Huntsville pastors speak on Charleston church shooting

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The fatal shooting at a South Carolina church has the religious community rocked, even here in north Alabama.

"Our sister church has gone through a crisis," said Reverence Patrick Clayborn of St. John African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, the only AME church in Huntsville city limits.

He says the denomination is a tight-knit community, and that the horrific incident bring to light a painful reality.

"Racism is real," he said. "Being in the house of worship does not protect us from the trials and tribulations of life."

The effect of the shooting is felt across state, and religious, lines.

"I'm not concerned about the denomination, I'm concerned that those are people," said Reverend Adrian Davis of All Nations Christian Center. "It could be any church, and it still could be any church, because we're a welcome place, an inviting place with an open-door policy."

That Charleston church, Emanuel AME, has deep roots for the city, symbolizing a time when different races couldn't worship together.

When a founder of the church planned a slave revolt in the 1800s, it was burned to the ground.

"But that church rebuilt," said Rev. Clayborn.

"The AME church is a pillar for blacks and we look back and say 'when we couldn't worship with everyone, we had a church where we could go to worship God,'" said Rev. Davis.

"It is more than frustrating, it is disappointing," said Rev. Clayborn. "Even though we do have trials, our faith says that God is always with us, even in times like this."