Trinity Church, Newport, Rhode Island

Founded in about 1698, Trinity Church is the oldest Episcopal parish in Rhode Island. Inspired by Sir Christopher Wren’s London church designs of the late 17th century, Trinity’s structure was designed by local builder Richard Munday and constructed between the years 1725 and 1726. Built entirely of wood, this Georgian style church is believed to have the only remaining freestanding three-tiered, center-aisle chalice-shaped pulpit in America today. The placement of the pulpit confirms the significance of the sermon during Colonial times and it is where it continues to be held at Trinity. With this in mind, it is not surprising that Trinity Church’s mission states in-part that, “Our historic church is a living beacon calling all for worship, fellowship, and growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord.”

The First Baptist Church in America, Providence, Rhode Island

Gathered by Roger Williams in 1638, The First Baptist Church in America is the first and longest running Baptist church congregation in the United States. The present home of the First Baptist Church is currently housed in its third building. Completed in 1775, the structure’s architectural style combines Georgian with the traditional New England meetinghouse style with its plain walls, clear glass windows, and dominant pulpit. The lack of religious symbols follows iconoclastic Baptist thought, which regard all symbols, even the cross, as icons and idols. It is the first Baptist meetinghouse to have a steeple and bell in an effort by eighteenth century Baptist advocates to bring greater respectability and recognition to their faith. Roger Williams, the founder of this church and a significant campaigner for religious freedom, was in-part responsible for Rhode Island being a unique haven for religious liberty in the seventeenth century.