Support the Café

Search our Site

National Cathedral plans events to honor LGBT youth

National Cathedral plans events to honor LGBT youth

Fifteen years after Matthew Shepard was murdered, Washington National Cathedral will host a weekend of events to honor and remember lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth who have suffered bullying, discrimination, and violence. Today’s press announcement from the cathedral states:

“For too long, LGBT people have been ostracized by or unwelcome in faith communities who have used the Bible like a weapon,” said the Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the Cathedral. “Washington National Cathedral is a house of prayer where all are welcome, and where all people can experience God’s boundless love and grace.”

Fifteen years ago this October, Matthew Wayne Shepard was abducted, tied to a split-rail fence, and left to die in a remote area of Wyoming. His death was one of the most notorious anti-gay hate crimes in U.S. history and became a catalyst for activists determined to stop violence against LGBT people. To mark the anniversary of this terrible event, the Cathedral will host an exclusive, pre-release East Coast premiere of the new documentary film, Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine, Friday evening, October 4, in the nave.

Unfortunately, Shepard’s death did not end hate crimes against LGBT people. More recently, in September 2010, 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi ended his own life after he was secretly broadcast via webcam in an intimate act and intensely cyber-bullied.

On Sunday, October 6, at 10:10 am, Dean Hall will host a forum featuring Judy Shepard and Jane Clementi, the mothers of Matthew and Tyler, as guests. Joshua Deese, a University of Maryland sophomore and LGBT youth advocate, will also join the discussion to provide another perspective from the Millennial generation. Together with Hall, the three panelists will discuss Matthew and Tyler’s legacies, the organizations they work through (such as the Matthew Shepard Foundation, the Tyler Clementi Foundation, and The Trevor Project), and the ways that people of faith can stand with the LGBT community and speak out against violence.

Following the forum, at 11:15 am, the Cathedral will hold a special service of Holy Eucharist to pray for LGBT people who suffer from violence. Preaching at the service, Dean Hall will call people of faith to stand against anti-LGBT hatred and intolerance.

A number of leading LGBT and ally organizations have joined with the Cathedral to present this weekend of programs: among them are the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, The Trevor Project, PFLAG, and Ford’s Theatre, as well as the Matthew Shepard Foundation and the Tyler Clementi Foundation.


Friday, October 4, 2013

7:30 p.m. – Film screening of Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine in the Cathedral nave

Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine explores the life of Matthew Shepard and examines the wreckage left behind after his death. Framed through a personal lens, the film follows director Michele Josue, a close friend of Matt’s, as she travels to pivotal locations in Shepard’s life, interviewing other friends and family members, and gaining insight into the beautiful life and devastating loss of Matthew Shepard. It’s a story of loss, love, and courage in the face of tragedy.

The Cathedral is honored to be the location for the East Coast premiere of this new documentary the same evening as its West Coast premiere at the Mill Valley Film Festival. A brief panel discussion featuring Matthew Shepard’s parents, Judy and Dennis Shepard, will follow at the Cathedral. The screening is ticketed ($16 for adults; free tickets for students), and attendees must reserve seats online.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

10:10 am – Forum with Judy Shepard, Jane Clementi, Joshua Deese, and Dean Hall

11:15 am – Special service of Holy Eucharist to pray for LGBT youth

Cathedral Dean Gary Hall, a leading advocate for LGBT equality, welcomes guest panelists for a discussion about Matthew Shepard and Tyler Clementi’s legacies:

Judy Shepard, the mother of Matthew Shepard and founding president of the Matthew Shepard Foundation

Jane Clementi, the mother of Tyler Clementi and co-founder of the Tyler Clementi Foundation

Joshua Deese, an LGBT youth advocate and member of The Trevor Project’s Youth Advisory Council.


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ronald Caldwell

The full title is “Gay Christian Movement Watch, A Blog Upholding Biblical Standards of Sexuality” I learned from studying Napoleon that one wins wars by knowing the mind of the opponent.

My original point was that the central issue dividing the Episcopal Church now is the interface between the Church and homosexuality. The secessionists like to pretend that it is other issues namely “the uniqueness of Christ” (Biblical literalism) and the “illegal” revisions in the polity (government) of the Church. But if one listens to them, they talk almost entirely about homosexuality. The conservatives say it is a sin to be condemned. The leaders of TEC say homosexuals should enjoy full inclusion in the life of the Church. That is the crux of the issue.

As for me, I could not be more proud of my Church.


“Gay Christian Movement Watch”? That’s a new one on me. [I would have thought they would use scare-quotes, as “Gay Christian” Movement Watch].

I’m guessing they’re a handful of Christianists who got jealous of seeing their [most egregious] video clips show up on People for the American Way’s estimable “Right Wing Watch”

JC Fisher

Matthew Shepherd, Memory Eternal.

Gregory Orloff

It is funny — in the sense of “odd” or “incongruous,” rather than “comical” — that one comes across things like “Gay Christian Movement Watch,” but one never comes across things like “Wealth Christian Movement Watch” or “Hate Christian Movement Watch” or “Lack of Neighborliness Christian Movement Watch” or “Lack of Charity Christian Movement Watch” — you know, things Jesus actually spoke out against rather definitively in his gospels, but get so easily ignored, glossed over or even accommodated (and sometimes celebrated!) by so many self-identified Christians in America and elsewhere these days. Talk about “straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!” (Matthew 23:24)

Theresa Johnson

Typo in first sentence is fixed. Thanks, Pepper. (Everybody needs an editor!)

Ronald Caldwell

Interesting contrast here that points out the centrality of the issue of sexual identity in the current schisms in the Episcopal Church. Washington National Cathedral is celebrating the rights of LGBT people. On the other hand, the Gay Christian Movement Watch, on Dec. 27, 2012 named Mark Lawrence [former bishop of SC] one of its 12 “Heroes of the Faith” for 2012, along with the likes of Chick-fil-A’s Don Cathy. Their article goes on to say “a majority of parishes [of Diocese of South Carolina] voted to leave the denomination over its ordination of gay clergy and acceptance of same-sex unions.” Anyone who thinks the present divisions in the Episcopal Church are not about homosexuality, had better think again.

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café