The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., is half a country away from Missouri, but on Sunday, a worship service will be conducted there to celebrate the state.
The service is a part of the Washington National Cathedral’s Major State Day celebrations, begun in 1996. On the third Sunday of each month, an 11 a.m. service is held to honor a state, according to the cathedral’s Web site. States would be honored this way once every four years.
Lee Berger, a regional volunteer leader for the cathedral, said she expects at least 200 Missourians to travel to Washington, D.C., for the service.
“It’s really neat to have the state honored, and it makes people aware of the cathedral,” she said.
Berger said the National Cathedral is the sixth largest in the world.
“I’ve visited all the other ones,” she said, “and I have to say we can be proud of the National Cathedral.”
The service is ecumenical, she said, meaning it will be conducted by lay people from many denominations.
The Rev. Gary Braun, director of the Catholic Student Center at Washington University in St. Louis, will be the guest preacher. The Rt. Rev. Barry Howe, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Missouri, and the Very Rev. Ronald H. Clingenpeel, dean of Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis, will also participate.
The Chancel Choir of Central Presbyterian Church of St. Louis will perform before the service, and the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis will sing a prelude to an evensong service later in the afternoon.
“This is a celebration for the people of Missouri,” said Ben Bradburn, program coordinator of the National Cathedral Association. “Each person will bring their own part of Missouri to the cathedral.”
During the service, Bradburn said, the congregation will pray specifically for the people and the government of Missouri.
“The uniqueness of Missouri will come out in a reflection on the gospel that day,” Braun said. “It’s an honor for Missouri to be celebrated in such a beautiful place.”
The Rev. Philip Rowland, director of the Chancel Choir, said his choir was honored by the invitation to perform, especially in the National Cathedral. “The cathedral is the soul and the heart of the nation’s capital,” Rowland said. “We’re looking forward to it.”
After the service, the National Cathedral Association will host a reception for Missouri visitors. Then, the organizers will give a tour of the cathedral.
Many parts of the cathedral are tied to Missouri, said Vanessa Andrews, director of the National Cathedral Association, in a release about the event. A St. Louis artist, Walter Hancock, created the bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln in the nave, the Christ in Majesty at the High Altar and the reredos — a screen behind the altar — in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd. Another St. Louis artist, Rodney Winfield, designed the “Space Window.” It incorporates a lunar rock from a 1969 mission.
The cathedral, on Mount Saint Albans, was completed in 1990 after 83 years of construction.