Who We Are

Grounded in the reconciling love of Jesus Christ, Washington National Cathedral is a house of prayer for all people, conceived by our founders to serve as a great church for national purposes.

What We Do

Washington National Cathedral holds a unique place at the intersection of sacred and civic life. As the Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, we strive to serve God and our neighbors as agents of reconciliation, a trusted voice of moral leadership and a sacred space where the country gathers during moments of national significance.

Our Strategic Plan

The work of Washington National Cathedral is guided by our 2019-2023 Strategic Plan, focused on Welcoming, Deepening, Convening and Serving. Read the plan.

Our Core Beliefs

Washington National Cathedral is a House of Prayer for All People, rooted in the Episcopal Church yet open to all. We believe every person is a beloved child of God, and we aim to live out our Baptismal Covenant to “respect the dignity of every human being.”

As Episcopalians, we believe in and worship a loving, liberating and life-giving God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe in following the teachings of Jesus Christ, whose life, death and resurrection saved the world.

We serve as the spiritual home for the Episcopal Diocese of Washington (currently led by Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde) as well as the wider Episcopal Church (currently led by Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry). Episcopalians are members of the worldwide Anglican Communion and trace our lineage to the Church of England.

We believe that leadership in the church is available to all, both lay and ordained, male and female, and can be expressed by all people, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity.

Our Commitments

Every person is a beloved child of God and a reflection of the beauty of God’s good creation. Our strategic vision is anchored in four pillars: Welcoming, Deepening, Convening and Serving. That vision animates everything we do, but especially:

We are an equal opportunity employer and strive to create a more diverse and inclusive atmosphere for all. Applicants will not be discriminated against because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin. We support an inclusive workplace where associates excel based on personal merit, qualifications, experience, ability and job performance. Here at the Cathedral, we invite you to bring your authentic self to work with you. 

This Cathedral welcomes the gifts and the love of our LGBTQ+ siblings. We seek to be a refuge for those who have been harmed by the church, and the breadth and depth of Cathedral life is open to all – no exceptions. Like Jesus, we stand with all those who have been marginalized, pushed aside and told they don’t belong. If you’re looking for a place where your life and love can be celebrated and embraced, welcome home.

We are called to be responsible stewards of the beauty and wonder of God’s creation. We are committed to the protection of the environment and stand in solidarity with the poor and vulnerable who are most likely to suffer the devastating effects of climate change. 

In this polarized era of our nation’s life, we are committed to the defense of American democracy and of our shared civic institutions. We fully support the right of all people to vote in free and fair elections, and will stand vigilant against threats to God’s gift of self-determination and democratic ideals.

We believe a right relationship with God starts when we are in right relationship with one another. That’s why we promote opportunities for engagement and reconciliation. Everyone who enters the Cathedral should expect to encounter open hearts and open minds. In everything we do, we seek to model engagement that is marked by civility and mutual respect.

As America confronts the original sin of racism and slavery, we believe there is no place in God’s kingdom for discrimination or hatred of any kind. We celebrate the diverse tapestry of humanity, where each soul reflects the image and likeness of God. That’s why we’re committed to working for racial justice, racial reconciliation and equality for all. None of us is free until all of us are free.

We remember and honor the Indigenous people of North America, in particular the Anacostan, Piscataway and Pamunkey nations, who called this land home. We also acknowledge that enslaved people, bound in the evil institution of slavery, toiled on this land in the decades before it was acquired by Cathedral founders.

We express our gratitude for their witness on how to live honorably and humbly. May we always remember that the Earth does not belong to us, that we belong to the Earth, and that we are all relatives in life. May God help us to learn from our past errors and be instruments of justice and peace for all people.

Our History

The idea for a sacred home for all Americans in the nation’s capital is as old as the country itself. Pierre L’Enfant’s original design for the new capital city included a “great church for national purposes,” an idea that sat idle until a congressional charter authorized a cathedral dedicated to religion, education and charity, in 1893. Construction began in 1907, when President Theodore Roosevelt helped lay the foundation stone. Through world wars, the Great Depression and immense social change, construction ended exactly 83 years after it began, when President George H.W. Bush oversaw the laying of the final stone atop the towers, in 1990.

The Cathedral is an active member of The Episcopal Church and is supported by generous donors from across the globe; we receive no direct support from the federal government or any national church body.

Our Leaders

The Cathedral is led by the Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, who was installed as the Cathedral’s 11th dean in 2016. He is assisted by the provost, the Rev. Canon Jan Naylor Cope, and a full-time staff of more than 85 employees, as well as hundreds of volunteers. The Cathedral is overseen by a board of directors known as the Cathedral Chapter, and works closely with the Episcopal Bishop of Washington, currently the Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde.

The Cathedral is managed by the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation, which also includes the three schools on the Cathedral Close: Beauvoir: The National Cathedral Elementary School, National Cathedral School and St. Albans School.