Why I love being a docent – and you will too!
We are the only downtown church that has docents or tour guides for our historical building. It is part of the church’s outreach to those come who from all over the world and choose to come here. And we have been doing the program for 40 years!
We do have the longest church history in the area so there are many stories available. I try to find out why our visitors are here – Colonial history? Civil War? Stained glass windows? The architecture? What about historical pictures – like this 1927 picture by Frances B. Johnston? Maybe, it is just a place to rest on a hot summer day. In the end, it is not how much you say but making a connection to that person for that short amount of time. While the focus is on the historical church, we emphasize that St. George’s history is still being made at the present time with all the programs the church has to offer.
In many historical sites you can’t touch the history. Hands off! However, when they walk into St. George’s on the 1849 floors and touch the pews they are connecting with generations that have gone before them. Yes, touch the windows, the plaques, the kneelers. We want people to participate in the history that is before them.
What does it take to be a docent? A love of the church, enthusiasm and willingness to come forward to meet and welcome visitors. Some people tell me they can’t be docents because they don’t know any of our history. We have you covered – we have a docent’s manual written by our own Craig Rains plus guides for the church and graveyard, a 15 minute walking tour when the docents aren’t here and even a website. And, yes, it is ok to respond “I don’t know” to a question. We have a congenial docent group who is gladly willing to help you out.
Typically a docent takes one 2-hour shift: 10-12 p.m. or 1 p.m.-3 p.m. on any day from Monday through Saturday during a week. We also have some docents who only exist as substitutes so they are not on the regular schedule. We try to fit you in.
We are always looking at new ways to expand the program. Last year we had an evening lecture about St. George’s role in the Civil War, and we helped out when the National Park system was here in December. We even learned to wave at the trolley which encouraged people to come visit after their tour.
Want to give it a try? Have a suggestion for a docent program? Contact Ben Hicks 540-373-4133, firstname.lastname@example.org