Church of the Redeemer UCC, New Haven, Connecticut

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.”

Congregation Mishkan Israel, Hamden, Connecticut

Founded in 1840, Congregation Mishkan Israel is the oldest Jewish congregation in Connecticut. The Congregation’s current building, which includes a religious school, was designed by Fritz Nathan and Bertram Bassuk in the Modernist style and completed in 1960. The main sanctuary includes an extraordinary ark designed by Ben Shahn, which represents the Ten Commandments in mosaic tile, reminiscent of an illuminated manuscript. Adjoining the ark on both sides are abstracted twenty-five foot high stained glass windows containing shards of blue and purple hues and the names of twelve prophets—six historical and six modern. Since its founding, the Congregation has been committed to serving the community with its liberal religious thought and social activism—especially in the struggle for Civil Rights.

Trinity Lutheran Church, New Haven, Connecticut

Organized in 1865, Trinity Lutheran Church in New Haven is the oldest Lutheran congregation in Connecticut. Its structure is regarded as one of New Haven’s finest examples of High Victorian Gothic, an eclectic architectural style of the mid to late 19th century. Designed by David Russell Brown for the Church of the Redeemer, the building was constructed in 1870 and has been occupied by Trinity since 1916. The sanctuary retains its late 19th century Victorian style. At the front of the church above the altar resides a large stained glass window referencing the rose, which is considered the unofficial symbol of the congregation. With such amenities as a classroom and bowling alley, the church strives to be a beacon or community center for “uniting all people in a common bond of Christian fellowship.”

First Presbyterian Church, Stamford, Connecticut

Founded in 1854, the First Presbyterian Church commissioned noted architect Wallace K. Harrison in 1953 to design its present structure. Harrison was both a contributing architect and coordinator of such major public buildings as the United Nations, Rockefeller Center and Lincoln Center. The structure, which was completed in 1958, is thought to be one of the finest examples of religious modern architecture along with those designed by Le Corbusier, Philip Johnson and Frank Lloyd Wright. Its reinforced concrete and stained glass walls are formed from more than 20,000 individual chunks of inch-thick glass – a stained glass technique called “dalle de verre“. The stained glass design on the right side of the church’s sanctuary suggests the story of the crucifixion and on the left, the story of the resurrection. The windows in the narthex or rear of the church displays symbols of communion and peace. Although not intentional, the church’s sanctuary has been likened to the form of a fish in both profile and floor plan – a symbol used in early Christianity.

Center Church on the Green, New Haven, Connecticut

Organized by Puritans in 1639 as the First Society of New Haven, Center Church on the Green is the congregation’s fourth meeting house site. Commonly referred to as Center Church, The First Church of Christ in New Haven was designed in the Federal style by renowned architect Ithiel Town and built between 1812-1814. Refined woodwork and historic enclosed pews are washed in light from the two rows of large windows flanking the sanctuary, which added warmth to the previously unheated space. The distinctive Tiffany stained glass window illustrates New Haven founder Rev. John Davenport preaching his first sermon to the first English settlers, who viewed the locale as the New Jerusalem on Long Island Sound.

North Guilford Congregational Church, Guilford, Connecticut

Established in 1719, the North Guilford Congregational Church is the oldest continually used church in the town of Guilford. Considered to be one of Connecticut’s outstanding Federal style churches, its present structure was designed and built by local architect Abraham Coan between 1812 and 1814. The church was among the first to adopt a “square body” meetinghouse layout versus the traditional axial design with an elongated nave. Ornamented by a single Palladian window, its evenly-lit subdued interior embodies the nature of endeavoring equality sought within Congregational worship.

Trinity Episcopal Church on the Green, New Haven, Connecticut

Formed in 1723, the parish of Trinity Episcopal Church on the Green is known for having a major influence on introducing the notion of the separation of church and state to the colonies. Trinity’s current structure, completed in 1816 by architect Ithiel Town, is the first Gothic Revival Style church built in North America. With its towering gilded columns, red and green interior palette, and remarkable stained glass windows, its ornamental design reaffirms its historical associations with the Church of England.

St. John’s Episcopal Church, North Guilford, Connecticut

Desiring a place of worship more unified with the Church of England’s traditions, a dissident group of mainly lumbermen broke away from the North Guilford Congregational Church in Connecticut to form St. John’s Episcopal Church in 1747. A testament to the sentiment that time mends all wounds, 75 years later, the North Guilford Congregational Church donated the adjacent land where the parish of St. John’s Episcopal Church now assembles. Built in 1812, the reserved structure epitomizes early New England church architecture with its simple white exterior and prominent, central steeple. The neutral interior palette evokes notions of purity and stability, personifying its noble yet modest existence for more than two and half centuries.

The First Congregational Church of Madison, Connecticut

Prominently located on Madison’s town green, the First Congregational Church of Madison, Connecticut serves as a testament to its community’s rich 300-year history. Built in the Federal style in 1838, the church resides at its third site—having served dually as a place of worship and a venue for local town meetings until 1897 when a new town hall was built. Remarkably pristine, the restrained use of color accentuates the bold Federal architectural design, signifying the church’s autonomous stance.