Trump continues inaugural prayer service tradition

Print More
The Washington National Cathedral interior framed through a stone detail on the cathedral's balcony on June 12, 2015. RNS photo by Sally Morrow

The Washington National Cathedral interior framed through a stone detail on the cathedral's balcony on June 12, 2015. RNS photo by Sally Morrow

WASHINGTON (RNS) President-elect Donald Trump plans to attend an inaugural prayer service at the Washington National Cathedral, following the tradition of many past presidents.

The National Prayer Service, set for Jan. 21, the day after the swearing-in, is the last of the official inaugural events announced Wednesday (Dec. 21) by the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

“The Inaugural Prayer Service is a moment for our next president to pause and contemplate the incredible responsibility he has been entrusted with and to listen as the faith community offers prayers for the office of the president,” said Kevin Eckstrom, the cathedral’s chief communications officer, in a statement.

Trump’s planned presence at the cathedral comes after a divisive campaign in which 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for him and religious leaders of a range of faiths expressed concern about his stated plans to register Muslims and ban Muslim immigrants from entering the U.S.

Details of the service at the cathedral are not yet available but an Archdiocese of Washington spokeswoman confirmed that Cardinal Donald Wuerl plans to attend.

“He’s been involved in some of the planning,” said archdiocesan spokeswoman Chieko Noguchi of Wuerl. “It’s still in the early stages.”

The cathedral has been the site of inaugural prayer services since 1933, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was first inaugurated. In more recent times,  it’s most consistently been the location of such services since President Reagan’s inauguration in 1985. However, President Clinton chose Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church for his inaugural services.

St. John’s Episcopal Church, across Lafayette Square from the White House, has often been the choice for a private service for the president-elect on the morning of the swearing-in.

Hayden Bryan, the church’s executive director for operations, said Trump is expected to attend a service there on Jan. 20.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has announced that it will sing at the swearing-in, marking its sixth time for such a performance.

Revelations-Series-Banner-770x150