- (Photo: Twitter/Rev. Adam Hamilton)
The Presidential Inaugural Committee has announced that the Rev. Adam Hamilton of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection will deliver the sermon at the National Prayer Service on Jan. 22 at Washington National Cathedral in the Capitol.
"I'm honored to have been asked to deliver the message for this service of worship," Hamilton wrote on his personal blog. "And, to be honest, I'm a bit nervous as well. I'm used to preaching before thousands of people each weekend, but I've never had the President of the United States and our nation's top leaders sitting on the front rows."
The UMC of the Resurrection, in Leawood, Kan., is home to 18,000 worshippers and is the largest of its denomination in the U.S.,
Hamilton shared that after receiving advice from the White House to make his 15-minute sermon "spiritual, inspirational and inclusive," he has decided to focus the theme of his message on the leader of the Bible's great emancipation story, presumably Moses and the Exodus account, in connection to the recently celebrated 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.
The Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of Washington National Cathedral, which has hosted the National Prayer Service since 1933, said in a Presidential Inaugural Committee press release that his church feels "blessed" to have Hamilton deliver Tuesday's sermon.
"We are so blessed to be joined by leaders of many faiths for this prayer service to lift up our nation and our president," Hall said.
"To have represented the diverse faith perspectives of America within the Cathedral's nave is a sign of the distinct role that people of faith have to play in our national discourse and policy decisions," he added.
Hamilton is reportedly known for his centrist views, and has converted from Roman Catholicism to Pentecostalism before settling on the United Methodist Church.
The reverend, who was named among "10 people to watch in America's spiritual landscape" by Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly in 2000, is also a prolific writer, having authored 13 books which include Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee's choice of Hamilton, who reportedly expresses more centrist views when it comes to controversial topics such as homosexuality, proves to be a fitting choice for the "inclusive" theme of this year's inauguration.
In a Sept. 2012 sermon, Hamilton told his congregation that he often struggles with the issue of homosexuality as it is discussed in the Bible, and whether to interpret its teachings on heterosexuality as normative as the timeless word of God, or as a time-bound interpretation of the culture in which biblical people lived.
"I was raised in a church that says: The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it. And that really works well as long as you don't read very much of the Bible," Hamilton told his congregation.
"But I would probably still find myself on the conservative side of this issue were it not for all the people that I have met," added the reverend.
"There's room for Christians to see this issue differently," Hamilton concluded in his sermon, saying that although he still wrestles with the issue of homosexuality, and although he understands that not all Christians will agree on the issue, he believes his congregation can be an inclusive one which "loves one another."
Hamilton and a fellow UMC minister were defeated in their proposal last year to have their denomination officially acknowledge that not all United Methodists are in agreement on homosexuality.
Last week, the Rev. Louie Giglio, pastor at Passion City Church in Atlanta, Ga., withdrew from delivering the benediction at President Obama's Jan. 21 inauguration ceremony due to previous comments he made regarding the biblical view on homosexuality.
Inaugural committee spokeswoman Addie Whisenant released a statement Jan. 10 saying that Giglio's previous comments "[do not] reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this Inaugural," adding that the committee's next selection for a benediction speaker will "reflect this administration's vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans."
The committee ultimately chose the Rev. Dr. Luis León of Saint John's Church in Washington, D.C. to deliver the benediction.
As The Christian Post previously reported, Saint John's Church is gay-affirming and blesses gay and lesbian unions.
The invitation-only National Prayer Service is held the morning of Jan. 22, following the public inauguration ceremony of President Obama on Jan. 21.
The service, which will be attended by both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, dates back to the presidential term of George Washington and includes prayers, religious readings, blessing and hymns delivered by an array of religious leaders who have traveled to D.C. from various parts of the U.S. for the event.