Sitting outside of downtown, St. George’s Anglican Church looks as if it has been transplanted from the English countryside. With a small churchyard and a scattering of graves, this historic parish is among the earliest churches within the community of Georgetown.
Anglican priests had been calling in Georgetown since the 1840s. These saddlebag preachers rode a circuit, often holding services in family homes or schoolhouses. These services suited the areas of Ontario that were far from the urban centres. As the community grew, a section of land was purchased on Norval Road (Guelph Street) to build a meeting house and a burial ground. A simple wooden frame church was erected in 1845; it had room for two hundred parishioners, a choir and music supplied by a pump organ. It continued to be served by saddlebag ministers until 1852, the parish and community grew enough to warrant posting a permanent rector, Rev Thomas Marsh. As the parish grew, the small wooden church became too small and worn to continue; Rev Boultbee led the parish to raise funds and collect materials to build a new stone church. The cornerstone was laid on 25 July 1878, and construction continued throughout the rest of the year, with Bishop Thomas Fuller leading the dedication service on 29 December 1878. Consecration occurred in 1881 when the debt was paid off in the new building. Renovations took place in 1921, increasing the size of the chancel to allow for the installation of a new organ; a basement was dug under the church at the same time, allowing for a small parish hall to be built. A new electric organ and lighting were installed in 1930, and the first memorial stained glass window to the parish’s war dead was installed. Plans were drawn up for a new parish hall in 1958, although construction would not commence until 1972, and the new hall opened a year later. The new hall provided a larger church hall, kitchen, offices, classrooms and a sacristy. The new building also provided space where a drop-in youth program for the venerable in the community could seek safety and counselling starting in 1984. In 2009, a new audio/visual system and an electronic organ were installed in the sanctuary. A digital carillon system replaced the old bell and allowed for the sound of the parish bell to ring out over the downtown once again. Today the church remains a valued community member with its ongoing youth programs and various counselling services in person and online.
The location of St. George’s made it a little challenging to photograph. Located on a hill, there were no clear sight lines from the street level. Also, because of the heavy trees over the entire property, I had to be careful about where I placed the camera. While I’m not completely happy with the composition, I had little choice in where to place the camera. Going with the 125mm to maximize the space I had to work with, I cut out a part of the chancel to catch the historic section of the church and square bell tower. I am happy with the exposure, considering I worked with hard light that day and chose to expose for the shadows rather than averaging things between the highlights and shadows.
If you wish to worship with this congregation, they will be happy to welcome you! Please check out the congregational website for details on attending services worship either in-person on online streaming!