On June 17, 2015, nine members of the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, including the Sr. Pastor, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, were slain while attending their weekly church bible study and prayer service.

This Friday, Sept. 7, two family members of individuals killed in this shooting and one survivor of that tragedy will be at Wilton Congregational Church to discuss the power of forgiveness in their lives.

This extraordinary event on the topic of “Forgiveness” is being hosted by Morning Meditations with Sisters in Community, on Friday, Sept. 7 at 11:30 a.m.. The Sisters’ special guests will focusing on the unimaginable–forgiving an assassin for slaying innocent family members while attending a bible study. They will discuss how they say their faith enabled them to forgive the assassin and pray for his soul.

Joining the discussion will be Polly Shepard, who has been a member of Mother Emanuel AME Church for decades. She is one of two survivors who were in the study that Wednesday evening. The assassin spared her and one other survivor because his gun was empty.

Also attending will be Rev. Anthony Thompson, whose wife, Myra, was leading the Bible Study when she was struck by an assassin’s bullet. Rev. Thompson is currently traveling the country teaching and preaching on the subject of forgiveness. His forgiveness experience is featured in the soon to be nationally released film documentary entitled, Emanuel.

Also part of the discussion will be Rose Simmons, whose father, Rev. Daniel Lee Simmons, Sr. was a senior member of Mother Emanuel Church and was also killed. Rose grappled with the grief of senseless murder. She decided that her only option going forward was to forgive Dylan Roof, the assassin. Inspired by her father and her faith, Rose Simmons found the words to speak to the shooter in a crowded courtroom. “I wanted to extend that very same hand of love and friendship that each of those victims extended to him at that bible study. Pleading the blood of Jesus over him. Who am I not to do that? I forgave him, before I even knew that he had murdered my father,” she says.

Guests are invited to attend and learn how the speakers say their lives have taken on new purpose and about the empowerment they’re experiencing as result of choosing forgiveness.