About

Welcome to Christ Church, Georgetown, a historic and vibrant community of faith in the heart of the nation’s capital. For nearly 200 years, the people of Christ Church have sought to be a body through which the light of Christ is seen, his life shared, and his work done. Defining characteristics of the parish may be found in…

Worship: Reverent, dignified, beautiful worship that is deeply rooted in the rich liturgical heritage of The Book of Common Prayer and enhanced by a choral tradition of exceptional quality. The spiritual life of Christ Church is grounded in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist and strengthened by a continuous pattern of Morning, Noonday, and Evening Prayer throughout the week.

Education: A comprehensive approach to Christian formation for parishioners of all ages. Christ Church has a talented, full-time Youth Missioner, a team of truly gifted Sunday School teachers, a wide-ranging complement of adult education opportunities, including a Sunday morning forum that addresses issues of faith at a university level of scholarship.

Parish Life: A warm, affectionate community and a deep well of pastoral care that has been built-up over many years. A network of small groups was recently established across the city and surrounding suburbs to provide parishioners with additional opportunities for fellowship, discussion, and other activities, such as community service and faith formation.

Outreach: An absolute commitment to Christian mission in the wider community - in Georgetown, throughout Washington, across the nation, and overseas. Christ Church provides significant financial support to some 20 mission partners. Over 100 parishioners regularly engage in outreach work, particularly feeding ministries, with the homeless population of Washington, DC.

Each week, we greet each other at the door of the church, at the Peace, and during Coffee Hour. We embrace our friends and exchange handshakes with strangers - those of like mind and those with whom we profoundly disagree. Repeated again and again down the months and years, these greetings become warmer and warmer. They are exchanged with more and more people until all are greeted and all are known. These greetings are made with the very same hands we lift up to receive the Bread of Life at the altar each week and, in this act, our hands show our hearts and minds the way.

What binds us here goes well beyond the differences between us: race, class, gender, politics, intellect, or any of the other things that distinguish us one from the other. Our hands know the priority of grace and so our hearts and minds are able to learn it also. If we receive the Living Christ in our hands each week and seek to do his will, then we are already brothers and sisters and, of course, always and forever, children of the same Father. In this, we share a bond that makes all our differences secondary.

 

History

Christ Church was organized in 1817 as the fourth Episcopal congregation in the portion of the District of Columbia ceded by Maryland. At that time, the District of Columbia also included territory ceded by Virginia. Christ Church broke away from Saint John's Church in Georgetown, whose Rector's inclinations did not match the stronger evangelical ardor of most of his congregation, including Francis Scott Key. They called Reuel Keith as their first Rector and immediately became involved in the movement which eventually resulted in the Virginia Theological Seminary at a time when the idea of a local seminary (as opposed to the General Theological Seminary in New York City) was considered radical.

Christ Church was an independent congregation in Georgetown Parish until 1875 when it became Christ Church Parish with its own metes and bounds. These were and are Rock Creek to the east, Wisconsin Avenue to the west, M Street to the south, and R Street to the north. The present church building dates from 1885 and is the third on the site, replacing earlier ones of 1818 and 1866. It is a particularly fine example of the Victorian gothic idiom. Its architecture and iconography stress the catholic traditions that are part of the Anglican identity, an emphasis important to the Rector at the time, Albert Rhett Stuart, which had not previously characterized Christ Church. Most of the founding families at Christ Church had southern Maryland associations, and a definitive southern orientation became increasingly strong during and after the Civil War.

In the second half of the 19th century, the identity of Christ Church was strongly linked to the old Georgetown families who comprised the bulk of its membership. This changed steadily throughout the 20th century as the parish membership became more diverse and was drawn from throughout the Washington metropolitan area.

Today, Christ Church is a community of roughly 1,300 people. Sunday and weekday worship is at the center of the parish's life. The liturgy is supported and enhanced by a fine choral tradition. Christian education for children, youth, and adults, opportunities for spiritual growth, and outreach to the wider community are key to the mission and ministry, work and witness of the parish.