CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Faith groups across the country will participate in a June 17 bible study to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the massacre at Mother Emanuel AME Church.

The study will focus on the passage that parishioners were studying the night a gunman entered their church and killed nine people: Mark 4:1-20, The Parable of the Sower/Soils.

“As we examine the theme ‘What Kind of Soil Are We’, it is our prayer and hope that our communities will conduct a self-examination of what is in their heart. We must never allow the seed of hatred to pull our communities apart! We must continue to be intentional in reminding our communities about the power of forgiveness and the undeniable fact that love is stronger than hate,” said Rev. Eric Manning, Senior Pastor, Mother Emanuel AME Church.


The event will be nationally televised, and several prominent Lowcountry figures will participate.

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) will serve as one of the Honorary Co-Chairs of the event. He issued the following statement about the timeliness of the self-reflection that the event will bring:

“Seven years after the domestic terrorist attack at Mother Emanuel AME Church and as the nation mourns the innocent lives lost in recent attacks in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas, we find ourselves in the same
quagmire. This national Bible study is much needed and allows the nation to turn the mirror on itself. What kind of soil are we if we cannot or will not protect the lives of students in school and parishioners in their places of worship? We must not allow the threads that hold the fabric of this great country together to become unraveled by appalling silence.”

Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), another Honorary Co-Chair, expressed similar sentiment:

“As we solemnly remember the tragic murders of nine saints at Mother Emanuel AME Church seven years ago, we reflect not only on the painful challenges our nation still faces but also the tragedies we’ve turned into triumph. The national Bible Study represents an opportunity to unite in faith as we consider lessons in strength, perseverance, redemption, and courage. As we examine our nation’s heart, we must look to the future and ask: What kind of soil do we want to be? I believe today, more than ever, that our South Carolina family is a beacon of hope and model for how to heal our deepest wounds.”

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg will also serve as an Honorary Co-Chair.

The event will take place at Mother Emanual AME Church beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Other events commemorating the anniversary will take place throughout the week. Click here for more information.