Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest AME church in the South also known affectionately as "Mother Emanuel," held its first worship service on Sunday since the devastating shooting that killed nine people.

"It's by faith that we are standing here and sitting here," said Reverend Novel Goff, who is the interim pastor for the church until the succeeding senior pastor is chosen. Reverend Clementa Pinckney, the senior pastor of Emanuel AME, was among those killed on Wednesday.

"It has been tough. It has been rough," Goff continued. "Some of us have been downright angry. But through it all, God has sustained us."

Goff spoke from Isaiah 54:17, which says, "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper."

"Some folks might need some more time in order to walk in. But for those of us who are here this morning," Goff said, "because the doors of Mother Emanuel are open on this Sunday, it sends a message to every demon in hell and on earth."

"No evildoer, no demon in hell or on Earth can close the doors of God's church," he said during prayers.

Wednesday night Bible studies are expected to continue at Emanuel AME, according to Harold Washington, a 75-year-old member of the church.

Security at the Sunday service was high. Numerous police officers stood watch during the service, and bags were checked before people were allowed into the church. Cameras and water bottles were forbidden from being taken into the service.

Crowds flooded to Emanuel AME on Sunday, including those who are local, and those who were in Charleston from outside of the state. Seats in the middle were reserved for Emanuel AME members, while individuals from the public were allowed to sit in seats to the right and the left of the church. People gathered outside the church and listened in to the service through speakers.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Senator Tim Scott, Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley, and North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey were also present at the Sunday service.

Churches across Charleston rang their bells at the same time at 10 AM on Sunday, expressing their condolences for the victims whose lives were taken in the shooting on Thursday.

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