The roots of the Providence Friends Meeting leads back to the summer of 1657 when The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) arrived into the harbor of Newport, Rhode Island. While Quakers do not believe that meeting for worship necessarily requires a special place, Providence Monthly Meeting was established in 1718 and due to the growth of the Quaker community in the area, a meeting house was established. Its current building, completed in 1953, reflects the philosophy of a Quaker Meeting House with its absence of liturgical symbols and simplicity of design. While it should be noted that the Quakers were not initially welcomed in Rhode Island, they did not face the persecutions that occurred in the neighboring state of Massachusetts. It is with great reverence that the Providence Monthly Meeting congregation firmly believes that, “In keeping with our belief that there is that of God in every person, Providence Monthly Meeting welcomes all persons regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, race or color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability”.
Organized in 1908, Saint George Cathedral is the first Albanian Orthodox Church in the United States and the largest Orthodox Christian house of worship in the state of Massachusetts. First established in response to the growing local Albanian community who began immigrating to the Boston area in 1886, its current structure was built in 1872 and designed by Boston architect Samuel J.F. Thayer in the Gothic Revival style to originally house the Second Hawes Congregational Church. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building was obtained in 1949 by the Albanian Orthodox Archdiocese of the Orthodox Church in America. Now comprised of worshippers from diverse origins and backgrounds, the parish continues its mission to “address contemporary issues at home and in society to find personal salvation in the Living God”.
Founded in 2009, the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center is a mosque and community center located in the heart of Roxbury. Drawing over 1,500 worshipers from over 64 ethnicities for its Friday prayer services, the ISBCC’s mission is to teach and to live Islam in America. Under the leadership of its senior Imam, all of the mosque’s programming is executed through the prism of the “Four Prophetic Spheres” of Knowledge, Lived Spirituality, Community, and Service.
Formed in 1851, the Cathedral Church of St. Luke was chosen to be the cathedral church for the Episcopal Diocese of Maine in 1866. Its current structure, built in the Gothic Revival style, was designed by Charles Coolidge Haight and completed in 1868. The sanctuary, with its quintessential Gothic Revival elements such as vaulted ceilings and high pointed arches throughout, reflects the philosophical thought associated with Anglo-Catholicism. The parish is particularly fond of the following sanctuary components: the Wright Memorial Rose Window Array (1898) installed above the altar and attributed to the Whitefriars Glass Company; the Incarnation Reredos & High Altar Assembly (1925), designed by Ralph Adams Cram and sculpted by Ernest G. Pellegrini; and the Cathedral’s organ which was designed by Ernest M. Skinner and installed in 1925. Following in the path of modern Episcopalianism, the Cathedral Church of St. Luke’s mission is “to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Jesus Christ.”
Founded in 1869, the Cathedral of Saint Paul has served as the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester since 1950, when the Diocese was established in the city. Its current grand structure, built in the Gothic Revival style, was designed by Elbridge Boyden & Son and completed in 1874. Important events within Saint Paul’s life are narrated within ten monumental stained glass windows located in the sanctuary and nave. The Cathedral of Saint Paul was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
Gathered in 1785, the First Unitarian Church of Worcester, Massachusetts was formed by a group of 54 “free thinkers” who left Worcester-based First Parish Church under the leadership of their pastor, Dr. Aaron Bancroft, in a quest to celebrate freedom of belief and religious expression that would help define Unitarian doctrine in the United States. The Church’s current Federal style structure, built in 1850, was designed by Sidney Mason Stone and was inspired by the Center Church on-the-Green in New Haven, Connecticut. Following in the footsteps of its founders, the First Unitarian Church continues, “to preserve the freedom of each of us to determine for ourselves what we believe and how we should live. We are open to the wisdom of world religions. We welcome and honor diversity of belief, culture, lifestyle, and political view as a source of strength.”
Organized in 1838, Church of the Redeemer, United Church of Christ is the fourth congregational church in New Haven. Originally named Chapel Street Congregational Church, it was formed after there was dissent at the Third Congregational Church when a new minister would not accept the “New Haven Theology” of Nathaniel Taylor who founded the church. Taylor rejected the idea of determinism in which God alone was responsible for all activities in the universe. He felt this was immoral because it contradicts the notions of freedom and choice, and thought God not immoral. In 1920, the church moved to its present location and its Federal style main sanctuary was added in 1951—appropriately reflecting Taylor’s ideas. Building upon the philosophical tenets of Nathaniel Taylor, the Church of the Redeemer strives to be an, “inclusive community committed to the worship of God, the work of justice, and the recognition of our common humanity in the struggles of life.”
Founded in 1877, Saint John the Baptist Church was created to serve the French Canadian population in Brunswick and the surrounding area. Designed by Charles R. Greco of Boston, Massachusetts, the church’s current Gothic Revival style structure was completed in 1927. Of particular note are the murals by Giovanni Prampolini depicting Christian symbolism and iconography that reside on the walls and ceiling of the sanctuary. The stained glass windows designed by Zettler Studios of New York complement the paintings, illustrating symbols and stories from the New Testament. The parishioners of Saint John the Baptist Church take great pride in their church, as it “represents the commitment, faith, generosity, and hard work of generations of Catholic people from the greater Brunswick area.”
Formed in 1948, Trinity Lutheran Church is the result of the merger of three nearby parishes: First Evangelical Lutheran Church (1881), Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church (1900) and Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church (1921). Designed by architect and World War I pilot Jens Frederick Larson, Trinity’s structure is inspired by both New England’s traditional architecture and Scandinavian church design, as many of the founding parishioners were of Swedish descent. The sanctuary’s cream colored brick walls include Norman arches supported by limestone columns, allowing for 800 parishioners to be seated in the church’s oak pews at one time. Both natural light and Swedish designed chandeliers in the form of clustered leaves illuminate the nave of the sanctuary. While the flooring of the nave is made of slate from the Green Mountains of Vermont, the ceiling has 128 marvelously painted oak panels depicting both the Old and New Testament by artist Arthur Covey. With the architectural remnants from the congregation’s earlier houses of worship within the chancel of the sanctuary, it is only fitting that a plaque mounted on the church’s wall reads, “This church was erected to the Glory of God and in memory of those pioneers of the nineteenth century who here, sought a new home, bringing with them little, save their faith in God and their trust in America.”
Established in 1834, St. John’s Catholic Church is the oldest Catholic church in Worcester. Its current structure, designed by architect P.W. Ford in the Greek Revival style, was built in 1845 to house its 2,000 parishioners. Inside, however, the sanctuary is designed in the Romanesque Revival style with its notable simplified arches. The Church’s spiritual mission is “to combine the corporal and spiritual works of mercy and daily acts of charity for all”. Since its earliest days, St. John’s has reached out to serve the poor. With providing such programs as free meals to more than 1,000 people monthly, it is evident that the parishioners’ charge has not waned from its beginnings.