National Cathedral to Remove Windows Honoring Confederate Leaders

WASHINGTON — The stained-glass windows depicting Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson will be removed from the Washington National Cathedral.

In a statement released Wednesday, cathedral leaders — Mariann Edgar Budde, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington; Randolph Hollerith, the dean of the cathedral; and John Donoghue, chairman of the Cathedral Chapter — said that the chapter voted “after considerable prayer and deliberation” to remove the windows immediately.

The three didn’t say what will become of the windows, only that they would be “deconsecrated, removed, conserved and stored until we can determine a more appropriate future for them.”

They added that “We believe these windows can yet have a second life as an effective teaching tool in a place and context yet to be determined.”

They also didn’t say what will go in the windows’ places, only that the openings and stone work would be covered over until they decided.

Gary Hall, the dean of the cathedral at the time, called for the removal of the windows after the 2015 shootings at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, that killed nine people.

In their statement, the leaders said: “At that time, we began a process to engage this community in deep questions of racial justice, the legacy of slavery and God’s call to us in the 21st century.”

The recent fatal violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month “brought urgency to our discernment process,” the statement said.

After two years of programs and community conversations, the chapter decided that the windows “are not only inconsistent with our current mission to serve as a house of prayer for all people, but also a barrier to our important work on racial justice and racial reconciliation. Their association with racial oppression, human subjugation and white supremacy does not belong in the sacred fabric of this Cathedral.”

The windows were installed in 1953, the statement said.

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