Racial reconciliation and justice is a top missional priority at Washington National Cathedral.
St. John reminds us, “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” The Cathedral seeks to act for justice and model prayerful and productive conversations around issues of race. In our worship, advocacy and witness, we aim to help create Dr. King’s Beloved Community for all of God’s children.
Jan. 16, 2017 | 2 p.m. | We Shall Not Be Moved: Sanctuary, Witness and Covenant
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called on faith communities, specifically the church, to be sanctuary for those in need and to demonstrate public witness to injustice. Through song, narrative, and prophetic reflection, this celebration will explore how faith communities have lived into that call, and what sanctuary and witness look like today.
We will end in the act of covenant – mutual commitment to one another and to the ongoing movement for a just reconciliation, the freedom for which King and others worked tirelessly.
Oct. 26, 2016 | 7 p.m. | Monuments Speak: The Lee-Jackson Windows
In 2015, immediately following the Charleston massacre, then-Dean Gary Hall called for the removal of two stained glass windows in the Cathedral that honor Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. After a year of exploration by an appointed task force, the Cathedral made the decision to remove the image of the Confederate battle flag from these two windows and to embark on a program of robust discussion and engagement on race and the Church.
On October 26 at 7pm, the Cathedral will hold our first public conversation focused on these windows. Speakers will reflect on their historical and current context, and respond to the Cathedral’s decision to remove the image of the Confederate flag while retaining the full windows during this interim period.
- Dr. Rex Ellis, Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs, National Museum of African American History and Culture
- Dr. John Coski, Historian at The American Civil War Museum and author of “The Confederate Battle Flag: America’s Most Embattled Emblem”
- The Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, Canon Theologian at Washington National Cathedral
- moderated by journalist Ray Suarez
This program is underwritten by gifts given in honor of the Very Rev. Gary Hall in thanksgiving for his leadership and prophetic voice during his tenure at Washington National Cathedral.
Sept. 21, 2016 | Freedom’s Call & Response in African American Spirituals
In partnership with the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Cathedral presents “God’s Gonna Trouble the Water: Freedom’s Call & Response in African American Spirituals.”
Spirituals tell the often untold story of a people in their struggle to survive and be free from the tyranny of slavery. Through rhythms and song, an enslaved people crafted a music that testified to their faith and their humanity as it contested the ideologies and institutions that enslaved them. The spirituals found expression through the blues and the freedom songs of the Civil Rights movement and continue to call out to us today as they witness to a time when all of God’s children will be free.
Selections include Wade in the Water, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Woke up this Morning, Go Down Moses, This Little Light of Mine, We Shall Overcome, and John Coltrane’s searing composition Alabama, composed as musical response to the Birmingham church bombing of 1963.
Speakers and Musicians include:
- The Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, Canon Theologian at the Cathedral
- The Rev. Dr. Rosemarie Duncan, Canon for Worship at the Cathedral
- Kehembe Eichelberger, Associate Professor of Voice at Howard University
- Stanley Thurston, Artist-in-Residence at the Cathedral and Artistic Director of Washington Performing Arts
- Dr. Eileen Guenther, Professor of Church Music at Wesley Theological Seminary
For additional information, click here.
July 17, 2016 | The dialogue continues
On Sunday, July 17, the Cathedral hosted a panel discussion on “What the White Church Must Do,” in partnership with the March on Washington Film Festival.
- The Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop of Washington and Interim Cathedral Dean
- The Rev. Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners and author of America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America
- The Rev. Dr. Delman Coates, senior pastor of Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, Md. (Pastor Coates’ sermon can be found here)
- The Rev. Amy Stapleton, team leader for organizational accountability at the General Commission on Religion and Race of the United Methodist Church
- The Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas (moderator), the Cathedral’s Canon Theologian and author of Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God