside of the church one year ago.

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Carolyn Reed- Smith traveled nearly four hours from Spartanburg, South Carolina to attend the service.

"It was so worth it," she said. "I sat in the basement and I saw the remodeling but while I was looking there I remember a year ago there were slain people and blood there. Today I took away make a difference. This should be not just remember and say it's lovely but remember and make a commitment to do something different."

RELATED: A WIS special presentation: Remembering the Emanuel Nine

Through songs and scripture the worshipers praised God for bringing them through a year of heartache and pain.

Pastor Betty Deas Clark said the healing process is ongoing but faith is bringing the congregants through.

"The congregants, to me, are the greatest survivors," Clark said.

"To be able to Sunday after Sunday, and Wednesday after Wednesday, day after day, and meet in the same sacred place where nine people you knew were killed. To have to walk through a particular room, to use the facilities, knowing that this was the place, this is the space, where their lives were lost. But yet they do it."

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In honor of the victims and survivors, Mother Emanuel will host a series of a events over the course of nine days. Each day dedicated to a victim.

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