COLUMBIA, S.C. — It's been one year since South Carolina's African American Episcopal (AME) churches closed due to COVID-19.
Church leaders commemorated the day with a special virtual service Sunday evening, as they grieved the loss of members who've died due to the virus.
More than 100 names of family, friends and loved ones scrolled across the screen in honor and remembrance of those who passed.
"How do we measure loss?," Bishop Samuel Green, Sr. asked. "How do we wrap our minds around the truth of putting so much treasure in the ground? It is beyond reason. There are no words.”
Bishop Green leads the roughly 500 AME churches across the state as part of the Seventh Episcopal District.
"We’re going to pray for the families, pray for the church community… that God will continue to strengthen us… because we don’t want our members to be just a number,” Bishop Green said. “These are people who used to live with us… who we loved."
While Green said AME churches remain closed to in-person worship for now, he added that he sees a "light at the end of the tunnel."
"I’m hoping that when this service is over persons will be inspired to get vaccinated, inspired to remain cautious and to practice CDC guidelines… so we can start getting back together, having family functions,” Bishop Green said. “I see the light and I know if we keep walking by faith and trusting God that we’ll get to the end of the tunnel.”
The AME church has teamed up with Walgreens and Prisma Health to expand vaccine access to the community. View our previous coverage here.