Washington, DC, February 23, 2003
Vermont Major State Day
Vermonters Defy Major Storm to Carry Out Special Worship at Washington National Cathedral
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WASHINGTON Several dozen Vermonters defied a paralyzing snowstorm on February 16 to attend a special worship service at Washington National Cathedral while others who traveled to the nations capital for the service were trapped by the weather at housing outside the city.
Twenty members of the Choir of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, in Burlington, who made it to the Vermont State Day event were recruited into additional service at the landmark cathedral.
When the cathedrals choir was kept away by a storm that was dumping up to 2 feet of snow in Washington D.C., the Vermont singers were asked to perform through the entire worship service instead of a service prelude.
It sounded good and I was very proud of the choir, said canon precentor Mark Howe, St. Paul choir director. We were not mentally prepared to sing the whole works but we did and Im very proud of them.
Roughly 100 worshipers attended the cathedral service that hosts more than a thousand people in sunnier times. About half those in attendance were Vermont visitors staying nearby and natives of the state who live in the Washington area and braved the weather.
Less fortunate were 47 pilgrims who had bused to Washington earlier in the week from Vermont parishes, including several dozen young acolytes. The group was stranded at their housing at the National 4-H Council Center in Chevy Chase, Md., when their bus would not start on Sunday morning, cathedral officials said.
The Right Rev. Thomas Clark Ely, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont, presided at the worship service. Vermont Sen. James Jeffords, accompanied to the event by his wife Elizabeth, read Scripture and Vermonters served as oblation bearers in the service.
The Rev. Dr. Arnold Thomas, Vermont conference minister of the United Church of Christ and president of the Vermont Ecumenical Council, delivered the sermon. Thomas called on Christian churches to develop an integrated voice so they can be fully engaged in the affairs of the world.
Washington National Cathedral, in seeking to fulfill its outreach mission, sets aside one major state day each month. The National Cathedral Association organized Vermont State Day, inviting religious and political leaders and parishioners from around the state to take part in the service.
"For more than 100 years, Vermonters have been a part of the life of the National Cathedral," said Vanessa Andrews, director of the National Cathedral Association. "The blanket of snow to which we all awoke this morning was a fitting backdrop to honor the State of Vermont. We offer a very special thank you - especially to those hearty Vermonters who braved the snowy roads to be with us today. We hope that Vermonters will continue to come here and be part of this national house of prayer."
The Rev. Canon Elton O. Smith, Jr., of Washington National Cathedral greeted the visitors and assisted Bishop Ely during the service.
The National Cathedral Association has over 13,000 members from many denominations in every state.
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SOURCE: Washington National Cathedral