The Charleston church where nine parishioners attending a Bible study were shot and killed has a new pastor.

Local news outlets report the Rev. Dr. Betty Deas Clark was appointed the first female pastor at historic Emanuel AME Church on Saturday and delivered her first sermon, a message of hope, on Sunday.

She told parishioners if the congregation as a family believes in God, the church's best days are ahead.

The church's pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney who was also a state senator, was one of the victims of last June's shootings. A white man, Dylann Roof, is charged in the killings.

Clark succeeds interim pastor the Rev. Dr. Norvel Goff who's now the presiding elder of the AME church in the region and running for bishop.