What Happened at St. John’s Church on August 28, 1963?


This is worth noting in light of what happened yesterday at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington D.C.

Here is the White House Historical Association:

In August 1963, there was uncertainty among some in the city regarding the upcoming March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. St John’s rector, Rev. John C. Harper, was cautioned by church wardens to avoid dissension within the church by staying away and closing St. John’s doors as “it might be a bloodbath.” Rev. Harper was encouraged by a young curate, Rev. H. Vance Johnson, to do just the opposite. Rev. Harper not only kept the church open, but St. John’s also planned to hold a prayer service representing their denomination as part of a call from interdenominational church councils to support the march and its participants. At 11:00 a.m. on August 28, a special service of prayer was held with 700 participants of all races filling St. John’s. Afterwards, Rev. Harper sent a letter to his parishioners stating his support for Dr. King and St. John’s future policy: “…This church building is open, as it has always been, to all who want to worship here; the ministry of this parish is extended to any who seek it; our fellowship with one another has no limitations whatsoever.”