Church Debates its Namesake

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Michelle Boorstein reports for The Washington Post on R.E. Lee Memorial Church’s debate about whether to change its name:

Less than two weeks after a deadly white-supremacist rally, leaders of R.E. Lee found themselves back at the table Monday night, with some again pressing the issue of a name change. While the church has been divided in the past over the issue, Charlottesville has pushed more members and some in leadership to conclude that, no matter what good Lee did in Lexington a century ago, white supremacists have taken ownership of his reputation and made him their symbol. The bishop has made clear that the name is a distraction from sharing the gospel and is heading to Lexington in the next week or two to push the issue. A petition to change the name has nearly 6,000 signatures.

… Yet as Confederate monuments and statues around the country have been coming down — including some in the middle of the night to avoid violence and protests — church leaders in Lexington decided Monday that they were still too divided, with several of the 13 vestry members opposed to a change. One came in his military uniform straight from a Virginia Military Academy ceremony and swore the issue was American disrespect of service members. Another threatened to resign if there wasn’t a promise to continue the name-change conversation (and did Tuesday morning).

Read the rest.

Tip of the biretta: John Chilton at Episcopal Café


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