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Friday, October 26, 2018


by Sister Lou Ella Hickman

On October 26, 2018 at 10:00 am Washington National Cathedral hosts a Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance for Matthew Shepard, whose brutal death in 1998 shocked the world, grieved the Church and mobilized the LGBTQ movement. The Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Episcopal bishop of Washington, and the Right Rev. V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay man elected a bishop in The Episcopal Church, will preside. The service is free and open to the public, and passes are not required. Following the public service, the Shepard family will attend private interment service in the Cathedral crypt. Watch live online:

                                     you will rest
                after the weight of some twenty years
                                     as God’s light scatters color
                through hallowed glass
                  within the cycle of other calendared events
                future festivals will frame your ashes
                liturgy will celebrate each change of season
                morning prayer and even song will hinge the hours . . .
                from now on
                                     how many visitors will walk among the silences
                          and finding your name     will pause to remember your life,
                                    your costly pain
                and death
                with its unanswerable why
                                     yet    under its ashen skin
                                     there still pulses that fragile thing we call hope . . .
                                     today this sacred space welcomes you home

Sister Lou Ella Hickman is a former teacher and librarian. She is a certified spiritual director as well as a poet and writer.  Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines such as America, First Things, Emmanuel, Third Wednesday, and TheNewVerse.News as well as in the anthologies The Night’s Magician: Poems about the Moon, edited by Philip Kolin and Sue Brannnan Walker, Down to the Dark River edited by Philip Kolin, Secrets edited by Sue Brannan Walker and After Shocks: The Poetry of Recover for Life-Shattering Events edited by Tom Lombardo. Last year she was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her first book of poetry entitled she: robed and wordless was published by Press 53 in 2015.