March 25, 2021
The Vestry of St. Margaret’s voted this week to pass a resolution regarding the recent invitation to speak and subsequent preaching at the Washington National Cathedral by Mr. Max Lucado, a known proponent of homophobic theories and hateful anti-LGBTQ statements. The resolution was conveyed with a cover letter to the Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop of Washington, as well as the Very Rev. Randy Hollerith, Dean of Washington National Cathedral. In the cover letter, Senior Warden Michael Armstrong said that while both the bishop and dean each offered subsequent apologies, held a listening session, and conducted outreach efforts with the LGBTQ community, “we believe that St. Margaret’s must record that we find this lapse of judgment and disregard for the well-being of the LGBTQ community to be deeply disturbing.” The letter concluded by encouraging the bishop and dean “to continue the work necessary to repair the trust broken and prevent a reoccurrence of similar actions,” while also stating that “St. Margaret’s stands ready to support you in any way it can as you undertake these efforts.”
RESOLUTION OF THE VESTRY OF ST. MARGARET’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, WASHINGTON, D.C.
The Washington National Cathedral extended an invitation to Mr. Max Lucado to preach a guest sermon that would be viewed by thousands around the world and through this invitation elevated his position within our country’s community of Christians; and,
As a known proponent of homophobic and anti-gay theories and judgmental hate language, Mr. Lucado is a religious leader who has preached, written and spoken advocating against the LGBTQ community, going so far as to say that LGBTQ people “will not be allowed into the Kingdom of Heaven;” and,
Despite prior protests rooted in Mr. Lucado’s record and raised with the Dean of the Cathedral and the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, the Dean and the Bishop confirmed the invitation to Mr. Lucado and he preached from the pulpit of the Washington National Cathedral on February 7, 2021; and,
Attempts to placate the above protests by deploying retired Bishop Gene Robinson to celebrate the Eucharist at the same service resulted in a statement during the service by him to the LGBTQ community that “we have won” even when around the country LGBTQ people are frequent targets of hate crimes and discrimination perpetrated by people who share Mr. Lucado’s view of the LGBTQ community and the target of state and local legislation seeking to reduce their rights and exclude them from fully participating in society; and
The actions and reactions of the Dean and Bishop have inflicted deep emotional injury, provoked renewed trauma, and created a breach in the formerly safe harbor the Diocese worked hard over the last few decades to build for the LGBTQ community;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED:
That the Vestry on behalf of the people of St. Margaret’s, while acknowledging the sincere apologies and outreach, hereby expresses that it is deeply concerned, hurt and disappointed by the insensitive judgment demonstrated by the Dean of the Cathedral and the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington; and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Vestry restates our Parish’s historic, ground-breaking commitment to welcoming and including all marginalized people, demonstrated by hosting a number of first actions in the Diocese regarding the treatment of the LGBTQ community as siblings in Christ: as site of the Diocese’s first public funeral service for a victim of HIV-AIDS; as site of the Diocese’s first memorial service for Matthew Shepard presided over by the late Bishop Jane Holmes Dixon; as site of the church home for the Dignity Washington community of LGBTQ Roman Catholic worshippers; as site of the Diocese first service recognizing World AIDS Day; and by invitation to the then Rector of St. Margaret’s to draft the service used by the Diocese to bless same-sex unions when marriage between same-sex couples was illegal; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we exhort the Dean of the Cathedral and Bishop of the Diocese of Washington to continue embarking upon a sustained, sincere and authentic journey to discover and identify attitudes, biases and practices that have contributed to this aforesaid breach of trust, and to implement processes to prevent a reoccurrence of insensitive actions, while working to heal those deeply hurt; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Vestry pledges its prayerful support of the Dean of the Cathedral and the Bishop of the Diocese of Washington as they undertake these efforts and confirms its willingness to cooperate with them as together we strive to embody Christ’s love and aim for justice.
Adopted: March 24, 2021