Heritage Sunday at St. George’s Chapel Nov. 18
The Episcopal Parish of All Saints’ Church & St. George’s Chapel will celebrate Heritage Sunday at the 9:30 a.m. service Sunday, Nov. 18, at the historic chapel on Beaver Dam Road in Harbeson, six miles south of Five Points on Route 23.
Services at St. George’s Chapel date back to 1719 at this location. “We will be celebrating 293 years of worship and ministry here,” said the Rev. Max Wolf, parish rector. “We will use our 1716 edition of the 1662 Church of England prayer book in the service. Many worshipers will come dressed in Colonial attire. The service is reminiscent of Colonial times, when the members of the congregation were primarily farmers and merchants. We always have a sense at St. George’s Chapel that we stand on the shoulders of generations who have gone before us, a continuity of that communion of saints.”
The chapel was originally built for the convenience of the country families who could not easily travel into town, the nearest town being Lewes, for services. It was simpler for the minister to come out to the chapel than for the country families to make it into the town. The location on a branch of Herring Creek allowed many of the families to arrive by boat.
The original St. George’s Chapel was completed in 1719 and was destroyed by fire in 1792. The present chapel was completed in 1794 on the same spot. The new church is made of brick, which is unusual for this period, and the brick was fired on location. It is still referred to as The Brick Chapel by locals. The style of the interior of the building is of the early Federal period. The hourglass pulpit is in its original position, described as being as high as the gallery; it is of the single liturgical center plan, with pulpit and altar together, which was an experimental design of the 1700s. The oldest marked grave in the churchyard is dated 1732, and many local heroes and historical figures are buried there.
St. George’s Chapel is a treasure that has been lovingly maintained and restored as needed over the years. In the 1960s, planning and research began for a complete and authentic restoration. The architect for the project was Allen Wood Fraser, AIA, and the contractor was Samuel C. Russell of Lewes, with All Saints’ Church’s Father Richard Bailey overseeing all work.
The service on Heritage Sunday will include music appropriate to the period; dress and wigs of Colonial times will also be in evidence as the congregation pays tribute to its long and colorful history. Mélomanie, a Wilmington ensemble, will offer music pieces to further enhance the spirit of the worship service. For more information, call the parish office at 302-227-7202 or visit www.allsaintsparish-rehoboth.org/index.html.