WASHINGTON — The United House of Prayer for All People held its annual Memorial Day weekend parade in Washington Saturday, and it is awesome.
UHOP was founded in 1919 by Cape Verdi immigrant Bishop C. M. “Sweet Sweet Daddy” Grace, who first settled in Massachusetts before eventually moving the District of Columbia.
One of the church’s most unique characteristics are their mass baptisms, in which hundreds of congregants dressed in white are baptized at once with a fire hose.
The church’s headquarters in Northwest Washington is also famous for its cafeteria, which serves inexpensive soul food.
For decades the parade has been a central part of Memorial Day for the Shaw and Logan Circle neighborhoods, even during the decades when the area was ravaged by crime and drugs. In fact, for many years UHOP’s parade was one of the few times neighbors would congregate without the flashing red and blue glare of police lights.
3. The Church’s Bishop rides near the front of the parade. He’s proceeded by elders of the church …
4. … and rides, of course, in an amazing Chariot/mobile Throne Room with his family.
5. People come from across the country to participate in the parade.
6. They come from Georgia …
7. Philly is representin’ …
8. As is Newport News, Virginia home of the current Bishop …
9. and even New Jersey, New York and New England!
11. Dozens of Shout Bands converge on Washington for the parade.
12. Similar to New Orleans’ jazz bands, Shout Bands are AMAZING.
13. Their music and energy and love of Jesus are totally infectious.
14. Even the youngins get in on the act.
17. And everybody in the neighborhood has a blast when Shout Bands are playing.
18. Like at any good parade, there are cheerleaders.
21. ADORABLE cheerleaders.
23. There are lots of officially dapper-looking gentlemen maintaining order during the parade.
24. And of course, no parade is complete without a couple of boss cars …
25. DADDY. CADDY.
26. While some may think church going folks are decidedly unfashionable, UHOP’s parade proves that loving Jesus and lookin’ good aren’t mutually exclusive.
27. It’s Memorial Day so of course the ladies’ white is totally fashionable.
30. And of course the ladies know how to accessorize.
31. Oh hi beautiful ladies wearing tiaras!
32. Did we mention capes? Because there are CAPES.
34. And look at those gloves!
35. Even the fellas get into the act. These guys make church robes look GOOD.
37. Here’s a video of a mass fire hose baptism.
38. See you next year, United House of Prayer For All People!
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