Washington, DC, November 10, 2005
Pennsylvania Major State Day
Pennsylvania Celebrated at Special Service at Washington National Cathedral
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WASHINGTON Close to 1,400 worshipers celebrated the state of Pennsylvania and its people at Washington National Cathedral on Nov. 20, including hundreds upon hundreds who traveled in bus convoys from cities and towns in the Keystone State.
This is an extraordinary gathering from the state of Pennsylvania, the Very Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III, the Dean of Washington National Cathedral, said on welcoming the guests at a special service. There are a lot of people in Pennsylvania. My goodness, this is an amazing gathering.
Pennsylvanians played key roles at the 11 a.m. service and at the Evensong service later in the day. The Cathedral singles out a state each month for special prayer, inviting worshipers of all faiths to take part.
The Rev. John P. McNamee, a Roman Catholic pastor of Saint Malachy Church in Philadelphia, delivered the sermon as guest preacher at the 11 a.m. service. The Rev. William C. Gipson, a Baptist and chaplain at the University of Pennsylvania, spoke at the afternoon service.
The choir from St. Davids Episcopal Church in Wayne performed a prelude to the morning service while The Inspiration, a student a cappella group from the University of Pennsylvania, performed in the afternoon.
The tribute today shows me that the basis for everything is faith, said Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll, who was a Scripture reader. Im so proud of the people of Pennsylvania who came here today to show their faith and community, especially on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I think the value is it makes us all cognizant of whats going on in the world. This is a time of turmoil not just in the United States but across the world. We are all here to show our faith in each other and how we are going to deal with that.
In his message, McNamee said the United States is not as generous or as helpful as it might believe despite its abundant blessings. He said the contrast can be jarring between scenes of millions of people displaced by earthquake tragedy in Pakistan and proposals in this country to spend billions of dollars to return to the moon.
Despite our rhetoric, we are not proportionally more generous than others in sharing that abundance, McNamee said. And we are not special in some role of mega-power destined to spread freedom and democracy everywhere.
We are not destined to liberate Arab women, to impose our culture on others, McNamee said. We are not right to ignore or undermine the United Nations. We are not exempt from the banning of torture of the Geneva Conventions.
An estimated 850 Pennsylvanians attended the 11 a.m. event at the landmark cathedral, the sixth-largest in the world. The Right Rev. Robert Deane Rowley Jr., of Erie, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania, was lead celebrant. The Right Rev. Charles E. Bennison, Jr., of Philadelphia, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, was concelebrant.
Acolytes carrying colorful banners representing the many churches processed the Cathedrals center aisle during the first hymn.
The St. Davids Episcopal Church Choir fulfilled a longtime goal with its performance. Director Clair Rozer said she attended the last Pennsylvania service at the Cathedral in 2001 and had been setting the stage for her group to perform at this years event.
Choir members have been asking me to sing in the Cathedral for years now and I told them I was looking for the right time for them to do it, she said with a smile. They are totally thrilled finally for the opportunity, she said.
We were delighted to have Pennsylvanians of all ages gathered at the Cathedral, said Vanessa Andrews, director of the National Cathedral Association and once Philadelphia resident. Our volunteer leaders and friends from the Commonwealth have worked hard to make this day happen. What a wonderful sight to see so many people together, the result of all their labor.
National Cathedral Association regional volunteer leaders Carolyn Langfitt of Philadelphia and Peg Schneider of Gladwyne delivered gifts to the altar as oblation bearers, along with Gladys Nelson of Harrisburg, the Rev. Kathleen Ziegenhine of Erie, Sam Harer of Jersey Shore and Mya Graves of Waynesboro.
Patricia Hathaway, a National Cathedral Association regional volunteer leader from Erie, carried the Pennsylvania flag. Central Pennsylvania Regional Volunteer leader, Jan Rose, coordinated over 500 people in 10 buses from her region alone to attend the Pennsylvania Day.
Later that afternoon, Philadelphia residents and local University of Pennsylvania alumni and families gathered in the Cathedral to hear one of their own choral groups sing a choral prelude and the university chaplain, Rev. William C. Gipson preach at the Evensong service. The National Cathedral Association worked closely with members of the University of Pennsylvania community in planning the afternoon services.
The 15 voices from The Inspiration, a student-led a cappella group from the university, directed by Mr. Roy Prather III, filled the soaring nave with Gospel music, which included Moses Hogans Elijah Rock and a rendition of George Pendergrass and Jon Greens Everybody talkin about Heaven.
The National Cathedral Associations volunteers and association members in Pennsylvania who helped plan the day, are part of an active network of more than 14,000 friends in every state and around the world who support the mission and ministry of Washington National Cathedral, a National House of Prayer for All People.
ATTN PRINT MEDIA: If you desire e-mail transmission of this account and/or photos sent as JPEG attachments please contact Elizabeth Mullen at the number above. Available on the web site are print-quality photos of Washington National Cathedral (Photos for Print under News at www.cathedral.org/cathedral).
SOURCE: Washington National Cathedral