Participation In President Carter’s Inaugural Ceremonies – Interfaith Prayer Service – 1977 Jan 20

Filed under americas | Interfaith meeting - conference | Significant events & meetings | Tributes and Expressions of appreciation

At the invitation of the President Carter / Vice-President Mondale Inaugural Committee,

the Meditation Group ushered at the Inauguration Day early interfaith morning prayer service held on 20 January 1977 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington , D.C. The Group gathered at 6 :30 a.m. in the sub-freezing temperature to pass out programmes, seat people and generally help out, for a crowd which grew to 5,000.

The 8:00 a.m. service was led by the Rev. Bruce Edwards of the Plains Baptist Church, assisted by Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr. , while Ruth Carter Stapleton, sister of the President, read from the scriptures.



Following is an excerpt of the  letter of appreciation from the Inaugural Committee for the Meditation Group ‘s assistance.

“We are particularly impressed by the dedication and co-operative spirit of your members, who are outstanding examples of the philosophy of brotherhood and good will which you seek to implement at the United Nations.

“Thank you again for your generosity and public spirit. You represent America ‘ s idealism and spiritual values at their best . Your contribution is deeply appreciated .

— 1977 Inaugural Committee “



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See also NY times coverage of day:

“unlike some religious inaugural events that tended in the past to reaffirm God’s special favor on America, the impact of today’s words was to call the nation back to its spiritual roots….

“the gathering represented a wide variety of denominations and religions. Roman Catholic priests in clerical collars stood beside Jews and young baptists. They had come form every religion of the nation and most said that they were attending the service in the belief that the country needed moral and spiritual uplift.  The hard sayings of the prophets have formed the basis for soul searching for centuries. It was translated most powerfully today in the ringing phrases of Mr. King…



Plea by Dr. King’s Father Adds Touch of Revivalism to the Day, By KENNETH A. BRIGGS Special to The New York Times ; January 21, 1977, Section , Page 30,

WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 The Rev. Martin Luther King Sr., father of the slain civil rights leader, brought a touch of revivalism and a word of biblical challenge to the first official inaugural event today, an 8 A.M. prayer service at the Lincoln Memorial.

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Words to Song Sri Chinmoy composed

Carter, Carter, you are your vision’s start.
You are your beauty’s mind and duty’s heart.
Your power-light has smashed the ignorance-dart.

In you, the country’s promise-soul,
With you, its great perfection-goal.
Your surprise-gift: your oneness-role.

Your golden boat is sailing at lightning-speed;
The smiles and tears of the world your heart

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Gallery: Meditation at UN Report