Historic Virginia church to relocate Washington, Lee plaques

Published: Oct. 29, 2017 at 1:53 PM EDT
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A historic Virginia church is relocating two plaques in its sanctuary honoring George Washington and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, who worshipped there.

Leaders of Christ Church in Alexandria sent a letter to congregation members Thursday explaining the decision. It says the leaders decided the plaques create a distraction and "may create an obstacle to our identity as a welcoming church."

The Rev. Noelle York-Simmons, rector of the Episcopal church, told The Washington Post the plaques' fate had been discussed for years. The decision also comes after white nationalists descended on Charlottesville for rallies that erupted into violence.

Those events have sparked debate about symbols of the Confederacy and the legacy of slavery. The letter says church leaders thought it was important for both plaques to be considered together.