"...the religious impulse runs deep and wide in us as a people. ... Coming together...at the beginning of a new president’s term
and in the nation’s church, seems important and right.” -- Samuel T. Lloyd III, dean, Washington National Cathedral
So where does the new President of the United States go after his inauguration? To the Washington National Cathedral – for the Inaugural Prayer Service.
On Wednesday, Jan. 21, the National Cathedral (also known as the nation’s church and serving as the Episcopal Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul) at Wisconsin Avenue in Washington, D.C., hosts the every-four-years event that was renewed by FDR in 1933, when, as Cathedral Dean Samuel T. Lloyd III notes in the January 2009 newsletter, “the world was in the depths of an even deeper economic crisis” than now faces Barack Obama.
On the first full day of his presidency, Mr. Obama and members of his Cabinet, Congress, the Supreme Court and more – who represent all of us -- gather in the nave and join in an ecumenical and interfaith service intended to bolster them “as they steer us through some of the most turbulent waters in decades,” writes Dean Lloyd.
“In some ways it may seem odd,” Dean Lloyd adds, “for a nation so committed to the separation of church and state to have an inaugural service. But the religious impulse runs deep and wide in us as a people. We pray to a God who is known by many names and is worshipped in many ways. Coming together in this way, at the beginning of a new president’s term and in the nation’s church, seems important and right.”
Nancy E. Thoerig
Note: The Inaugural Prayer Service can be viewed from the National Cathedral web site. It's fantastic! Having sat in the choir at numerous Evensong services and felt the choir voices and organ pipes surge in my blood and bones, I can say, when viewing the inaugural service, I felt almost as if I were there. In front of the computer is the best seat in the house. The service lasts just a little more than 1 hour, 20 minutes. The full event program also may be viewed from the web site. A good companion to the video, it lists names and affiliations of participants.
by Nancy E. Thoerig 02.04.09