Joe Biden

Wake to Be Held at Charleston Church for Slain Pastor Clementa Pinckney

Pinckney, the church's pastor and a state senator, was slain in the attack on the church last week.

Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church will hold a wake Thursday for slain pastor Clementa Pinckney, a reverend and state senator who was killed, along with eight others, in the massacre at the historic church last week.

The wake will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., the church announced in a statement Wednesday.

Hundreds of worshipers crowded into the pews of Mother Emanuel, as the church is known, on Sunday to mourn Pickney and the eight other victims of the shooting at Bible study last week.

"It has been tough. It has been rough," said the Rev. Dr. Norvel Goff, a church elder who delivered Sunday's sermon. "But through it all, God has sustained us and has encouraged us. Let us not grow weary in well doing."

A lion of South Carolina government and a beloved figure in the Charleston community, Pinckney was a precocious public servant. He was ordained a minister at 18 and elected to the state House at 23, making him the youngest member of the House at the time.

"He never had anything bad to say about anybody, even when I thought he should," State House Minority leader Todd Rutherford told The Associated Press. "He was always out doing work either for his parishioners or his constituents. He touched everybody."

Vice President Joe Biden called Pinckney "a good man, a man of faith, a man of service who carried forward Mother Emaunel's legacy as a sacred place promoting freedom, equality, and justice for all."

Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old white man, has been charged with nine counts of murder in the church massacre. Authorities called the shooting a "hate crime." A website that may be linked with Roof featured white-supremacist rantings and pictures of Roof wearing white-supremacist iconography.

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