Parade, services mark annual D.C. church celebration

Marching bands sporting bright brass instruments paraded through the District’s Shaw neighborhood Saturday during the annual Memorial Day celebration for the founders and deceased leaders of the United House of Prayer for All People.

 Washington is the headquarters of the 1.5 million-member church organization founded by the late “Daddy Grace” in 1927.  

“The parade is the promise of the legacy of Bishop CM ‘Daddy,’ and his successors, Daddy McCollough and Daddy Madison,” said Apostle Z. Crawford, one of the United House of Prayer’s bishops. “We celebrate their words and their memories on this day.”

After the parade, participants marched through the doors of the building known as “God’s White House,” the home base of a church that has more than 150 congregations across 25 states. The weekend long program was also to include music, religious services, and a cookout.

 From calling their leaders “Daddy,” to the annual parades and fire-hose baptisms, the United House of Prayer is one of the country’s most distinctive African American church organizations.

In addition to its colorful worship services, the church — whose members are called “saints” — is also known for its extensive assets, which include restaurants, apartment buildings and sanctuaries.

 The House of Prayer was founded by Bishop Charles Manuel Grace, who was born in Cape Verde. “Sweet Daddy” Grace built the first United House of Prayer in West Wareham, Mass., and incorporated the United House of Prayer for All People in Washington in 1927.
When Grace died in 1960, Bishop Walter "Sweet Daddy" McCollough took over. He served for until his death in 1991. Bishop S.C. Madison succeeded McCullough until his death in 2008, when he was succeed by Bishop CM “Daddy” Bailey.

Hamil Harris is currently a multi-platform reporter on the Local Desk of The Washington Post.

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