What is making a space for all?
At St. George's, seeking to make a space for all is believed to be a Gospel imperative. We seek to eliminate separateness in worship, reaching towards not just accessibility but inclusion. We seek a sense of greater connection among ourselves as we worship Emmanuel: God is with us. We seek a flexible space that reflects a God who is not fixed but is ever responsive. We move forward as a community of faith towards a renovation of our space that will better reflect our theology, serve our community, and point to the presence of God among us.
Read more about our core values and our vision here.
As we move forward with renovation plans, you can stay up to date by following the Renovation Committee Updates.
the capital campaign
Saint George's has been welcoming people at all stages of their spiritual journeys for over 100 years. While much about our community has changed during that time, our physical building has remained almost unchanged since its dedication in May, 1953.
In the Spring of 2012, St. George's Vestry commissioned two committees, a Buildings Possibilities Committee and a Fundraising Committee to enumerate the ways in which our buildings and resources could better carry out our mission and call. Shortly thereafter, St. George's began a carefully considered capital campaign. Our goal during the capital campaign was to raise the needed funds to allow for building improvements that would serve our goal of making a space for all.
Our capital campaign ended in April of 2015. The pledged amount currently stands at approximately 1.4 million dollars. This is a tremendous amount and will give us the ability to make real progress towards our goals. We are so appreciative. If you missed our capital campaign, but feel moved to give, please contact us or you may give online here.
For more information about our Capital Campaign, view the brochure here.
Those who came before us
On a summer Sunday afternoon in 1909 the first church services of what was to become Saint George’s Church were held on the porch of a house where Ballston Mall now stands. In those days, Arlington was a series of small towns – Rosslyn, Clarendon and Ballston – and in 1909 there were enough people in those villages seeking a worship option closer than traveling to The Falls Church.
Two years later, the ground was broken for the chapel that still stands today and houses La Inglésia San José. Many of the original parishioners were English immigrants who worked as household staff in the embassies downtown and chose to name their new parish after England’s patron saint. Building the chapel was a personal undertaking for these early members. Various groups raised money for certain elements, while some even built the altar by hand.
Arlington continued to grow, and so did Saint George’s. By 1931 the Sunday School had 400 children and had outgrown the small wooden parish hall that had been erected next to the chapel. The parish hall was razed to make way for a larger one, made of stone, which we still use today. With the country in the middle of the Depression, parishioners once again chipped in not only with what little funds they could spare, but by volunteering their services as well. An architect drew the plans for expenses only, and a builder in the parish helped plan, estimate and purchase the materials.
World War II changed the suburbs of Washington forever as people flocked to the region to work for the federal government. Saint George’s grew exponentially during the decade to follow. Plans began for our current sanctuary in 1948 and ground was broken in 1952. The plan was a very modern one. The church would be rectangular, rather than in the cruciform plan, and the altar was one of the first in the United States built away from the wall so the celebrant could face the congregation.
Again, groups in the church raised money to help pay for certain elements. Women sold handmade dolls and held bake sales to pay for the reredos – the decorative screen behind the altar – and the Rose Window. The tile on the floor came from surplus used in the U.S. Capitol that a parishioner acquired at a special price. The first service was held on Christmas Eve, 1952. As people filed in, the pews were still being nailed down.
Over the years other furnishings and changes have been made, such as the addition of the organ chamber, the addition of air conditioning, a new ceiling to improve acoustics, and a sound system, but the changes have been small and the nave has remained essentially the same.
This Renovation is as much about the past as it is about the present and future, as we build upon the hard work and perseverance of those who came before us to better serve those here now and those who will come in the future.
"Always a turnover, always in ferment like yeast. New people, new ideas give one no chance to get stale or in a rut. St. George's seems to have room for all points of view."
-Rev. Hedley Williams, Rector