Church holds prayer vigil in support of repeal

Nancy Quinn of Dover prays silently inside Christ Episcopal Church during the daylong prayer vigil held at the historic Dover church for the repeal of Delaware’s death penalty. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

Nancy Quinn of Dover prays silently inside Christ Episcopal Church during the daylong prayer vigil held at the historic Dover church for the repeal of Delaware’s death penalty. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

DOVER — Deacon Patricia Malcolm of Christ Episcopal Church in Dover said prayer changes lives, so the church held an all-day vigil to pray for the repeal of the death penalty on Thursday.

“I believe that the Holy Spirit moves and works in ways that we don’t understand,” Deacon Malcolm said.

“It’s that spirit that I pray will weave into the fabrics of the hearts of those legislators for them to realize that this isn’t a good thing,” she said.

The church was open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Throughout mid-day, people came in and out and either offered a prayer or simply listened to the exhortations to abolish capital punishment in Delaware.

“For over 50 years the Episcopal Church has consistently supported the repeal of death penalty lives,” said Bishop Wayne Wright, of the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware.

“Our diocese has joined with the other Delaware churches and interfaith groups to advocate for repeal. This is a good time for Delaware to make this common sense decision.”

Even as people gathered at Christ Episcopal just a few blocks away the Delaware House of Representatives were scheduled to debate and vote on a bill to repeal Delaware’s death penalty. The Senate already has passed the bill.

Jeanine Kleimo, chairperson of the board of directors for Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing, believes the death penalty should be repealed because everyone deserves a second chance.

“I deal with men every day who have come out of prison and I see that lives can change and that people can repent,” Ms. Kleimo said.

“I think it’s core to our beliefs as Christians that people should have the chance to rebuild their lives or faith.”

The mission provides shelter and other assistance for area homeless men.

Dover resident Chuck Hughes shared the sentiment.

“God didn’t make us to be killed off,” Mr. Hughes said. “Obviously when someone murders someone he’s doing something wrong, but that doesn’t mean that you have to kill them.”

Deacon Malcolm said all lives need to be respected.

“We say that we vow to respect the dignity of every human being,” Deacon Malcolm said. “In my prayers I mentioned that we should give people a chance to reform and work with people.

“People do things that they may not normally do and we have to give people a chance to repent and turn their lives around.”

She said everyone’s life has value.

“I ask myself if somebody took someone’s life or did something to someone in a fit of anger, how are we different than that person if we put that person to death? We took a life, so we’re doing the same,” Deacon Malcolm asked.

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