Episcopalians approach Donald Trump’s inauguration with prayer

By ENS staff
Posted Jan 19, 2017

The sign outside Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Hilltown, Pennsylvania, invites people to stop in for prayer on Inauguration Day. Photo: Good Shepherd Episcopal Church via Facebook

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopal congregations are planning to mark with prayer the events surrounding Donald Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration as the 45th president of the United States.

Many congregations have announced that they will be open for prayer during the inauguration events. Some will also offer special services that day. Among the many are St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Kansas City, Missouri; Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Hilltown, Pennsylvania; St. John’s Episcopal Church in Huntington, West Virginia and Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis, Missouri.

“We welcome parishioners and community residents to drop in for any part of that time. There will be no service, just the opportunity to join with others to pray in the silence of God’s presence,” Good Shepherd said on its Facebook page. “We Episcopalians call ourselves people of common prayer, and that usually means worshiping together using the words of the Book of Common Prayer. But, shared silence can also be a form of common prayer, too. Please join us in lifting our hopes and fears to God in prayer, whether or not you can be with us at church.”

Among other events around the Episcopal Church are these:

Diocese of New Jersey plans weekend of prayer

“With the beginning of a new Congress and the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, our nation enters a new chapter in its history,” New Jersey Bishop Williams “Chip” Stokes wrote to the diocese, calling for a weekend of prayer to begin at noon on Jan. 21.

“Praying together, though in different locations, joins us as a diocese with the Episcopal Church and the wider community of faith as the 58th Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service at the National Cathedral finishes,” Stokes wrote. “Collectively we remind ourselves that God is ultimately in charge and we appeal to him for the best for our nation.”

A special Office of Noonday Prayer at Trinity Cathedral in Trenton is the formal start to the New Jersey effort. Stokes asked congregations to host similar services, and those unable to attend, he said, ought to pause at noon that day for a period of personal prayer. The bishop also urged congregations to “incorporate prayers for our nation in each of their liturgies during the weekend.”

The diocese has posted a toolkit for those prayers and liturgies here.

‘A Weekend of Prayer and Resistance’

All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California, plans to spend Jan. 20-22 working “with our interfaith allies and community partners to continue to be the change we want to see in our nation and our world,” according to an announcement on its website. Events include an “interfaith inauguration viewing” party Jan. 20, healing prayer all that day and a noon Eucharist (to be livestreamed here), and participation in the Jan. 21 Los Angeles Women’s March (one of many satellite marches planned around the country in conjunction with the main march in Washington, D.C.). The parish plans a forum on Jan. 22 titled “Intersectional Resistance: Part 1 – Reproductive Justice & LGBTQ Equality,” described as “a conversation focused on organizing to protect our rights, our safety, our health, and our families.” There will be additional liturgies at All Saints and participation in a Muslim prayer service and Shabbat services elsewhere.

Open for prayer

The Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City, New York, on Long Island will be open for prayer from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Inauguration Day. It will also offer its normal weekday Morning Prayer service at 8:45 a.m. and Eucharist at 12:15 p.m. The Very Rev. Michael Sniffen, cathedral dean, and the Rev. Michael F. Delany, canon pastor, plan to attend Ghostlight at Adelphi University in Garden City Jan. 19. Ghostlight is an inauguration eve vigil being held by the theater community at 728 theaters across the country. Sniffen and several parishioners are traveling with Trinity Wall Street to Washington, D.C., for the Women’s March.

Pray in place prayer vigil

Washington National Cathedral’s Center for Prayer and Pilgrimage is coordinating a Pray in Place Prayer Vigil from 6 a.m. Jan. 20 through midnight on Jan. 21.

“No matter where you are or what you are doing, take time to add your voice to the voice of others as we pray throughout the days surrounding the inauguration,” the announcement said.  The center will offer prayers for “wisdom for our leaders, justice for our communities and peace for our world” at the top of every hour via the center’s Facebook page. Those prayers will also be available to those who follow the center on Twitter here.

All faiths inauguration vigil

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Omaha, Nebraska, plans a morning vigil to coincide with the inauguration. Open to all faiths, the time will open with Morning Prayer and end with Eucharist at noon.

“This is an opportunity to quiet ourselves and to offer our hearts and minds a chance to rest from the tension and noise of this uniquely difficult time in our nation’s history,” the Very Rev. Craig Loya, dean of the cathedral, told the Omaha World-Herald.

‘The Inauguration of Hope’

Actor, writer and director Ethan Hawke; actress and singer Karen Akers; musician Paul Winter; Cathedral of St. John the Divine poet-in-residence Marilyn Nelson and many other noteworthy musicians, performers, and poets will stage a gathering Jan. 23 at the cathedral in Manhattan to reaffirm “what we’re for, not what we’re against” and to “recommit to the values we hold in common.”  Cathedral friend and Episcopalian actor Anthony Newfield will be the master of ceremonies. More information is available here.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story included information about a peaceful prayer vigil planned for Jan. 21 outside Washington National Cathedral during the National Prayer Service. That service has been canceled due to Secret Service security restrictions around the building that day.



Comments (14)

  1. lauren anderson says:

    is the Episcopal Church USA participating in the Women’s March on Washington this coming Saturday? Will anyone from the Episcopal Church be speaking or on the platform? How is our church supporting this event?

    1. Doug Desper says:

      The Washington Post and New York Times reported that the New Wave Feminists were made to withdraw as a March sponsor because they are prolife and the other women’s groups didn’t want them. That shows the real purpose of the March. Seems that some women are more equal than others.

    2. Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD says:

      I hope not. Abortion is murder and any support of a platform that supports murder is incompatible with Christian teaching.

  2. Donald Heacock says:

    I don’t remember such a wonderful series o prayer events for President Obama or Bush or Clinton . Maybe Trump will really suceed. I give thanks for Tomorrow.

  3. Pam Hinojosa says:

    What is so awesome is so many people including Muslims are coming to Christ through this whole election. Maybe we really will have peace on earth ..

  4. stephen sim says:

    What does the Episcopal church think about Donald Trump being inaugurated for president? I am a life long Episcopalian and would like to know! ! My church in Lincoln, Nebraska, seems to be split!

    1. Ernie Hammel says:

      The church leaders are lemmings as they attempt through deceit to re-interpret the Bible to suit their own agendas; not God’s. They despise Trump. The lay folk who understand and do not try to re-interpret God’s word see the wisdom and leadership of Trump. The lay folk’s eyes are not blinded by the teachings of the church leaders.

    2. Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD says:

      I think more old school Episcopalians are celebrating with joy that President Trump is now the leader of the free world. He is a sincere and faithful servant of the people of our country. I believe he will tell the truth and in that truth, we have the promise of Jesus that we will be set free. However, many parishes (including the one I attend) are split over this election. However, the good news is that these same parishes never really were all that united. The progressives in the church have taken us down a slippy road and only God knows the final chapter of that story. While our numbers dwindle, the church in other avenues is growing. Thanks be to God, the Gospel is still being preached and Jesus is still being lifted up.

  5. Joseph Simpkins-Arganbright says:

    I am deeply saddened that the National Cathedral is participating in the inauguration of such a man as is coming to the office. To send children to sing will be interpreted by him as if the choir sings for him and all of his followers are already locally gloating that liberals are in support of Trump. Mor greatly saddened that the Cathedral has not announced prayers of protection and peace for the Women’s Marches all across our land. Many regional Episcopal churches are holding prayers for everyone involved. Regardless of what the Dean has said about the Cathedral’s participation; he forgets that those who support Trump are not readers but rely on news through hysteria filled antics of tv news. Certain of those will have a field day with what happens today regarding the Episcopal Church.

    1. Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD says:

      The National Cathedral is not an abortion clinic, it is a House of Prayer. Remember, Jesus ran the money-changers out of the Temple. Beware, my friend.

  6. Margaret Smist says:

    I agree that the pro-life group should have been allowed to sponsor and walk — and I say that as a Pro-Choice woman. I know many of my own relatives who are Pro-Life, and although they would not see themselves as feminists (since they see it as a liberal label) I see them as feminists – strong women fighting for themselves and their rights. I offer up prayers today since I have real concerns for the next administration. I am hoping and praying all these prayers for God’s love, kindness, respect, dignity for all and compassion make their way into the hearts of Donald Trump and the future administration.

  7. Ernie Hammel says:

    Good to see the Church is supporting such a great man. Through the Episcopalian Church, we thank God that Don John Trump is our 45th President. We as a country have truly been blessed by his election. Let’s make America Great Again! Yours in Christ,

  8. Ronald Davin says:

    The Lord has delivered us !

  9. As an Episcopalian Christian, I will pray for the new President. But I do not believe we can separate Donald Trump and his administration from his message. If there is going to be such notable Episcopalian involvement as he assumes power, then I must work all the harder to speak out against the things he says and does.


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