The Rt. Rev. Mariann Budde, Bishop of Washington, discusses Washington National Cathedral’s plans for its Inaugural Prayer Service:
On the day after the national election, we held prayer services at Washington National Cathedral. We had planned the liturgy knowing that whatever the election’s outcome, half of the country would feel exiled in their own land. I preached from the prophet Jeremiah, who knew well the spiritual terrain of exile. I invited those gathered to pray the Prayer of St. Francis. And I said that if asked, Washington National Cathedral would host an interfaith inaugural prayer service in January.
As that day approaches, many in our church and in our land question Dean [Randolph] Hollerith’s and my willingness to host an inaugural prayer service for one whose behavior and words have been so offensive and divisive. We also have been asked why we accepted the invitation for the Cathedral choristers to sing at as part as the musical prelude to the inauguration when so many other artists and performers, on principle, declined that invitation.
First, I want to acknowledge the anger and disappointment that our decisions have engendered. And to say that I’m listening, because the spiritual principles that move many of you to protest are essential for the work that lies ahead. While I do not ask you to agree, I simply ask you to consider that we, too, acted on spiritual principles. Those principles, while they may seem to conflict with yours, are also essential for the work that lies ahead.