Washington National Cathedral to host service in honor of Matthew Shepard

Posted Nov 29, 2023

[Episcopal News Service] Washington National Cathedral will host a service on Nov. 30 honoring Matthew Shepard, an Episcopalian, who was a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming when on Oct. 7, 1998, he was brutally attacked and left bound to a fence in a field. He died five days later.

Shepard, who was gay, would have turned 47 on Dec. 1. His murder was deemed a hate crime and sparked a national outcry against homophobic violence. The 6 p.m. Eastern in-person service will be livestreamed.

Shepard’s ashes were interred on Oct. 26, 2018, in St. Joseph’s Chapel, on the lower level of the cathedral. On Dec. 1, 2022, the cathedral unveiled a commissioned portrait of Shepard by Episcopal iconographer Kelly Latimore. The portrait stands near his final resting place.

His parents also started the Matthew Shepard Foundation, whose mission is to amplify his story and to inspire individuals, organizations and communities to embrace the dignity and equality of all people.

Those attending the service in person at the cathedral and who wish to visit Shepard’s final resting place may do so before or immediately after the service.