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Charleston Church Holds First Service Since Shootings

The Huffington Post

Charleston, S.C. -- Four days after a gunman killed nine inside the basement of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, the doors were once again open to welcome congregants.

"We ask that everything be done with dignity. There will be no backpacks, fanny packs or cameras. This is for security purposes," a man doing crowd control at the church told the swarm of people assembled near the door.

Charleston police stood in the vestibule.

Church members were given priority among a crowd that included mostly visitors and press. Women were allowed in first in a show of chivalry but also for security. "We will be checking pocketbooks," announced one usher.

Like on so many Sundays before tragedy struck this historic church, they started with Sunday school at 8:30 a.m. Service began at 9:30 a.m.

There were no programs to detail the order of the service.