St. Mary’s Whitechapel

St Mary's WhiteChapel
Couldn’t walk around in DC during the inauguration, this seemed like a fallback. I’d been told that George Washington’s mother, Mary Ball, went to church here, a quick internet search didn’t provide confirmation, but she was born in this parish.

Near Lancaster, at the corner of White Chapel Road (Route 201) and River Road (Route 354) a mile from the Rappahannock River, is St. Mary’s Whitechapel, where an Anglican chapel of ease has stood at the site since the 1650s. President James Monroe’s grandfather was the builder of this structure. This parish also has a long association with the Ball family. The current Episcopal church, which dates to the eighteenth century, is a striking rectangular building with a hip roof, and the Flemish bond brickwork shows signs of significant repairs and alterations over the years. Inside, a gallery installed in the south end of the building was paid for privately by the Ball family for their own use in the 1740s. The one-piece baptismal font dates from 1718. The lovely church stands among numerous tall trees near the ancient graveyard at 5940 White Chapel Road, Lancaster. More history of the church and visitor information is available at www.stmaryswhitechapel.org and an information kiosk at the site.–George Washington’s Virginia– John R Maass

Coragyps atratus duo

I find vultures in their contemplative mode particularly companionable. Hanging out with vultures is not threatening like being sized up by a large alligator. Sure, vultures are carrion birds, but until you are carrion, they are good company. They are quiet. They stretch their wings. They are expert at finding the best seats in the house.