United Methodist church hosts new Congress' prayer service
By Carol Anderson*WASHINGTON
(UMNS) - Hundreds of members of Congress, including Speaker of the
House Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader Tom DeLay, attended a
bipartisan prayer service at Capitol Hill United Methodist Church before
being sworn in at the nearby Capitol Jan. 7.
Members of the new
108th Congress prayed, sang hymns and read scripture at the 9 a.m.
ecumenical service. Of the 435 members of the House of Representatives
and 100 senators, 61 are United Methodists, making them the
third-largest denominational group in Congress, outnumbered only by the
Roman Catholics and the Baptists.
For the service, Capitol Hill
United Methodist Church's pastor, the Rev. Douglas Fox, was joined by
Daniel P. Coughlin, chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, who
gave the opening prayer, and Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff, who gave the
benediction. The church's music director, Jon Kalbfleisch, played the
organ for the service.
U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the incoming minority leader, and DeLay (R-Texas) read from the New Testament.
a reflection during the service, U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.)
observed that despite all the technological advances in communication,
one of America's best ways to communicate is to "pick up the hotline to
God and pray."
House Speaker Hastert (R-Ill.) led members in
the Lord's Prayer. The speaker and several other members asked for
prayers for peace and for God's blessings on President Bush and
The church is only five blocks from the U.S. Capitol,
so several congressional members braved cold and wind to walk to the
Those attending were visibly lifted by the service, with
one person overheard saying, "We should do this every day, not just
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*Anderson is a media specialist and a member of Capitol Hill United Methodist Church.
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