WASHINGTON — Following “considerable prayer and discussion” prompted by the August protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, Washington National Cathedral has decided to remove stained-glass windows honoring two Confederate generals.
The leadership of the landmark church in the nation’s capital had planned to spend a lengthy period discussing race-related issues before deciding what to do with the windows. That plan was made after the fatal shooting of nine members of a Bible study group at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.
But a statement released Sept. 6 said that “after considerable prayer and discussion,” the cathedral’s board, called Chapter, voted a day earlier “to immediately remove the windows.”
“The Chapter believes that these windows are not only inconsistent with our current mission to serve as a house of prayer for all people, but also a barrier to our important work on racial justice and racial reconciliation,” reads a letter from Washington Episcopal Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, Washington National Cathedral Dean Randy Hollerith and Cathedral Chapter Chair John Donoghue.
In August 2016 the cathedral quietly removed the panels depicting the Confederate flag and replaced them with red and blue panes to match surrounding glass. But the overall glass and stone bays honoring two generals, Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, remained.
“These windows will be deconsecrated, removed, conserved and stored until we can determine a more appropriate future for them,” the leaders wrote. “The window openings and stonework in the Lee-Jackson Bay will be covered over until we determine what will go in their place.” (RNS)