SPARTANBURG, S.C. — The pastor of the South Carolina church where nine members were killed more than two years ago says he worries race relations in the country are getting worse.

News outlets report the Rev. Eric Manning of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston told students at the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg on Thursday that faith and kindness can lead to progress.

Self-avowed racist Dylann Roof has been sentenced to die for the June 17, 2015, shooting during a Bible study.

Manning said race relations in the United States may be regressing, pointing to the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August.

Manning said he hopes the country can use the same strength, resolve and faith that Charleston used after the church shooting to address racial inequality.