House of Prayer’s Virginia State Marching band cheerleaders step to the beat at Memorial Day parade in Washington DC. (photo credit Deborah Bailey)

By Deborah Bailey,
AFRO D.C. Editor

The long awaited Memorial Day weekend has begun in Washington DC. Nothing represents a traditional Memorial Day weekend in Washington DC like the gathering of the United House of Prayer for All People (UHOPAP) at the Washington Convention Center. The crowning event of the House of Prayer’s Memorial Day Weekend assembly is of course, the annual parade on 6th Street NW adjacent to the Church’s downtown headquarters. 

“You know there are more than 172 churches represented from all across the country,” said Kina Masons who was sitting on 6th street along with scores of onlookers waiting for the parade to begin. 

Masons, who traveled to the Memorial Weekend Event from Philadelphia, is a lifelong member of the church started by Charles M. “Daddy” Grace in Wareham, Massachusetts in 1919. “Daddy” Grace is one of three now deceased denominational leaders including Bishop Walter “Sweet Daddy” McCullough, and Bishop Samuel Madison.  Clarence M. “Sweet Daddy” Bailey who assumed leadership in 2008 currently heads the House of Prayer. 

House of Prayer members gather from across the nation at Memorial Day for four days of workshops, educational sessions for the youth to learn about their former Bishops, prayer and worship services. 

“We don’t call it a convention,” said Masons who emphasized the church would gather and have parades in other cities including her native Philadelphia, Norfolk, North Carolina and Georgia. 

This weekend’s House of Prayer parade included bands, choirs, clergy, and cheerleaders, and of course children from across the nation. The parade even featured a white chariot carrying Bishop Bailey up 6th street, waving to the world.  

This year was the first year since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, that the domination featured an in-person celebration. Washington could not be more ready for the return of the unique event that has become part of the District’s identify.  

Brass Band horn section brings the sound House of Prayer is known for at the House of Prayer Memorial Day parade in Washington DC this weekend. (photo credit Deborah Bailey)

“I look forward to working this parade each year, it’s a real highlight and a service to the community,” said one of the local police officers assigned to block off sixth street NW. 

“It’s wonderful to see all the people out and for this tradition to return to the District,” said the officer who choose not to reveal their name.

Now what about that mighty, meaty brass band sound?  What would a House of Prayer event be without trumpets, trombones, tubas and drums? 

Yes, the brass bands were back in full force hailing from Charlotte to Savanah and from Newport News to the world famous HOP hometown brass band in Washington DC. 

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