Rev William J. Barber II

Rev William J. Barber II

Rev. William Barber Will Deliver the Inaugural Prayer Service

Rev. William J. Barber II
Rev. William J. Barber II

The prayer service will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday, January 21, 2021, the day after Biden and Harris are sworn in.

The Washington National Cathedral will host a virtual iteration of its traditional interfaith worship service the day after Joe Biden’s inauguration, with activist and pastor the Rev. William Barber II preaching the sermon.

During his campaign for president, Biden delivered remarks at two events hosted by Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign. Barber also personally endorsed Biden, and his group met with the president-elect’s transition team. But the activist pastor — who is known for his fiery sermons and bold rhetoric — told Religion News Service in November that he stands ready to demonstrate against Biden should the need arise.

Neither the president nor the vice president will be in attendance, but organizers say they expect the newly inaugurated leaders and their families will watch the service from home — just as millions of Americans have throughout the pandemic.

Faith leaders representing a wide array of American religions and traditions will also appear during the service, including the Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, and Rabbi Sharon Brous, senior rabbi of the IKAR community. Valarie Kaur, Sikh activist and founder of the Revolutionary Love Project, will speak, as will Jonathan Nez and Phefelia Nez, president and first lady of the Navajo Nation. The Rev. Rob Fisher, rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., where President Donald Trump stood outside holding a Bible during the Black Lives Matter protests last year, will also make an appearance.

Patti LaBelle, Josh Groban, and the cathedral’s choir will provide music.

The Jan. 21 service will begin at 10 a.m. and may be viewed online at

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