Washington National Cathedral officials announced Wednesday that they would begin immediate removal of stained glass windows depicting Confederate generals, in light of the Charlottesville riot.
Cathedral officials voted Tuesday to remove the windows, according to the announcement posted on the cathedral’s website. Ever since the shooting at Emmanuel AME Church in South Carolina, the cathedral’s windows have been debated. Then-Dean Gary Hall “called for the removal” of two windows, which depict Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. The cathedral officially decided upon the removal of the windows after violent protests in Charlottesville.
“The recent violence in Charlottesville brought urgency to our discernment process. We find ourselves compelled by the witness of others, moved by the presence of God in our midst and convicted that the Holy Spirit is pointing us toward the answer. The continued presence of white supremacy, anti-Semitism and other forms of hate in our nation cannot be ignored – nor will they be solved simply by removing these windows or other monuments. The racial wounds that we have seen across our nation compel us to renew our commitment to building God’s Beloved Community,” the cathedral’s announcement read.
The cathedral will remove the windows and store them elsewhere until deciding what to do with them. The windows will likely be featured as a future educational exhibit.
“We want to be clear that we are not attempting to remove history, but rather are removing two windows from the sacred fabric of the Cathedral that do not reflect our values. We believe these windows can yet have a second life as an effective teaching tool in a place and context yet to be determined,” the announcement read.
The empty spaces left by the removal of the two windows will be covered until officials decide on a replacement.
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