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St. John’s Church rector on aftermath of fire, impromptu Trump visit: ‘Like I’m in some alternative universe

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Rev. Robert Fisher, the rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington D.C. — located in Lafayette Square near the White House — told “The Story” Monday that whoever set fire to the basement of the church’s parish hall Sunday night does not represent the majority of people who have protested following the death of George Floyd.

Fisher joined host Martha MacCallum moments after President Trump walked through Lafayette Park to the boarded-up church, where he posed for photographs while holding a Bible in the air.

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“This is such an interesting moment to me when,” Fisher said. “We agreed to have this talk, I had no idea what was going to be going on at 7:00 tonight. I actually haven’t seen any of it. I’ve been listening to it all, of course, and honestly, it feels, like so many ways, a surreal moment for me. I feel like I’m in some alternative universe in some way.”


Fisher recalled parishoners calling him with news of the fire Sunday evening. He told MacCallum that he and his wife visited the church early Monday and were thankful the only room burned was a newly-renovated part of the nursery.

“It was just one room that had been recently renovated and it was not one of the irreplaceable historic parts of the space. I was so grateful for that,” he said.

“And I’m very mindful that those people who did this — it may have been one person, I don’t know who it was — I think it is really important to say that person does not represent the majority of the people that are out there peacefully protesting with an important message.”


In closing, Fisher thanked the public for their outpouring of support, and added that America must continue to look past the violence and concentrate on the “message of fighting racism as a country.”

“That is the only way that we are going to have healing and progress.”

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