DEQUINCY, LA (KPLC) - Juneteenth celebrates the official end of slavery in the United States and the Guiding Light Church of God in Christ in Dequincy is making sure that after almost 150 years, the date is still remembered.
"We can look back where God has brought us," said church member Darlene Hooker. "We can thank God for today and we can trust him for the future."
The church held its first annual community prayer celebration to honor the official end of slavery on June 19, 1865. Community members came together for a unity prayer service just like the church did long ago.
The church honored a picture that was taken over 50 years ago of local Dequincy pastors gathering together for a common cause.
"These pastors were able to come together in the 50's or the 60's and they saw a need for unity of our community of Dequincy, Louisiana," said Skinner.
Guest speaker Pastor Emeritus Thomas Cardwell of Dequincy shared his word at the service and says today's event proves that unity in Dequincy still exists.
"It's a good gesture when people come together and bond together in unity for a common purpose to serve the Lord to be drawn closer," said Cardwell.
Hooker says Cardwell's presence proves that not only has Southwest Louisiana come a long way but so has the nation.
"All races took part in us becoming free," said Hooker. "It was special that Pastor Cardwell was with us so, it seems like it's just gone full circle."
When asked what Juneteenth meant to them, a few spoken words came mind.
"It made me think of what Jesus said," said Pastor G.W. Skinner. "He who the sun set free is definitely free indeed."
The church will continue their Juneteenth celebration that's open to the public Saturday, June 21st at Temple Inland Park in Dequincy with food, music and games from 5-8.