S.C. church to donate $1.5M to massacre survivors, victims’ families
12/5/2015, 5:19 a.m.
The Associated Press
The South Carolina church where the pastor and eight parishioners were shot and killed in a racially motivated attack earlier this year is sharing about half of the money donated to it with survivors of the attack and the families of those killed.
Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., will donate about $1.5 million of the $3.4 million given in the wake of the June 17 massacre to Charleston’s Hope Fund, an organization that collected money for the families of those killed and the five survivors inside the church, according to a news release. That group has raised nearly $3 million on its own.
Even though nearly all the $3.4 million was donated specifically to the church, members felt it was important to share with those who suffered the most, said the Rev. Norvel Goff Sr., interim pastor of Emanuel A.M.E.
“The church, in its benevolence, has made what we feel is a tremendous gift out of honor to the victims’ families and the survivors, too. We continue the healing process, but this marks a passage in that healing,” Rev. Goff said in the statement.
Emanuel A.M.E. will use its share of the donations for building improvements, a permanent memorial to the victims, scholarships and community outreach projects.
But the church said it won’t be able to donate half to Charleston’s Hope Fund until the resolution of a lawsuit by the husband of one of the victims demanding the church account for how the donations have been managed.
Arthur Hurd, whose wife, Cynthia, was one of the nine killed, sued after asking the church for information for months and getting nothing, his lawyer Mullins McLeod Jr. told The Post and Courier newspaper of Charleston.
“Sometimes being a good parishioner means asking hard, tough questions to those in authority,” Mr. McLeod said.
Dylann Roof spent an hour in Bible study at Emanuel A.M.E. church on June 17 before firing dozens of shots at the pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was a member of the state Senate, and church members, police said. He told the survivors at the historically black church he was killing them because he hated African-Americans, authorities have said.
Mr. Roof is awaiting trial next summer in state court on nine counts of murder, for which he can get the death penalty if convicted. He also is charged with hate crimes in federal court, where prosecutors are deciding if he should face the death penalty in that court as well.