I recently came across a copy of a newspaper called “Globe Leader,” dated January 13, 2013. It’s a newspaper from New Wilmington, PA. In it there is an article about a Christ Church in Alexandria, VA, where George Washington had a family pew. It’s still there, and it’s the only pew left with a swinging door and a little metal plate with the name “George Washington family.” Visitors are welcome to sit in it. There is a list of George’s honorary pall bearers for his funeral, which must have been at this church.
The Church is still an active church, which had a full crowd for its services on Christmas Eve. The author of this article said it was a very nice service. It was an hour and a half long, conducted by a woman, and included communion.
The brochure about this church said it was also attended by Robert E. Lee (who also has a marked pew, but no swinging gate), who, of course, used to live where Arlington National Cemetery is now. During the Civil War, many of the local churches were taken over and turn into hospitals. However, the reputation of Christ Church as George Washington’s place of worship preserved it as a church. It’s reputed to be the oldest church in one of the original 13 colonies.
And the brochure said that it is a tradition for the sitting U.S. President to attend at least one service at Christ Church during their administration, often on a Sunday near Washington’s birthday celebration. No mention of whether or not our current President has attended, or intends to visit. But Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill sat together there on Sunday, January 1, 1942, to observe the World Day of Prayer for Peace.
The construction of this church began in 1767 and was completed in 1773. It still has a vibrant congregation. It can hold up to 550 people, including those who may be seated on the balcony.
There’s a beautiful color picture of the church building on the front page of this newspaper. Might be nice to visit sometime.