Reverend Norvel Goff addressed a full Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina on Sunday, June 21, just five days after Dylann Roof killed nine people attending a Bible study. He began by commending theEmanuel AME church for showing the world that they had, “come together to pray and work out things to make [the] community and state a better place.” He told those present and watching online that the church had defied expectations by not rioting in the wake of the devastating shootings. Instead, they demonstrated that they were a people of faith. He also thanked law enforcement for their protection and the way they had treated the community with dignity and respect, to loud applause.
Weaving in themes of faith, endurance, and finding refuge in God, Reverend Goff taught out of Psalm 46:1-7, which starts out:
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea…
His words served as a reminder of God’s track record of faithfulness with His people. Tying into those themes, he spoke to the nine families directly and blessed them for their example of forgiveness. Regarding the surprise many news outlets and people online expressed at their forgiveness offered to Roof, Reverend Goff said:
“On this Father’s Day, you ought to know the 9 families Daddy. If you knew the 9 families Daddy, you would understand their behavior. Our Daddy told us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. And if you knew our Daddy, you would know He said ‘weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning.'”
Reverend Goff ended his address with a powerful testimony of the names and person of Jesus. You can watch the twenty-eight minute address below.