Churches throughout the country yesterday held Sunday worship services -- the first since the shooting massacre in Charleston, South Carolina.
That included a Sacramento church, Allen Chapel, an African Methodist Episcopal, or AME, church like the one in Charleston.
"I'm Pastor Robin T. Hood, pastor of Allen Chapel AME church here in Del Paso Heights. Most of the parishioners here, a lot of them are struggling. But we also have to let them know that as Christians we always have to look towards God first."
Much of Pastor Hood's sermon yesterday was about forgiveness, solidarity and defiance of evil. Another message was that the church should not lock its doors. He read a litany with parishioners responding: "The doors of the church are still open."
Pastor Hood: "Our faith will not be stolen, even by violence as heinous as the assassination of nine innocent people and the terror that left bodies wounded and souls injured among those who survived the attack."
Parishioners: "Oh God, the doors of the church are still open..."
One of the church members - Orville Noel Jr. - says the death of the nine Charleston shooting victims was like nine relatives being killed.
"When something like that happens, that's part of your family. I'm almost 67 years old. I've experienced some of that hatred."
Another church member - Karen Robinson - says after the massacre in Charleston happened, she and other parishioners have been meeting to pray together.
"It's kind of bringing us back to the days when churches were being burned and we don't want to see that happening again in our community. So just praying that our community still stands strong and holds together, not let this tear us apart."
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