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Powell recalled as Episcopalian at cathedral funeral

(RNS) — Former Joint Chiefs of Employees Chairman Colin Powell, often known as a four-star basic and as a onetime secretary of protection, was remembered at his funeral on the Washington Nationwide Cathedral Friday (Nov. 5) as a person of the Episcopal religion.

Longtime colleague and pal Richard Armitage, who served as deputy secretary of state beneath Powell, recalled how their common 7 a.m. morning calls shifted to 9:30 on Sunday mornings, after his supervisor had returned from church.

“Colin liked the church: He liked the ceremony. He liked the liturgy. He liked the excessive hymns, which made him extraordinarily joyful,” mentioned Armitage, who served with Powell within the State Division in the course of the George W. Bush administration, in the course of the personal ceremony that was livestreamed on YouTube.

“And he would reply the identical method each Sunday. He mentioned, ‘Oh sure, I used to be at church. And I would like you to know I’m within the state of grace.’ And I might reply the identical method each Sunday: ‘Colin, when you’re not within the state of grace, who amongst us is?’ And that was daily for nearly 40 years, the identical opening remarks.”

Powell, who died Oct. 18 from COVID-19 problems, was honored at a virtually two-hour personal ceremony. A whole bunch of individuals gathered beneath the cathedral’s neo-Gothic arches, together with President Biden and two former presidents, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, and their wives, and former Secretary of State and first girl Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“With religion in Jesus Christ, we obtain the physique of our brother Colin Luther Powell for burial,” mentioned Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, who met the overall’s casket on the doorways of the cathedral with Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, chief of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.

Some relations of Powell, 84, had key roles within the service that blended the excessive church liturgy of the cathedral with the navy precision of uniformed service members bearing Powell’s coffin and escorting his household.


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His son, former Federal Communications Chairman Michael Okay. Powell, gave a tribute, together with Armitage and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who preceded Powell in that place. His daughter, Annemarie Powell Lyons, learn from the Hebrew Bible’s Ebook of Micah: “And what does the Lord require of you however to do justice, and to like kindness, and to stroll humbly along with your God?”

The Rev. Stuart A. Kenworthy speaks in the course of the funeral for Colin Powell on the Washington Nationwide Cathedral, in Washington, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021. Video screengrab

The Rev. Stuart A. Kenworthy drew on that Scripture as he spoke of Powell’s religion.

“Colin knew his God by all his years,” mentioned Kenworthy in his homily, a task the previous Military Nationwide Guard chaplain additionally performed on the 2016 funeral of former first girl Nancy Reagan. “His religion was of first significance, and his life was marked by these phrases of the Prophet Micah.”

He additionally inspired these remembering Powell to embrace their Christian religion.

“God raised Jesus so that you simply and I would share in his resurrection, and when you flip to him and settle for him in religion, he’ll come into you and lift you into that new and everlasting life now,” Kenworthy preached. “Simply as he has for the one that you love Colin, who now stands upon one other shore and in a higher mild, with that multitude of saints that no mortal can quantity.”

Previous to the homily, the Rev. Joshua D. Walters, rector of the Powell household’s church in McLean, Virginia, learn phrases of Jesus from the Gospel of John: “Don’t let your hearts be concerned. Imagine in God, consider additionally in me.”

Congregants, masked in the course of the persevering with pandemic, stood to sing the hymns “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” and “Treasured Lord.” Soloist Wintley Phipps sang “How Nice Thou Artwork.”

In an earlier assertion issued after Powell’s demise, Curry famous Powell was a lifelong Episcopalian.

“I pray for his household and all his many family members, and I give thanks for his mannequin of integrity, devoted service to our nation and his witness to the influence of a quiet, dignified religion in public life,” the presiding bishop mentioned on the time. “He cared about folks deeply. He served his nation and humanity nobly. He liked his household and his God unswervingly.”

President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama stand during a funeral service for former Secretary of State Colin Powell at the Washington National Cathedral, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in Washington. Video screengrab

President Joe Biden, first girl Jill Biden, former President Barack Obama and former first girl Michelle Obama stand throughout a funeral service for former Secretary of State Colin Powell on the Washington Nationwide Cathedral, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in Washington. Video screengrab

Although not usually identified for his ties to faith, Powell was famous for feedback he as soon as made about then-Senator Obama’s religion.

Obama, in an announcement launched on the day of Powell’s demise, spoke of his deep appreciation of Powell’s endorsement of his presidential candidacy when the overall had been affiliated with previous Republican administrations.

“At a time when conspiracy theories have been swirling, with some questioning my religion, Basic Powell took the chance to get to the guts of the matter in a method solely he may,” mentioned Obama within the assertion, referring to rumors that he was a Muslim.

On the time, Powell mentioned, “The right reply is, he’s not a Muslim; he’s a Christian.”

However then Powell added a follow-up: “However the actually proper reply is, ‘What if he’s?’ Is there one thing mistaken with being a Muslim on this nation? The reply’s no, that’s not America. Is there one thing mistaken with some 7-year-old Muslim-American child believing that she or he could possibly be president?”

Powell additionally was among the many top picks of likely voters who were religious and contemplating potential vice presidents when the then-senator was searching for the presidency in 2008.

However Armitage and different audio system principally put politics apart as they recalled the person who was their pal, member of the family or colleague.

The previous deputy secretary of state famous he and Powell had totally different preferences for hymns. Armitage recited the ultimate verse of “Tough Facet of the Mountain,” which speaks of standing “earlier than God’s throne” when the race of life has concluded.

“Be actual quiet,” Armitage instructed the congregation. “Pay attention actual rigorously. And also you may hear our savior say, ‘Colin, welcome house. And right here’s your starry crown.’”


RELATED: Photo of Muslim soldier’s tombstone that touched Powell

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