Prayer Vigil for Phillip Workman

Knoxville (WLVT) - Some of the faithful in Knoxville have gathered at St. James Episcopal church Tuesday to hold a vigil for Phillip Workman and speak out against the death penalty. They're joined by others throughout the state participating in similar events in Nashville, Memphis, and Chattanooga.

They may be small in number, but they're big in prayer.

"Life is a sacred gift. It's a gift to human and all beings on the earth and creation and I believe in the sacredness of life," Mary Lentsch says.

Just slightly more than ten people sat in the pews for tonight's vigil at St. James Episcopal Church.

"Tonight is about who we want to be as citizens of the state of Tennessee. Do we want to be a state that carries out executions?" Erik Johnson says.

Convicted cop-killer Phillip Workman's scheduled to die by lethal injection at 2:00 Wednesday morning.

The faithful gathered to pray, remember, and speak out against the death penalty.

"We believe in the power of prayer. We believe that there's a force greater than the force of violence--the power of love through changing people's hearts," Johnson says.

They say no matter the crime...

"No justification for taking a human person's life," Johnson continues.

Workman's convicted of killing memphis police officer Ronald Oliver in 1981.

Now more than 20 years later...prayers are lifted for him throughout Tennessee.

"Our prayers and our hopes are united across the state tonight. We're not alone here...in Memphis, and Nashville the people are gathering," Johnson continues.

Gathering to be with one another as another life is scheduled to be taken.

And death, vigil goers say, will only mean more sadness.

"Tonight, if this execution takes place then all of the friends of the supporters will have broken hearts to see another life taken," Mary Lentsch says.

Now all they can do is pray for clemency from Governor Bredesen.

Those at the vigil also read the names of the 103 inmates on death row in Tennessee. They say even after they leave the church, they'll continue to pray into the night that Governor Bredesen will issue clemency for Workman.


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