Wednesday, September 25, 2013

St. George’s Episcopal Church – Fredericksburg, VA

Interior St. George Episcopal Church
Yesterday our history club visited the historic St. George’s Episcopal Church in Fredericksburg, VA.   First we had a guided tour of the small cemetery situated within the inverted U of the church complex.  When the city of Fredericksburg was established in 1728 two lots were set aside for the church and graveyard, and it now occupies one of those original lots. A couple of stones pointed out of interest were that of William Paul, brother of John Paul Jones, who died in 1774, and Colonel Dandridge, George Washington’s father-in-law, who died in 1756.
Stone of George Richardson
In 1892 the ladies of the church went about documenting the graveyard’s history.  The earliest stone they could read was that of John Jones, 1752.
Oldest stone in the graveyard, 1752

We next visited the church, which is beautiful and well worth a visit.  In 1720 land was set aside designated as “St. George’s Parish.” In 1734 services were held, although the church was still under construction.  As we sat in the pews we could image members of George Washington’s family coming in for Sunday services. 

Our docent was very knowledgeable about the church’s history, which included the fact that a second church was built in 1815 at the cost of $11,000 to replace the original wood structure.  The present church was erected in 1849 and designed in Roman architectural style.

Of the eleven stained glass windows, three were made by Tiffany; all are stunning to see.  In 2010 a Parsons organ was installed. It is an impressive instrument and we are looking forward to a attending a concert there.

And last but not least, at the end of our tour we went to the lower level where the morning’s Table was ending. The Table is the church’s food pantry feeding the working poor and homeless.  Food is set out on tables so that people can pick what they need instead of being handed a bag of food that they might not desire.  The Table purchases food from the Fredericksburg Food Bank, as well as accepts donations of perishables from local grocery stores and restaurants. It is quite an operation. 

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