Deadly Charleston shooting hits home for Durham church

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — In three weeks, Rev. Anita Thompson has plans to visit the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. That visit will have a heavier meaning now after nine people were gunned down during Bible study Wednesday night.


Thompson’s church, the Emmanuel AME Church in Durham, is associated with Emanuel AME in Charleston. The pastor, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, was one of the nine people killed in the shooting.

“When they said he was there and he was one of the victims, it hit really close to home,” said Thompson. “He was an individual that was so concerned not just for serving God, but also serving the people of the state of South Carolina. He had a great drive for seeing things right.”

The shooting unfolded on a Wednesday night when most AME churches hold weekly Bible study meetings. Thompson says most AME churches have some sort of security team for Sunday morning services, but not for Wednesday night Bible studies.

“Our biggest concern is Sunday morning,” said Thompson. “We have retired law enforcement and current police officers that are members here and also serve on our security team, they are positioned in certain areas that is something were to happen or we encounter a problem, they’re able to respond.”

Thompson said her church will not be making any changes to security following the shooting. She believes any additional security measures may be a distraction to the congregation.

“I want them to be conscious enough to understand that we do not take things for granted, but there’s a greater being that’s got to cover us overall…and we gotta trust that.”

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