RELIGION

Interim pastor walks line between leading, comforting stricken members of Emanuel AME

  • FILE - In this June 21, 2015, file photo, Rev. Norvel Goff speaks during a prayer service at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C., four days after a mass shooting that claimed the lives of it's pastor and eight others. The 65-year-old Goff was named interim leader of the historic church called “Mother Emanuel” at one of the lowest points in its nearly 200-year history. But the Georgetown, South Carolina, native says the church won’t dwell on the past. (AP Photo/David Goldman, Pool, File)

    FILE - In this June 21, 2015, file photo, Rev. Norvel Goff speaks during a prayer service at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C., four days after a mass shooting that claimed the lives of it's pastor and eight others. The 65-year-old Goff was named interim leader of the historic church called “Mother Emanuel” at one of the lowest points in its nearly 200-year history. But the Georgetown, South Carolina, native says the church won’t dwell on the past. (AP Photo/David Goldman, Pool, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this June 21, 2015, file photo, Rev. Dr. Norvel Goff speaks during a worship service at Emanuel A.M.E. Churchin Charleston, S.C., four days after a mass shooting at the church claimed the lives of its pastor and eight others. The 65-year-old Goff was named interim leader of the historic church called “Mother Emanuel” at one of the lowest points in its nearly 200-year history. But the Georgetown, South Carolina, native says the church won’t dwell on the past. (Paul Zoeller/The Post And Courier via AP, File)

    FILE - In this June 21, 2015, file photo, Rev. Dr. Norvel Goff speaks during a worship service at Emanuel A.M.E. Churchin Charleston, S.C., four days after a mass shooting at the church claimed the lives of its pastor and eight others. The 65-year-old Goff was named interim leader of the historic church called “Mother Emanuel” at one of the lowest points in its nearly 200-year history. But the Georgetown, South Carolina, native says the church won’t dwell on the past. (Paul Zoeller/The Post And Courier via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this June 21, 2015, file photo, Rev. Norvel Goff prays at the empty seat of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church four days after a mass shooting that claimed the lives of Pinckney and eight others in Charleston, S.C. The 65-year-old Goff was named interim leader of the historic church called “Mother Emanuel” at one of the lowest points in its nearly 200-year history. But the Georgetown, South Carolina, native says the church won’t dwell on the past.(AP Photo/David Goldman, Pool, File)

    FILE - In this June 21, 2015, file photo, Rev. Norvel Goff prays at the empty seat of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church four days after a mass shooting that claimed the lives of Pinckney and eight others in Charleston, S.C. The 65-year-old Goff was named interim leader of the historic church called “Mother Emanuel” at one of the lowest points in its nearly 200-year history. But the Georgetown, South Carolina, native says the church won’t dwell on the past.(AP Photo/David Goldman, Pool, File)  (The Associated Press)

The Rev. Norvel Goff will walk into Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church for Bible study keenly aware of the crushing burden now on his shoulders.

He's expected to be a comforter, a teacher, a man of God and most powerfully, a leader of a church whose heart is heavy with the tragic loss of its senior pastor and eight members.

The 65-year-old Goff was named interim leader of the historic church called "Mother Emanuel" at one of the lowest points in its nearly 200-year history. But the Georgetown, South Carolina, native says the church won't dwell on the past.

He'll lead the church through its Bible study Wednesday night, exactly one week after police say a 21-year-old white man opened fire on the group after sitting with them for an hour.