CHARLESTON, SC (WMBF) - Nearly one year after 9 people were shot and killed during a Bible study at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. The message sent to the community and country still holds true, that love can conquer anything, even hate.
"For once I've really seen the city united. seriously united," Reverend Anthony Thompson said."Black, white, no matter your denomination or religion. people just came together wanting to help."
After tragedy struck the city of Charleston, many expected riots and hate to grow out of the community's grief. But over the last year, local leaders say they've seen quite the opposite.
"A lot of good came out of this, and people are talking now, people are talking about racism," Thompson said.
Wednesday night's Bible study focused on change. Reverend Anthony Thompson shared Myra's message. He read the same verses his wife read nearly one year ago to 8 other parishioners who were about to lose their lives to a man with a gun.
"I'm a little numb, hoping I can do this," Thompson said. "It's pretty tough right now. The closer it gets to that day, the more nervous I get...It feels just like it was yesterday."
Thompson wasn't alone in wanting to share a message of hope. One woman was inspired by the Emanuel 9 to paint a picture reminiscent of "The Wizard of Oz. It displayed the Mother Emanuel AME Church as the Emerald City.
"The way they took the hate that was shown and turned it into something so graceful and beautifying," Alexandra Eaton said.
People traveled from far and wide to hear the verses of Mark Chapter 4 read aloud as Myra Thompson had prepared them for her bible study almost one year ago.
"This has not changed people's hearts," Dan Howell, a visitor of the church, said. This has not changed the way people go about their day to day. They still love, and they're still open..
The Bible study was the first in a series of programs over the next 12 days in remembrance of the Emanuel 9.