Altar Rail

Scripture   |   Tradition  |   Reason

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Sanctuary Chancel - Showing Altar Rail With Gate Open
 
Altar rails are a set of railings, sometimes ornate and frequently of marble or wood, delimiting the chancel in a church, the part of the sanctuary that contains the altar. A gate at the center divides the rail into two parts.
 
The altar rail can be seen as the division between the secular (the congregation) and the holy (the chancel), between mortal life and eternal life. Thus, the rail can be seen as death, the dividing line between Earth and Heaven.
 
Rails are a feature of Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Methodist churches. 

Kneeling Cushions

Directly in front of the Altar Rail are Eucharistic Kneeling Cushions on which each communicant kneels, if desired, to receive communion.
 
 
 
This small kneeler is placed in front of the altar gate once the gate has been closed during the Offertory and joins the other two kneelers for use by communicants during the Eucharist.