Church Massacre Teaches Forgiveness to the Holy City

September 2017 - Cover Story
by Deena Bouknight

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September 2017 - Cover Story

In one of the country’s most historic cities, where modernity recognizes the beautiful steeples much more than the Gospel, an unlikely revival has taken shape. People are being drawn to know the Lord and study the Word like never before. Why? Because a 21-year-old white Columbia man walked into a black Charleston church one Wednesday night two years ago and fired 77 bullets, killing nine people. Jesus said we need to forgive 70 times seven. This is just what these victims’ families are doing – and their forgiveness is transformative.

In Holy Trinity, an 1880 Charleston neighborhood church with a sky blue ceiling and 20 pews, four people gathered on a sultry Wednesday afternoon – Rev. Anthony Thompson, with his wife’s sister, Ruby Henry; Rev. David Booman; and Linda Prince.

What could have been a somber recollection of the massacre at Mother Emanuel Church was instead an enthusiastic discourse on forgiveness. The unlikely quartet prepared for the evening’s city-wide Bible studies, intended to “glorify God, not memorialize the victims,” according to Thompson, whose wife, Myra, was one of those killed two years ago.

Why did Christ die for you?

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