Entries in National Cathedral (3)


National Cathedral to Officiate Same-Sex Marriages

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The wedding bells will chime in the 106-year-old Washington National Cathedral as Rev. Gary Hall affirmed that -- effective immediately -- same-sex weddings may be celebrated at the Cathedral of the Episcopal Church located in the northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C.

The National Cathedral has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors and held both celebrations and funerals for U.S. presidents past.

In August 2012, the church approved the ceremonial use of a rite adapted from an existing blessing ceremony to acknowledge same-sex marriage.  The Episcopal Church will be among the first to recognize marriage for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender couples.

“For more than 30 years, the Episcopal Church has prayed and studied to discern the evidence of God’s blessing in the lives of same-sex couples,” Rev. Gary Hall of the National Cathedral said in a statement Wednesday.  “We enthusiastically affirm each person as a beloved child of God -- and doing so means including the full participation of gays and lesbians in the life of this spiritual home for the nation.”

The District of Columbia and Maryland (as well as eight other states) have adopted the legality of civil marriage for same-sex couples.  The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, whose Episcopal Diocese of Washington includes D.C., as well as four counties in Maryland, decided this December to follow suit expanding the sacrament of marriage to same-sex couples in her diocese as well.

But the decision to institute the same-sex rite at the Washington National Cathedral was ultimately made by Hall who serves as the Cathedral’s dean.

“In my 35 years of ordained ministry, some of the most personally inspiring work I have witnessed has been among gay and lesbian communities where I have served,” Hall said.

He continued, “I consider it a great honor to lead this Cathedral as it takes another historic step toward greater equality -- and I am pleased that this step follows the results made clear in this past November’s election, when three states voted to allow same-sex marriage.”

The same-sex weddings that will be conducted at the Cathedral will fulfill the same role as Christian marriages.  Eligibility to marry in the National Cathedral follows the protocol of the Christian faith.

At least one of the members in the couple must have been baptized and the couple must be active, contributing members of the congregation unless otherwise specified by the dean.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Crane Collapses at National Cathedral in DC

ABC News(WASHINGTON)  -- A construction crane fell at the National Cathedral as thunderstorms rolled through the city, but it appears that there were no injuries.

The crane was working on repairs to the Cathedral caused by August’s earthquake that rocked Washington, D.C. Three of the cathedral’s four main spires were damaged by the quake.

Construction crews were lifting steel I-beams to the roof area where the earthquake damage occurred. The 500 ft. crane had been extended 350 ft. in the air at the time of the collapse.

“As they were returning to take more steel I-beams up there, the crane somehow malfunctioned and collapsed,” said Timothy Gerhart, assistant chief of operations, D.C. Fire and EMS.

The mangled remains of the yellow crane were left splayed on top of several vehicles, none of which were occupied at the time of the collapse. The cab of the crane stood straight up into the air, at a 90 degree angle.

“The cars look fairly well smashed,” said Craig Stapert, a cathedral spokesman.  ”It seems to have clipped part of the Herb Cottage, and it came very, very close here to the offices of the bishop. But no one was in either of those buildings.”

It was not clear whether the driving thunderstorm that struck Washington Wednesday morning played a part in the incident.

The cathedral has been preparing to re-open for the first time this weekend since the earthquake for services honoring the 10th anniversary of September 11th. President Obama is scheduled to speak at an interfaith ceremony there on the evening of Sept 11th.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


East Coast Quake Causes Some Damage in DC

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The largest East Coast quake in memory rattled nerves and buildings from Martha's Vineyard to North Carolina Tuesday, prompting the evacuation of Congressional buildings, slowing rail and air traffic, and forcing two nuclear reactors offline.

The earthquake, estimated to be a 5.8 magnitude, sent people pouring out of office buildings, hospitals, the Pentagon and the State Department when it struck at 1:51 p.m.  The pillars of the capitol in Washington, D.C., shook.  Alarms sounded in the FBI and Department of Justice buildings, and some flooding was reported on an upper floor of the Pentagon as a result of the quake.

Parks and sidewalks in Washington were packed with people who fled their buildings.  All of the monuments along the National Mall were closed as a result.  Police on horseback kept people a safe distance from the Washington Monument and the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

The National Parks Service found "some cracking in the stones at the top of the [Washington] Monument" after it completed a secondary inspection.  The monument will be closed on Wednesday while structural engineers evaluate the damage.

Other tourist attractions along the National Mall -- like the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial,  and the World War II Memorial -- were not damaged and will remain open, according to the NPS.

The National Cathedral in Washington suffered damage to at least three of the cathedral's pinnacles, Dean of the Cathedral Samuel Lloyd said.  The cathedral has been cordoned off with yellow police tape as a precaution.

Officials inspected Congressional buildings before members of Congress and their staff were allowed to return to their offices.

The quake was felt as far north as New Hampshire and in Martha's Vineyard where President Obama and his family are vacationing.  It was felt as far south as South Carolina and as far west as Cleveland, Ohio.

Over the last 10 years, earthquakes have been felt in every state, said geophysicists with the U.S. Geological Survey at a press conference late Tuesday afternoon.  Tuesday's quake was felt in 25 states, an event the USGS' David Wald called "rather unique."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio