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George Washington Church Plaque Removed

George Washington Church Plaque Removed

Historic Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia. (Lei Xu/Dreamstime)

By    |   Monday, 30 October 2017 10:05 AM

George Washington’s church will remove a plaque honouring the first president along with a plaque honoring Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Talk of what to do with the plaques, which have been displayed at the church since 1870, have been ongoing for years, The Washington Post reported. But the matter was spurred by recent events in Charlottesville, which saw violence erupt after a car rammed into a group of people protesting against white supremacy.

Officials at Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, announced on Thursday that the plaques honouring Washington and Robert E. Lee, two of their prominent parishioners, would be taken down.

The Telegraph noted that, in a letter sent out to the congregation, church officers said, "The Vestry has unanimously decided that the plaques create a distraction in our worship space and may create an obstacle to our identity as a welcoming church, and an impediment to our growth and to full community with our neighbors."

Washington played a vital role in founding the church in 1773 while Lee’s daughter, in a bequest, left the church $10,000.

However, both figures had Confederate ties and the decision comes at a time when local authorities have embarked upon removing various Confederate monuments from public places.

In the newsletter issued by the church, it noted that the legacy of slavery and of the Confederacy is understood differently than it was in 1870, when the plaques were erected.

"For some, Lee symbolizes the attempt to overthrow the Union and to preserve slavery," the church said in a letter.

"Today our country is trying once again to come to grips with the history of slavery and the subsequent disenfranchisement of people of color."

The newsletter further said that the memorial plaques for Washington and Lee should be considered together and would be relocated with this in mind.

Noelle York-Simmons, the church’s rector, said the plaques would be moved to a new location next year and would remain in place until then.

"We are deeply committed to our history, but even more we are deeply committed to the worship of Jesus Christ," she said, via The Washington Post. "The question is, how can we reflect both?"

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George Washington's church will remove a plaque honouring the first president along with a plaque honoring Gen. Robert E. Lee.
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Monday, 30 October 2017 10:05 AM
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