Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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St. George's Episcopal

MAILING ADDRESS:905 Princess Anne St
PHYSICAL ADDRESS: 905 Princess Anne St
CITY, ST, ZIP: Fredericksburg, VA 22401
PHONE: 540/373-4133
FAX: 540/374-0923
E-MAIL: Office

CLERGY: Joe Hensley
TITLE: Rector
E-MAIL: Joe Hensley 

WEB URL: St. George's Episcopal Church

ECW: St. George's ECW

HISTORY:

The present St. George’s Church building was built in 1849. It was the third to be constructed on this site. The first was a wooden structure built in the 1730s; the second, a more substantial brick building, was erected in 1815.

It was during the earliest period in St. George’s history (1738) that the family of George Washington moved to the area. In time, they, as well as friends and relations famous in the founding of this country, attended services here.

Both the second and present buildings of St. George’s were erected under the dynamic leadership of the Rev. Edward McGuire, who served as rector from 1813 (at age twenty, too young to be ordained) until 1858.

Throughout the more than 285 years of its existence, St. George’s Church has been an active force in the community. During the Colonial Period, the Church was responsible by law for the welfare of orphans, widows, the sick and the needy in the community. From 1795 to 1802, the Church established male and female charity schools. Before the War Between the States, it operated Sunday Schools for black children. During the same war, it was used as a hospital and for revival meetings. Today, St. George’s continues its commitment to the community by helping to create and support such organizations as the Fredericksburg Senior Citizens, Rappahannock Big Brothers/Sisters, the Interfaith Council, Hospice, the Homeless Shelter, and Hope House.

The current St George’s Church building stands as a fine example of the Romanesque Revival style of architecture popular in the mid-19th century. It was designed and built by Robert Cary Long and H.R. Reynold of Baltimore.

The exterior focal points are the three main round-arched doors and windows. The central tower and steeple, long familiar city landmarks, have survived the ravages of time and war. The clock in the tower was set in place in 1851 (and restored in 1854 after fire damage) by the City of Fredericksburg, which is still responsible for its maintenance.

Inside, the plan follows the ancient basilica layout, with the nave and columns forming court-like space on three sides, and supporting a rear gallery.

The original “basic box” simplicity was first altered in 1876, with the removal of the high pulpit from the center of the east wall (where it stood above the Holy Table and reading desk). This opened the altar wall, allowing for the addition of the chancel. The lectern was placed on the left, the pulpit on the right. The lectern is in the shape of an eagle, the symbol of St. John the Evangelist and his Gospel of Love. In 1925, the choir and the organ were added to a newly expanded chancel area.

The side galleries were added in 1854, and the plain glass windows began to be replaced by stained glass with the dawning of the 20th Century.

 

COMMUNITY PROFILE: