tv Reverend Luis Leon on St. Johns Episcopal Church CSPAN January 16, 2017 6:45pm-6:58pm EST
obama, have you heard from the white house about anything? >> sure, they've been very acious and extended an invitation for tea in the morning. >> i think that's what happened eight years ago. do the family come over there and they ride together? >> not the family. president-elect and the first lady-elect. >> and then the four of them ride together? >> most probably they'll go to the white house have, tea, spend a hatch an hour there and then they'll go together. that's a great moment. >> thank you so much. >> thanks all of you. >> watch the 58th presidential inauguration live on friday on c-span, c-span org or listen on the free c-span radio app. >> st. john's episcopal church within walking distance of the white house is often referred to as the
president's church while he's in office. the reverend luis leon talks about its relation to presidents and what he expects from president trump on election day. >> outside of its proximity across from the white house, why has this church become the church of presidents? >> it started with james madison. the church started in 1915, completed in 1916. james madison was the president at the time and he became a member of this church and since then every president has attended this church at one time or more during their administration. it started with james madison. the proximity. reality will tell you location, location, location helps a lot and that's been the two primary reasons why that became the church of the presidents.
>> of course it is a real landmark. you can't miss it with the yellow exterior so talk about the building itself and its architecture. >> bing ming latrobe was the architecture. it was a much smaller building then, about 1/3 of the size it is now. and then as the city of washington grew and there was a need for a larger church. they added what is the front entrance and the balconies to accommodate larger groups of people. but originally benjamin latrobe was the architecture and it was about 1/3 of the size it is now. >> the altar and stain-glass windows what they respect? >> the windows at the front of the church were from sharker's ca toledo really a and made and delivered in the 1880's. the one in the front of the
church is unusual because it's the last supper. as opposed to a da vinci, which is a very long table. this is a very wide table. the rest of it are stained glass windows depicting various events in the biblical narratives and they're chosen by whoverp makes the donation to have the stained-glass window. >> when visitors come into this church for the first time, what are they -- their impressions? >> the first thing they ask is where's the president's pew? there's a pew here, number 54, which is the one where james madison sent. they all want to go there and have a photograph taken in the president's pew. that's the first question and then they'll usually ask me do i have an episode that i can relate to them an a presidential visit here and sometimes i can give them a
good story. >> you've been here for three presidents, now your 22nd year. dating back to bill clinton, george w. bush, now barack obama. what do you remember? >> correct. well, i've had a lot of experiences with particularly george w. bush and president obama both and have some good relationships with both of those presidents. president clinton came here occasionally. his church was really the methodist church on 16th street but he would he would come here on occasion. my friendly relations are with president bush more so and with president obama so far. >> this book, kept in storage is pretty remarkable. what does this represent and who has signed it? >> this is called the president's pew. the tradition started in the 1960's and then they worked backwards to gather
signatures of former presidents so it's signed by ales roosevelt. the first president to sign that they were able that they get was her better however, even though he was already out of office. ell nowhere roosevelt sign for the franklin roosevelt. they took the book to harry truman. they were trying to gather as many signatures of presidents that were alive in the early 1960's. since then the presidents have all signed it when they came to church for the first time here when president-elect trump comes on january 20th, the book will be at the entrance of the church and before he comes in to be seated we'll ask him to sign the book. >> for a normal sunday service, do you know if the president is going to be here? >> it depends on what president it is. president bush liked to give
us a heads up on saturday mornings. plinlt sometimes would give us a heads up but sometimes we'd find out early in the morning and president obama lets us know on sunday morning if he'll be attending church. >> let's talk about friday what is going to happen, what is your schedule and what happens in preparing for president-elect trump and inside the service. >> the as much as is scheduled to be a more intimate service than the one on january 21st at the national cathedral. so the president's circle will invite friends, family mention, members of the cabinet to attend that service at 8:30 in the morning and some members of our congregation will also be in attendance but the church will not be filled. it will be a much smaller service than, for instance, the one on the 21st. it's a very breach service, a morning prayer service.
the president's committee is working on choosing lessons, readings, scripture readings. they're choosing who's going to be the speaker that day and they've we've put basically a framework of a service which we've used with president bush and president oboy. >> and what is your own sense of history on this january 20th, a day that represents the peaceful transfer of power? >> you stated it. as far as i'm concerned it's just one of the great events in american history, that we're able to transfer power peacefully from one president to the next and i think that need to be celebrated, regardless of who is getting elected on any cycle. for me it's a very exciting time. i love being here, i love being a part of it. it's a thrill and just a great moment, i think, in american -- as part of the american tradition. >> when the president-elect,
the first lady, his family enter this church, you greet him at the front door. have you thought about what you're going to say? >> well, my greeting is very breach because the secret service will usher him in very quickly. they don't want the president-elect or any president to be outside of the doors very long. but i will give a brief greeting. welcome to st. john's church and what an honor to have a service here again. >> this church this altar, what does it represent to you personally now, having been here 22 years? >> gosh, i've been in the episcopal church now for 38 years. this is an unusual church. i've had the experience of working in charlotte, north carolina, patterson, new jersey, willington, delaware, and here. i love all four plays although they're all very, very different congregations. this is a very good
congregation and it's made up of people who check their partisan politics at the door and i've always respected that. we're able to stay as a congregation and exist in i think a hospitable and welcoming congregation because we're able to do that and i have a great deal of respect for the people of the congress gays for being able to do that. >> reverend leon, thank you very much for your time. >> uh-huh, glad to be with you. ♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> the presidential inauguration of donald trump is friday. c-span will have live coverage of all the day's events and ceremonies. watch live on c-span and c-span.org and listen live on the free c-span radio app. >> our c-span bus travels to
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scenes. >> my experience of having the tunth to sit in the same seats as ben carson, bernie sanders and learn that i have another source for more political he search -- research. if i need any political advice and i need any information on an issue, that i can go to a nonpartisan site and it will tell me everything i need to know. >> approximately 150 students had the opportunity to tour the bus today. they learned information they can use while in the classroom and at home. until next time, reporting for school negotiates i'm xavier williams. >> last week in chicago, president obama delivered his farewell address to the nation. he talked about a number of issues, including race relations, political divisions and for americans to continue to have hope and