Prayers at United States presidential inaugurations

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Since 1937, the United States presidential inauguration has included one or more prayers given by members of the clergy.[1][2] Since 1933 an associated prayer service either public or private attended by the President-elect has often taken place on the morning of the day.[3] At times a major public or broadcast prayer service takes place after the main ceremony most recently on the next day.[4]

List of clergy at main ceremony[2][edit]

January 20, 1937 inaugural of Franklin D. Roosevelt

January 20, 1941 inaugural of Franklin D. Roosevelt

January 20, 1945 inaugural of Franklin D. Roosevelt

  • Invocation by Bishop Angus Dun - Episcopalian, Bishop of Washington
  • Benediction by Monsignor John A. Ryan - Catholic

January 20, 1949 inaugural of Harry S. Truman

January 20, 1953 inaugural of Dwight D. Eisenhower

January 21, 1957 inaugural of Dwight D. Eisenhower

January 20, 1961 inaugural of John F. Kennedy

January 20, 1965 inaugural of Lyndon B. Johnson

January 20, 1969 inaugural of Richard Nixon

January 20, 1973 inaugural of Richard M. Nixon

  • Invocation by Rev. E. V. Hill, National Baptist Convention, pastor of the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles[10]
  • Prayer by Rabbi Seymour Siegel - Jewish, professor, Jewish Theological Seminary
  • Prayer by Iakovos - Greek Orthodox
  • Benediction by Archbishop Terence J. Cooke - Catholic

January 20, 1977 inaugural of Jimmy Carter

Rev. Donn Moomaw gives the invocation at the 1981 inauguration of President Ronald Reagan. Also pictured are House Speaker Tip O'Neill, Vice President George H. W. Bush, President Reagan, Barbara Bush, and Nancy Reagan.

January 20, 1981 inaugural of Ronald Reagan

January 21, 1985 inaugural of Ronald Reagan

January 20, 1989 inaugural of George H. W. Bush

  • Invocation by Rev. Billy Graham - Southern Baptist, text of invocation 1989
  • Benediction by Rev. Billy Graham - Southern Baptist

January 20, 1993 inaugural of Bill Clinton

  • Invocation by Rev. Billy Graham - Southern Baptist, text of invocation 1993
  • Benediction by Rev. Billy Graham - Southern Baptist

January 20, 1997 inaugural of Bill Clinton

January 20, 2001 inaugural of George W. Bush

January 20, 2005 inaugural of George W. Bush

January 20, 2009 inaugural of Barack Obama

January 21, 2013 inaugural of Barack Obama

Reverend Luis Leon delivering the benediction at the 2013 Presidential Inauguration

Associated morning prayer service[edit]

Presidents since 1933 have often worshipped privately before the actual ceremony.

  • 1933 - Franklin Roosevelt attend a service at St. John's Episcopal Church in the morning (Saturday) before being sworn in.
  • 1937 - Franklin Roosevelt attended a service at St. John's Episcopal Church in the morning (Wednesday) before being sworn in.
  • 1941 - Franklin Roosevelt attended a service at St. John's Episcopal Church in the morning (Wednesday) before being sworn in.
  • 1945 - Franklin Roosevelt had a private service in the White House.
  • 1949 - Harry Truman attended a service at St. John's Episcopal Church in the morning (Thursday) before being sworn in.
  • 1953 - Dwight Eisenhower attended a service at National Presbyterian Church in the morning (Tuesday) before being sworn in.
  • 1957 - Dwight Eisenhower attended a service at National Presbyterian Church (Sunday) before being sworn in privately. He was publicly sworn in the next day.
  • 1961 - John F. Kennedy attended the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at Holy Trinity Church.
  • 1965 - Lyndon Johnson attended a private service at National City Christian Church in the morning (Wednesday) before being sworn in. Billy Graham gave a sermon.
  • 1969 - Richard Nixon had a prayer breakfast in the State Department
  • 1973 - Richard Nixon had no prayer service. He did attend church the next day, a Sunday. There was also a White House Prayer Service with Billy Graham (sermon), Archbishop Joseph Bernardin, and Rabbi Edgar F. Magnin as speakers.[12]
  • 1977 - James Earl Carter attended a private service at First Baptist Church[13]
  • 1981 - Ronald Reagan attended a private service at St. John's Episcopal Church. Speakers included Billy Graham.
  • 1985 - Ronald Reagan attended a private service at St. John's Episcopal Church on Sunday, January 20.
  • 1989 - George H. W. Bush attended a private service at St. John's Episcopal Church.
  • 1993 - William Clinton attended a private service at Metropolitan AME Church
  • 1997 - William Clinton attended a private service at Metropolitan AME Church
  • 2001 on January 20 George W. Bush attended a private service at St. John's Episcopal Church
  • 2009 - Barack Obama attended a private service at St. John's Episcopal Church
  • 2013 - Barack Obama attended a private service at St. John's Episcopal Church on the morning of Monday, January 21, immediately before his public inaugural ceremony. (He had privately been sworn in the previous day.)

Public prayer service[4][edit]

In 1789 George Washington along with Congress attended a service at St. Paul's Chapel in New York City after his swearing in. The ceremony was presided over by Bishop Samuel Provoost. No similar service is known until 1933.

Sunday, March 5, 1933 "National Inaugural Prayer Service" at Washington National Cathedral. Presided over by Episcopal Bishop James Edward Freeman of Washington.

Thursday, January 20, 1977 James Carter had a half-hour interfaith prayer service at the Lincoln Memorial in the morning (8am) before the main ceremony; he did not attend.[13][14][15] Speakers included

1981 Ronald Reagan had a service at National City Christian Church on Thomas Circle, Washington, D.C.

Sunday, January 20, 1985 Ronald Reagan had a public service at the Washington National Cathedral. Speakers included

Sunday, January 22, 1989 George H. W. Bush attended a Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service at the Washington National Cathedral the day after his swearing in.[16]

  • John T. Walker, Episcopal Bishop of Washington presided
  • Charles A. Perry, Cathedral Provost, officiated

Sermons were given by

Other participants included

  • Rabbi Matthew H. Simon from the B’nai Israel Congregation in Rockville, Maryland, read from the Torah
  • Vilma Guerrero Smith read reading part of the Forty-seventh Psalm
  • Rev. Canon Carole Crumley read part of the fifth chapter of Matthew
  • Cardinal James Hickey, Roman Catholic archbishop of Washington, read from the New Testament
  • Iakovos, archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America, read from the New Testament
  • George Walker Bush read a prayer
  • Mrs. James A. Baker, III, honorary chairman for the National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving, read a prayer
  • Rev. Stephen E. Smallman (Vice-President Quayle’s pastor) from McLean, Virginia, read from the Old Testament

Sunday, January 21, 2001 - George W. Bush had a prayer service at the National Cathedral.[17]

  • Nathan D. Baxter, dean of the Cathedral
  • Jane Holmes Dixon, bishop of Washington pro tempore (Episcopalian)
  • Franklin Graham gave the sermon
  • Rabbi Samuel Karff from Congregation Beth Israel of Houston read Jeremiah 29:11–13 and gave one of the prayers
  • Beulah “Bubba” Dailey of Austin Street Center in Dallas, read Proverbs 3:1–8
  • Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America led the people responsively in the Twenty-Third Psalm. He also gave one of the prayers.
  • Mark Craig of Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, read 1 John 4:7–8
  • Theodore E. McCarrick, Roman Catholic archbishop of Washington, read Matthew 6:25–33 and gave one of the prayers
  • Kirbyjon Caldwell of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, read the Prayer for the Nation.
  • Rev. Peter Grandell, Cathedral staff
  • Rev. Luis León, rector of St. John’s Church, Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C.
  • Rev. Suzanne Love Harris, of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
  • Dr. Jack Hayford, pastor of the Church on the Way, Van Nuys, California

Friday, January 21, 2005 - George W. Bush had a service at the National Cathedral the day after the inauguration.[18] Speakers included:[19]

Wednesday, January 21, 2009 - Barack Obama had a service at 10am in the National Cathedral.

  • Episcopal Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III, Dean of the Washington National Cathedral - welcome
  • Episcopal Diocese of Washington Bishop John Bryson Chane - invocation
  • Rev. Otis Moss Jr., senior pastor emeritus at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio - opening prayer
  • Rev. Sharon E. Watkins, general minister and president of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) - sermon
  • Rev. Andy Stanley, senior pastor, North Point Community Church, Alpharetta, Georgia - prayer for civil leaders

Scripture readings by

  • Dr. Cynthia Hale, senior pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, New York City
  • Rev. Francisco González, S.F., auxiliary bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Washington
  • Rabbi David Saperstein, executive director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Washington, D.C.

Responsive prayers by

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - An interfaith National Prayer Service at 10:30 am in the National Cathedral was attended by President Obama, Vice President Biden and their spouses.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Presidential Inaugurations Past and Present: A Look at the History Behind the Pomp and Circumstance". 
  2. ^ a b "Newdow". "Appendix D: Inaugural Clergy" (PDF). 
  3. ^ "Morning Worship Service". 
  4. ^ a b "Washington National Cathedral: Presidential Inaugural Prayer Services". Washington National Cathedral. Retrieved January 16, 2009. 
  5. ^ Anonymous. "An Inventory of the John A. Ryan Papers". The American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives. Retrieved January 16, 2009. [dead link]
  6. ^ Anonymous. "The Bishops of Columbus". The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus. Retrieved January 16, 2009. 
  7. ^ Waldman, Steven (January 17, 2009). "The Power of Prayer". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 17, 2010. 
  8. ^ Anonymous. "History of United Hebrew Congregation". United Hebrew Congregation. Retrieved January 16, 2009. 
  9. ^ Order of Events. (1949, January 20). The Washington Post (1923-1954),p. C1. Retrieved October 16, 2010, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 - 1994). (Document ID: 234212532).
  10. ^ Anonymous. "Reverend Preacher Dr. E.V.Hill Died Late Monday Night in L.A.". Cephas Library. Retrieved January 16, 2009. 
  11. ^ Suggs, Ernie; Daniel Malloy (January 10, 2013). "Atlanta’s Rev. Giglio withdraws from Obama inauguration amid controversy". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  12. ^ http://www.wheaton.edu/bgc/archives/inaugural01.htm
  13. ^ a b Briggs, Kenneth A. (January 21, 1977). "Plea by Dr. King's Father Adds Touch of Revivalism to the DAy". New York Times. p. 30. 
  14. ^ Weinraub, Bernard (January 16, 1977). "Five-Day 'People's' Inauguration Begins in Capital Tuesday". The New York Times. p. 24. 
  15. ^ Briggs, Kenneth A. (January 19, 1977). "Prayer Gatherings Greet Inauguration". The New York Times. p. 33. 
  16. ^ "Washington National Cathedral: Presidential Inaugural Prayer Services (1989)". Washington National Cathedral. Retrieved January 16, 2009. 
  17. ^ "Washington National Cathedral: Presidential Inaugural Prayer Services (2001)". Washington National Cathedral. Retrieved January 16, 2009. 
  18. ^ "CNN.com - Bush attends National Prayer Service - Jan 21, 2005". January 21, 2005. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Washington National Cathedral: Presidential Inaugural Prayer Services (2005)". Washington National Cathedral. Retrieved January 16, 2009.