St. Anthony of Padua Church, New Bedford, Massachusetts

Founded in 1895, the St. Anthony of Padua Church was established to serve the needs of the growing French Canadian Catholic population in New Bedford. Its current structure, a Romanesque style church designed by Canadian architect Joseph Venne, was dedicated in 1912 after a ten-year construction period. Much of the church’s elaborate interior was done under the direction of Italian sculptor John Castagnoli, who was a resident of New Bedford. In 1952, a significant renovation was completed on the church’s interior under the guidance of Italian architect and artist Guido Nincheri, replacing the original pulpit, adding stained glass windows and paintings of each of the four evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Four times a year, the 5,000 light bulbs set in the arches and ceiling illuminate the beautifully ornate interior.

Conanicut Friends Meetinghouse, Jamestown, Rhode Island

The Conanicut Friends Meeting was established in 1684 due to the growing Quaker population in Jamestown. Built in 1786, the simple rectangular shingled meetinghouse was constructed after the original one was destroyed by the British in 1776. According to traditional practice, the Quakers worship in silence together. Though there may be elders in the facing benches to manage the service, there is no preacher, as members reach for “that of God” within them individually and only speak when they have something to share with the others. The meetinghouse provides physical remnants of past practices with its two separate entrances and two hinged wide-board partitions that could be lowered so that men and women would have the ability to have separate business meetings. In all of its simplicity, the intentionally plain and purposeful building acts as a testament to the philosophy and principles of the Quakers.

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Newcastle, Maine

Dedicated in 1883, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church is the first example of a cottage Gothic Revival style church in the United States. Designed by architect Henry Vaughan, the wood framed building is protected by a wooden shingle gabled roof and its exterior walls finished with half-timbered stucco, reminiscent of 15th century English architecture. The intricate stencil work found throughout the sanctuary, which was devised by Henry Vaughan and lovingly completed by his own hand, adorns the interior’s color scheme of primarily olive green and maroon and complements the fine stained woodwork throughout. The kneeling cushions, made by members and friends of the parish, and the numerous memorial plaques given in memory of many of its founders contribute to the sanctuary’s beauty. Tender details such as these found throughout St. Andrew’s reflect in-part the church’s mission to be a “Christ-centered, worshipping community of mutual concern and outreach, vivified by the breath of God, and living lives of gratitude and forgiveness.”

Finnish Congregational Church, South Thomaston, Maine

The Finnish Congregational Church was formally organized in 1921 in response to an influx of Finnish immigrants to the area between 1900 and 1920. The congregation’s building, built in the same year, is considered to be the first religious structure constructed by the Finnish community within Knox County. Built with salvaged materials, the primarily clapboard vernacular style structure with a tower and gable roof houses a charming and modest sanctuary finished throughout in tongue-and-groove paneling with a dining area and kitchen below for after-service gatherings and meals. Today, the Church continues in honor of its immigrant ancestors who “freely chose a new homeland, and transplanted the seed of the Finnish people to be assimilated within the American dream.”

Saint Mary–Saint Catherine of Siena Parish, Charlestown, Massachusetts

In 2006, the Saint Catherine of Siena parish joined nearby Saint Mary’s Church to form what is now known as Saint Mary–Saint Catherine of Siena Parish. Together they reside in the building that has housed the oldest Roman Catholic parish in Boston since its dedication in 1888, formerly known as Saint Mary’s Church. The Gothic style building designed by Patrick Keely includes: a beautifully ornate hammerbeam oak ceiling; stained glass windows by German-based company Franz Mayer & Co., which depict scenes from the New Testament; and powerful relief sculptures, Stations of the Cross, representing Jesus Christ on the day of his crucifixion that were created by the ecclesiastical sculptor, Joseph Sibbel. Together with the lessons of Jesus Christ found within the form and voice of the Church, the mission of Saint Mary–Saint Catherine of Siena Parish strives to be in-part “an intentionally inclusive community welcoming all of the many people who make up our diverse neighborhood.”

Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church, Rockland, Maine

In 1852, the first Episcopal service was held in Rockland, which led to the formation of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. The Church’s current structure was built in 1884 and designed by William Ralph Emerson in the Shingle style, which draws from both English and American Colonial style architecture and rejects the highly ornamental patterns of the Victorian era. The plastered textured walls with rustic posts and beams throughout the sanctuary reinforce the humble yet dignified architecture of Colonial America. Much like the pioneering spirit that comes to mind for many when seeing American Colonial style architecture, Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church has forged its own path with welcoming people from all walks of life and orientations into its home since its very beginning.

Old German Meeting House, Waldoboro, Maine

Built in 1772, the Old German Meeting House was the center of the German Lutheran community, who began immigrating to Waldoboro in 1740 at the invitation of Samuel Waldo, promising a better life. The austere two-and-a-half story clapboard building with gabled roof, which resides next to a burial ground, has been lovingly preserved by the German Protestant Society since 1810. Using only natural light from its many windows, the meeting house’s interior with its plastered walls painted a soft gray, remains largely intact with its original vernacular design containing a wood stove, organ, wooden box pews and a goblet-shaped pulpit. Today, the Old German Meeting House serves as a testament to the German community who helped establish the Waldoboro community.

St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Springfield, Massachusetts

In 1907, the community of St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral celebrated the formation of the church with its first Divine Liturgy. Formerly built for the Memorial Church in 1864, the parishoners of St. George Cathedral acquired its current structure in 1940 and transformed the Gothic Revival granite building designed by Richard Upjohn into their own house of worship. Named after Saint George, who is known as a liberator, defender and healer, the Church continues its mission in his name. The Church has welcomed Orthodox Christians and others from such places as Greece, Lebanon, Russia, Georgia and Romania, and now baptizes “children that are from the fourth and fifth generation born in this country”.

MIT Chapel, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Completed in 1955, the MIT Chapel is a non-denominational place of worship located on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Designed by architect Eero Saarinen, the modernist style cylinder-shaped brick structure has no windows in the sanctuary, except for a round skylight which casts daylight onto an unembellished marble altar. The reredos or altarpiece screen, designed by Harry Bertoia, is made of slim rods of brazed steel with joined crossplates that diffuse light throughout the chapel. Saarinen’s intimate space coupled with Bertoia’s gentle sculpture creates a tranquil reprieve for one to contemplate, reflect and reconsider.

Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Worcester, Massachusetts

Established in 1914, Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Cathedral is a center for spiritual worship to over 6,000 people in the Worcester area. Its current structure, consecrated on May 3, 1925, is designed with a Byzantine style influence. Following in the Greek Orthodox Christian tradition, the nave’s decorative program includes icons, murals and stained glass windows depicting the life of Jesus Christ and saints of the Greek Orthodox Church. The Cathedral is named after St. Spyridon (270-348), a simple farmer who would become a bishop, known for his unrelenting selflessness and his dedication to Christ and the Church. Saint Spyridon Cathedral is proud of its many ministries, from its emergency food assistance program to its education programs to its annual Grecian Festival, which serve both the parish and the greater Worcester community.