On Saturday, September 9, approximately 200 people gathered on the front lawn of the Cathedral for an Interfaith Picnic. The InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington and Washington National Cathedral, in partnership, sponsored this event in preparation for the Unity Walk held Sunday, September 10. This event was supported by approximately 23 volunteers representing numerous faiths and places of worship across the DMV.

It was heartwarming to see a tapestry of God’s children in fellowship over the sharing of meals, community singing, dancing, conversation, and activities. Participants enjoyed music by the Washington Revels; played People Bingo; and created a UNITY project. The evening concluded with the Havdalah, the Jewish ritual that marks the end of Shabbat.

The UNITY project, created by Nancy Belmont of Alexandria, Virginia, is a response to the divisiveness we now see around the world. It was exciting to have Nancy join us for the Interfaith Picnic! UNITY project is a large structure created as participants weave colorful yarn back and forth between posts reflecting personal identities. This collective weaving results in a canopy of interconnectedness celebrating both our respective uniqueness as well as our commonalities.

The UNITY project remained on the front lawn of the Cathedral for all to enjoy Sunday morning. Worshipers, as well as visitors to the Cathedral grounds, enjoyed the message of respect and tolerance conveyed by our UNITY project.

It was most exciting to witness new friendships evolve among all attendees, guests and volunteers throughout this event. In addition, the curiosity of several people, who live in the neighborhood, brought them into the UNITY project asking questions about the event, project, and the Cathedral. Some of these individuals have lived for decades in the neighborhood, enjoy the grounds daily, but have never been inside the Cathedral. As a result of this event at least four individuals communicated how pleased they were with the hospitality and welcoming conveyed at the Interfaith Picnic—prompting them to express interest in coming into the Cathedral in the near future!

To God be the glory!

Christine Bingaman