Opening the center doors leads you down the center aisle to the chancel in the front.

The chancel is separated from the nave (the part where the congregation sits) by a communion rail. The chancel carries the symbols of our faith: (1) the font symbolizes our entry into the living Christ as members (arms, eyes, etc.) of his Body. This font can either be in front or in the narthex. (2) The lectern and pulpit symbolize the Word of God. (3) The altar table symbolizes our being fed by Christ's life in bread and wine. 


The altar (or table) is in the center where the bread and wine are consecrated for the Eucharist, the main Episcopal service.This was given by nephews and nieces of A. W. Wellington Wallace IMO Judge and Mrs. Wellington Wallace, 1931

We remember Wallace at St. George’s in two areas:

He served the second longest term on the St. George’s vestry , first from Dec. 3, 1881- April 18, 1881 and then from March 26, 1883 to Dec. 31, 1922. The total years was 42, half of his 84 years. He was also a trustee of St. George’s beginning in 1902. He served St. George’s both at the Diocese level and General Convention.

Secondly, he was extremely generous to the church. A. Wellington Wallace left $6,100 to the Benevolent Society for the “benefit of needy, poor widows of the city of Fredericksburg over fifty years of age, in the months of December, January, February, and March for their imminent need each year.” This became a separate fund in his name with $5,000 invested in bonds. Towards the end of his life in 1926 he donated $500 to the church debt retirement fund which was matched by the Vestry members at the time.

His wife also provided gifts to the church. Victoria S. Wallace donated 9 stained glass windows to the Church in January, 1908.


To the right is the pulpit where the minister preaches. It was given 1895 by Mrs. Annie T. Harrison, Philadelphia (1868-1939).

It is very likely that the original pulpit in St. George’s was of the type made popular by Bishop John Henry Hobert (1775-1830) of New York. This was a high pulpit reached by stairs. Rev Edwin McGuire’s brother, John P. McGuire, was minister of Vauter’s Church in Essex County when the Church was modernized in 1827. (Rev. Edwin McGuire served here from 1813-1858 and buried in our graveyard.) A Hobert style pulpit was placed on the north wall with the Holy Table in front of it.


To the left is a lectern for reading of the scripture. 

This was given by George Rothrock (1798-1865) who is buried in our graveyard and was in the hardware business and fabricated various items – from newspaper sources- "blacksmith tiles, brass candlesticks and general assortment of copper and tin wire". He also served on the Vestry beginning in 1824.

"To the Glory of God Almighty and in Loving Memory of my Parents George W Rothrock and Louisiana J. Rothrock Entered Into Life Eternal Dec. 9th 1865 and Jan. 25th 1888 To Testify The Gospel Of The Grace of God."


The chancel has changed throughout our history unlike other parts of the church. We have a visual history from the current church building.

The current church was built in 1849.The 1849 chancel was much different design. From rector Charles Syndor (1972-2003). “Church architecture and ceremony are an expression of our theological emphasis. That emphasis was different in 1849. Communion was celebrated infrequently and emphasis was on the word read and preached with a service of two hours or longer consisting of Morning Prayer with full litany and Ante-communion {prayers without communion of the people.) The chancel of 1849 reflected this use with a central 3 tiered pulpit flanked by a prayer desk on either side and a communion table in front of the pulpit but dominated by it. Behind the pulpit in the arch was a wall with door into a vesting room." From 1838-1874 there was a reaction against the Anglican influences toward these more Calvinistic influences.

Times would change with the change in church leadership in Virginia after 1874. Many of the chancel objects go back to the late 19th century and afterwards and reflect the "Oxford Movement." In the 1830’s the Oxford Movement grew up in England over the next 50 years spread to America, after 1870 in Virginia. It would be a re-emphasis of both Catholic teachings and rituals. It was to have profound changes in the Episcopal service.

The movement emphasized three teachings – Apostolic succession (ministry derived in direct line from the Apostles), Baptismal regeneration (salvation impossible without baptism ), and the Real Presence in the bread and wine (Jesus is really or substantially present in the Eucharist, not merely symbolically or metaphorically.)

The second phase was called ritualism and was influential after the Civil War which was the Catholic influence. It emphasize the role of Eucharist over Morning Prayer and those items surrounding it- candles, “smells and bells”, crossess and flowers on the altar, vested clergy, as well as body language by the priests and congregations, such as bowing before the cross.

The current chancel derives from the renovation, 2007-2011. Renovating the chancel was intended to place a focus on the Eucharist and several key symbols of our faith and to allow them to be better viewed by themselves and in relationship to other symbols.  There was also the desire to make the chancel less cluttered and open. The choir and organ were moved to the gallery from the chancel where they had been prior to 1925. 


The reredos is a screen separating the chancel from the sacristy where the priests robe, the flowers are arranged and the bread and wine are prepared. Currently, there is an ornate processional cross on it. It was restored in 2000 after a long period of storage.

The reredos reflected this growth of the Oxford Movement in Virginia after the high pulpit was taken down after 1874.

More on the Reredos


The communion rail has 7 kneeling cushions completed from 1975-1978 under chairperson Ruby Harris. Designs were done by Mrs. Edmund Pendleton III. The symbols include Iris (Mary), Crown (Jesus as the King), Lamb of God (Jesus), Hand (God), Dove (Holy Spirit), seven gifts of the spirit, and the shield.

More on the kneelers or cushions


Above the chancel is the Ascension Window, a gift in 1885 in memory of Rev. Edward McGuire who served 45 years (1813-1858).  The window is from Heidelberg, Germany. It was the first stained glass window in the church and reflected the Oxford Movement.

The Ascension took place 40 days after the Resurrection when Jesus led the disciples to Bethany. He raised his hands, blessed them and then was lifted up until a cloud took him out of their sight. This is shown in the window. 

St. Peter is on the left part of the windows with his "keys for the kingdom". John is on the right, always depicted without beard.

More on the Ascension window

Go to the left side (north) of the church for the marble plaque.