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Glossary: chancel railing or rail

The low railing which in many United Methodist churches separates the chancel from the remainder of the worship sanctuary or room. Generally it is constructed in such a way as to include a kneeling bench along its entire length. It is common practice in many United Methodist churches for the worshipers to come forward and kneel at the chancel railing to receive Holy Communion. The chancel railing is also sometimes referred to as the altar. When persons are invited to come forward to the altar for prayer or special observances, it is to the chancel railing, not the communion table, that they come.

Source: A Dictionary for United Methodists, Alan K. Waltz, Copyright 1991, Abingdon Press. Used by permission.