There are plans to remove two plaques on a historic Alexandria, Virginia, church, which identify the site as being a former place of worship for George Washington and Robert E. Lee. According to the Washington Post, the 1773-founded Episcopal church, known as Christ Church, also once received a $10,000 donation from Mary Custis Lee, Robert E. Lee’s wife.
In an interview with the Washington Post, the church leaders said that they made their decision after much “heartening” discussions, later deciding that they “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.”
For now, the plaques will remain until a new location is identified in 2018. The plaques were first installed in 1870. While there have been talks for removing the plaques for years now, the August 12, 2017, white nationalist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, added urgency for a decision.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Noelle York-Simmons, the church’s rector, said, “We are deeply committed to our history, but even more we are deeply committed to the worship of Jesus Christ. The question is, how can we reflect both?”
• Historic Alexandria church decides to remove plaques honoring Washington, Lee [The Washington Post]
• Church to relocate plaques of Lee and Washington [CNN]