Like most of Charleston, I was saddened, shocked and sickened in the pit of my being on Thursday morning when I learned of the shooting at Mother Emanuel and the deaths of Sen. Clementa Pinckney and his parishioners.

I am a white woman raised in the Jewish religion. I have lived in Charleston for 24 years. I have attended services, weddings, celebrations and funerals in many of our city’s churches and synagogues during these years.

However, it was during the celebration and coming home services at Mother Emanuel for Jack McCray back in November of 2011 when I first stepped inside this beautiful church.

During the memorial celebration, I leaned over to my husband and said, “I have never felt more welcomed anywhere” than the welcome we received walking into that church.

I don’t want to hear about the suspect. I don’t want to know his story and what might have been his motive. He has had his 15 minutes of attention. Please focus on the nine people who have died and let us know their stories and how their lives mattered and the good they did in their place of prayer.

Let us be a Holy City.

Annie Stone

Bayview Drive

Mount Pleasant