WASHINGTONWashington National Cathedral will ring the Bourdon Bell, its largest funereal bell, for one minute on Sunday, August 25, 2019 at 3 p.m. ET as part of a national day of action to remember and honor the first enslaved Africans who landed in North America 400 years ago, in 1619.

Episcopal churches and other houses of prayer around the country will ring their bells at the same time, and Cathedral clergy will be available to talk with media following the bell-tolling.

“As the bell that we ring to commemorate loss, the Bourdon Bell strikes a solemn but important note in our community and our faith tradition,” said the Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, Dean of Washington National Cathedral. “It acknowledges the pain and suffering of loss, but also beckons us toward a place of healing and reconciliation. Now, 400 years after the first slaves were brought to this continent against their will, we ring it to both honor and recognize their strength in the face of injustice and dehumanization, and to work toward a better, more just and more equitable world moving forward.”

The bell-tolling is part of a national day of action, which was called for by Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and Bishop James B. Magness of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia. In addition to the National Cathedral and other Episcopal churches around the county, the National Park Service – which operates Fort Monroe in Virginia, where the first slave ship came ashore in October 1619 – will also participate in the day of remembrance.

The Sunday bell-tolling is the first of several Cathedral events to commemorate the 400th anniversary of slavery in North America; a public service will be held on Sunday, Oct. 27.

Media are invited to attend the tolling of the Bourdon Bell at the National Cathedral, and Cathedral spokespeople will be available for interview after the event. Those interested should RSVP to Tony Franquiz at [email protected].

WHAT: Tolling of the Bourdon Bell in remembrance of the 400th anniversary of slavery
WHERE: Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
WHEN: Sunday, August 25 at 3 p.m. ET
WHO: The Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, Dean of Washington National Cathedral

Tony Franquiz, 202-374-5393, [email protected]

About Washington National Cathedral

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.