The 200-year history St. George's Episcopal Church in Valley Lee, Md., one of the area's oldest sanctuaries in continuous use, will be celebrated tomorrow in a series of public activities.
Built in 1799, the brick structure is the third church building on the site, said Emily Joyner, chairwoman of St. George's heritage committee.
The congregation was established in 1638 as part of William and Mary Parish, the first Anglican parish in Maryland. Trinity Church, 10 miles away in St. Mary's City, was founded about the same time, she said.
Today, about 100 families attend St. George's. Other than typical modernization--addition of utilities, heat and air conditioning--the building has undergone few changes.
In the 1940s, the steeple was removed to prevent its collapse and a bell tower constructed near the cemetery. Four historic gravestones, including one of the oldest in Maryland, dated 1679, were laid in a brick floor installed in 1958.
The celebration will begin at 10 a.m. with a bagpiper leading a procession into the church for a commemorative service.
The Rev. Ronald H. Haines, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, will confirm and receive six new members and give five children their first Communion. Guided tours, including grave rubbings, and demonstrations of such 18th-century crafts as blacksmithing and weaving begin at 12:30 p.m.
The church is at 19167 Poplar Hill Lane in Valley Lee. For directions, call 301-994-0585.