Bishop Walter Thomas, of New Psalmist Baptist Church, reacts to the death of Congressman Elijah Cummings, a long-time member of the church.
The body of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Baltimore Democrat and committee chairman, will lie in state next week in National Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced.
A formal ceremony for members of Congress and Cummings’ family and guests will be held Thursday morning in the hall, the speaker’s office said. A public viewing will follow. The event will take place the day before Cummings’ funeral in Baltimore.
Also, Cummings will lie in repose Wednesday at Morgan State University.
“In the House, Elijah was our North Star,” she said in a statement. “He was a leader of towering character and integrity, whose stirring voice and steadfast values pushed the Congress and country to rise always to a higher purpose.”
Statuary Hall — a two-story room in the shape of an amphitheater where the House convened in the 19th century — is a popular spot for tourists and ceremonies such as presidential lunches and visits by foreign dignitaries. It is south of the Capitol rotunda, where U.S. presidents and others — most recently U.S. Sen. John McCain last year — have been honored after death.
“Statuary Hall is the historic House of Representatives chamber, so it is a very appropriate location,” said U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, the Maryland Democrat. “It’s a tribute to his incredible accomplishments. I’ve been receiving calls from all over the country. There is no question Congressman Cummings struck a chord with the American people.”
On Wednesday, there will be a public viewing at Morgan State, according to Larry Jones, a university spokesman. He said details would be released Monday.
A wake and funeral for Cummings will be held Friday, Oct. 25, at the church where he worshiped for nearly 40 years, New Psalmist Baptist Church, a church spokeswoman announced.
A public viewing will begin at 8 a.m. at the Lochearn church, spokeswoman Joi Thomas said. The funeral will follow at 10 a.m.
March Funeral Homes handling arrangements for both events in Baltimore. Cummings’ family has suggested that instead of sending flowers, people make donations to the Elijah Cummings Youth Program, according to funeral home’s website.