The Very Rev. George L. W. Werner of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh opened the September 10, 2009, session of the United States House of Representatives with this prayer:
we meet in a challenging moment of your history.
We cannot control all that may endanger us,
but we can choose our behavior
and the example we set as leaders.
Facing overwhelming challenges,
the signers of our Declaration of Independence pledged
"their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor."
In Romans, Paul, too, encourages us
to "outdo one another in showing honor."
Please send your Holy Spirit among us,
strengthening our vision and courage to do right,
especially when no one is watching.
Not for just this great House, but all levels of government,
corporations, institutions and organizations;
financial, industrial, commercial, academic, military,
including our religious and altruistic communities
which sadly have not been immune from dishonor;
that our beloved country may continue
to be a beacon of light to a troubled world
and that government for, by and of the people,
shall not perish from the face of this Earth.
Following this Invocation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recognized Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA), who had sponsored Dean Werner’s appearance.
Video of the Invocation and Mr. Altmire’s remarks can be viewed on-demand here, courtesy C-SPAN.
The Congressman addressed the House, saying:
"Madame Speaker, it’s my great honor to welcome the Very Rev. George L. W. Werner, who today serves as the Guest Chaplain for the United States House of Representatives.
"As the Dean Emeritus of the historic Trinity Cathedral in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dean George Werner has earned a special place in the hearts of Western Pennsylvania, and especially the Episcopal Church.
"A well-known volunteer in the community, Dean Werner is involved in countless community and civic organizations, including the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh, the St. Margaret’s Foundation, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, just to name a few.
"And it is altogether fitting that he has opened up today’s House session in prayer. Dean Werner is the first person to stand at that center podium, where President Obama stood last night to talk about the need for health care reform, because Dean Werner has literally made a career out of advocating for fairness for all of our citizens and helping those less fortunate.
"My colleagues, it is my distinct honor and privilege to welcome to the House today, my good friend, Dean George Werner."