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 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.

Cathedral Church of St. Luke, Portland, Maine

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.”

Saint John the Baptist Church, Brunswick, Maine

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.”

First Parish Church, Portland, Maine

With roots dating back to 1674, First Parish Church, a Unitarian Universalist congregation, is the oldest house of worship in Portland. The current structure, designed by shipbuilder and architect John Mussey, was completed in 1826 of granite from nearby Freeport and is built in the Federalist style. The church has gone to great lengths to keep the original design intact and using only replacements that are as close to the originals as possible. Much like the congregation’s careful attention to maintaining Mussey’s design, the First Parish Church continues its mission to: “nurture the spirit, grow in community and help heal the world.”

First Parish Church, Brunswick, Maine

Founded in 1717, First Parish Church’s current structure, completed in 1846 and designed by architect Richard Upjohn, is a radical departure from the traditional congregational church design that preceded it. The Gothic Revival design sparked a major shift from “puritan simplicity” that would spread across the country. The Christian Monitor wrote, “It is something of a novelty…yet there is an air of dignity and repose about the whole building, exceedingly appropriate to a Christian temple.”

The Church’s ground-breaking design also acts a metaphor for its many times forward thinking parish. From its inception, First Parish Church had been a place of discussion, debate and reflection. From providing support to the Continental Congress to debating the separation of Maine from Massachusetts to the inspiring moment when Harriet Beecher Stowe on March 2, 1851 in pew 23 envisioned the book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which portrayed the evils of slavery, these intangible fragments of First Parish Church’s heritage reflects some of the pinnacle moments in U.S. history.

St. Peter’s by the Sea, Cape Neddick, Maine

Nestled on top of Christian Hill within a densely wooded area of Cape Neddick, which overlooks the Gulf of Maine, resides St. Peter’s by the Sea. Built on the location where open air church services had been held during the summers since 1850, this Episcopal chapel continues the tradition. Consecrated in 1898, the rustic stone and wood structure is built in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, which draws upon 11th and 12th century southern French, Spanish and Italian Romanesque architecture. Its location is intentional, as the family who bequeathed the land and funded St. Peter’s construction wanted the Church’s cross to be visible to the fishermen at sea.

Our Lady Queen of Peace, Boothbay Harbor, Maine

Providing a haven for the Catholic community on the Boothbay Peninsula, Our Lady Queen of Peace has been home to year-round residents as well as seasonal visitors since its dedication in 1926. Its founding parish was a historic mix of immigrants, artists, servants, fishermen, merchants and builders. Stained glass windows honor many of the early families who nurtured Catholic presence in the region.

Inspired by the reliance upon the surrounding sea, its interior takes the shape of an inverted ship’s hull, a symbol of protection. Our Lady’s prominent location near the water provides not only a magnificent view of Boothbay Harbor, but also serves as a beacon for sailors, fisherman and the surrounding community.