LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Amid the federal ruling halting the eight executions scheduled to begin Monday, the 29th Annual Community Easter Sunrise Service brought a little hope to hundreds of Arkansans.
Furonda Brasfield, Executive Director for The Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty opened the service with a prayer for peace during a time when Arkansas leaders are deciding what to do next.
"We come now as humble as we know how,” Brasfield said. “To ask for peace on our land."
Dennis Harris attended this year's Easter service going on 12 years.
"You never know what a word of encouragement can do,” Harris said. “It gives us hope."
That hope felt throughout the hearts of Arkansans. The service comes just one day before eight prisoners are scheduled to be executed, as several court cases may keep that from happening for now.
"I'm glad it's delayed,” Harris said. “God loves all of us, and the decisions that we make in life will be judged by God."
City leaders, community choirs, and Arkansans filled the seats at the amphitheater at Little Rock's River Market. Harris believes the service is one way to make the community stronger, more unified and uplifted.
"When I come down here and see all of the different races and everybody together,” Harris said. “It lets me know that we are not lost."
Belinda Price Reverend for Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church was happy to see familiar faces, but she knows that a decision must soon be made. She's hoping it will add ease both to the victim's families and their alleged killers, but for now she celebrates a service that gets Arkansans worshipping together, keeping in mind the purpose for this year's Easter service.
"Bless our leaders Lord and give them the strength to always choose peace even when it's unpopular,” Brasfield said. “In your son Christ Jesus name, peace be still, Amen."
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