A Philadelphia church and its reverend mourned for the victims of the South Carolina church massacre notably the church's leader.
The shooting rampage that claimed nine lives at the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina hit home for AME followers in the Philadelphia region – especially for Rev. Mark Tyler, pastor of Mother Bethel AME Church on S 6th Street in Philly’s Society Hill neighborhood.
Tyler recently interviewed Rev. Clementa Pinckney, pastor of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston where a lone gunman killed nine people during a prayer meeting Wednesday morning. In the a snippet of the interview, Pinckney spoke of what it meant to be part of the oldest AME church in the south and the connections of the South Carolina church with Philadelphia.
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“It’s a humbling privilege I have to serve as the pastor,” said Pinckney.
Tyler was shocked to learn of his friend’s death.
“Between shock and disbelief and really the tears, it’s unbelievable,” Tyler told NBC10’s Monique Braxton.
Tyler said Pinckney, who also served in the South Carolina Senate was a rising star in the Democratic Party in his state.
“There’s no telling really where he could have gone,” said Tyler. “As a pastor he was diligent, he was outstanding, he had a lot of vision… just a very good person.”
Tyler plans to head to South Carolina to mourn his friend and colleague. Before he goes, the church will hold a prayer vigil Thursday night at 7.