The Washington National Cathedral will dedicate a plaque to Matthew Shepard, a victim of a 1998 hate crime whose death became a landmark moment in LGBTQ history, on Dec. 2.
Shepard’s remains last year were interred in the Cathedral on the 20th anniversary of his murder.
Judy Shepard, Matthew’s mother and co-founder and president of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, said the 7 p.m. dedication is possible because of fundraising support.
“People around the world gave generously to make this memorial possible,” she said. “We’re grateful for each gift that created this beautiful plaque that now marks Matt’s final resting place. We hope this will be a place that forever offers solace and strength for all who visit.”
Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith of the National Cathedral and Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde will lead the ceremony.
“As a sacred space for the nation and house of prayer for all people, the Cathedral is honored and humbled to serve as Matthew’s final resting place, and to take this further step to show that, finally, Matthew is home and he is safe,” said Hollerith.
“Matthew’s indelible legacy and the enduring strength and courage of his family and loved ones serve as a guiding force for all of us in how to confront bigotry by fostering greater love, acceptance and embrace of people of all backgrounds, gender identities and sexual orientations. We are proud to play our part in this important, necessary struggle.”
The National Cathedral has set itself apart as a progressive church, performing same-sex weddings since 2010 and hiring a transgender preacher to the Canterbury Pulpit in 2014.
The ceremony will involve Judy and Dennis Shepard, Matthew’s parents, along with out singer Mary Lambert, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington and Rev. V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church.
Excepts from “The Laramie Project” will also be read.