Photo Credit: Courtesy Arkansas Department of Corrections/REUTERS
[Trinity Episcopal Cathedral] Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Little Rock, Arkansas, is to hold a service of prayer and vigil ahead of the scheduled executions of prisoners on death row this week and next.
In a statement, the church said: "Our prayers and music for this solemn occasion are Easter-themed. They will be for the men sentenced to death and their loved ones, for the victims of the acts for which they have been sentenced and their loved ones, and for those who must execute these sentences. For all of these, and for ourselves, we will pray for hope, for strength, and for mercy.
"This service will take place whether or not executions go forward on Thursday night. The uncertainty itself calls for prayerful attention.
"If the executions now planned for this Thursday do take place as scheduled, then following worship, participants are invited to keep a silent candlelight vigil in the Cathedral, continuing up to the moment of execution, at which time Cathedral tower bells will toll.
"Guests at the service are expected to include some members of the Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, who plan to make the short walk to the gate of the Governor’s Mansion, and keep a candlelight vigil there.
"If the executions now scheduled for Monday 24 April and Thursday 27 April take place, we will have a brief ecumenical service each of those nights at 6 p.m., followed by candlelight vigil in the Cathedral culminating in the toll of bells.
The services and vigils are offered for the public and all are welcome. To let the emphasis be on prayer, we ask that no photographs or video be taken inside the church."