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Rick Robinson's Second Time Around: Christ Episcopal Church in Old Town Alexandria

Northern Kentucky author & attorney Rick Robinson is back in Washington, DC where he spent years on the staff of then-Congressman Jim Bunning. As a busy staffer on the Hill, it's easy to miss the beauty of our nation's capital. And that's what happened to Rick. This time, he vows to take it all in - and share it with you in "Second Time Around".

When we lived in DC in the late-80s, my wife Linda and I always wanted to attend services at Christ Episcopal Church in Old Town Alexandria – one of the many historic places of worship in and around DC. 
Every time we planned a visit, something got in the way. One Christmas eve we even made it as far as the front door when our one-month old began a cry that could hardly be considered “making a joyful noise.” Jesus suffered the little children unto him, but we decided the folks in the pew with us might not have the same forgiving attitude and we left. The first weekend I returned to DC, it’s where I went for Sunday service.
Construction on Christ Church began in 1767 and was complete in 1773. Known as the home church for the likes of George Washington and Robert E. Lee, the parish offices are adorned with pictures of presidents and world leaders who have attended church there. As people of many faiths venture into Christ Church to worship and view the historic grounds, I found the congregation to be warm and inviting. They patiently answered my questions about the church’s history and were quite open to allowing pictures to be taken in between Sunday services. If you’re headed to DC, it’s a good place to spend a Sunday morning.
Above photo: For having over 2,400 members, the church building itself is very small. Accordingly, they have several services on Saturday and Sunday to accommodate all of their members. Much of the glass in the windows is original.

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There are several very cool design features about this Christ Church. First, all the pews have gates on them. Some of the pews are (like the ones down the center of this photo) single rows, while others are more like boxes with benches around all sides. In colonial times, families used to pay the diocese a fee to reserve a particular pew for their families. Today no such custom exists, but small silver name plates mark the pews once reserved for the families of George Washington and Robert E. Lee.
The interior is all white, except the writings on either side of the pulpit. When the church was built, they pained the Ten Commandments, Apostles Creed, Lord’s Prayer and Golden Rule on the front wall. They have never been repainted. Over the years the original white paint yellowed and has a gold-like glow.
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Another interesting architectural feature of Christ Church is the elevated pulpit. In this photo the Altar Guild prepare for the final service of the day. 

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Along with the silver name plates marking the family pews, the front of the church has simple markers in honor of George Washington and Robert E. Lee. Washington served on the Parish Council when Christ Church was established.

For more columns and stories by Rick Robinson, click here.

For more on Rick Robinson's award-winning books, visit his Amazon page here and his website here.

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