Grace Episcopal Church, New Bedford, Massachusetts

Incorporated in 1834, the establishment of Grace Episcopal Church was met with distrust and suspicion due to the association of the Tories with the Episcopal church in post-Revolutionary War New Bedford. With courage and determination, the Grace Church persevered and its parish grew due to the changing economy within New Bedford, as manufacturing slowly replaced the whaling industry in the 19th century drawing more Episcopalians to the community. Built in 1881, the church’s current structure was designed in the High Victorian Gothic style by the architects Ware and Van Brunt of Boston. In 1987, a fire was set, which destroyed the interior of the church. Shortly afterwards, Grace Church adopted the Phoenix as a symbol of its rebirth when it undertook the four years of rebuilding. Perhaps the Phoenix may also serve as a testament to the church’s ability to persevere despite adversities since its first days serving the New Bedford community.

St. Joseph the Worker Shrine, Lowell, Massachusetts

With roots dating back to 1868, St. Joseph the Worker Shrine, which opened in 1956, was originally established to serve the spiritual needs of Lowell’s French Canadian working class population. A focal point within the interior is the St. Joseph Stained Glass Window series, which celebrates in-part, Jesus’s legal father, the patron saint of workers. Stained glass panels also found within the sanctuary acknowledge the various trades and professions that have contributed to the development of Lowell. Originally built for the Unitarian Society in 1850, the church’s structure has gone through a series of transformations to accommodate up to 550 worshippers at a given time. Today, the church seeks to be a haven for all.

Transfiguration of Our Saviour Greek Orthodox Church, Lowell, Massachusetts

The Transfiguration of Our Saviour Greek Orthodox Church was founded in 1924 to serve the liturgical needs of the growing Greek immigrant population in Lowell, a thriving mill town. It’s current structure was completed in 1956 through the generosity of 200 families. Nevertheless, it would be another thirty-six years for the interior to be complete with its beautiful mosaic iconography that includes both male and female saints by New England artist Robert J. Andrews who began the project in 1963. The interior is considered one of Andrews’s masterworks.

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.

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.”

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.

St. Catherine Greek Orthodox Church, Braintree, Massachusetts

Officially formed on October 23, 1960, St. Catherine Greek Orthodox Church grew out of a need to serve the growing Greek Orthodox population in the southern and western parts of Boston. Its current brick Byzantine style structure, completed in 2008, includes a church, school and community center. Named after St. Catherine, who is known for her deep-rooted faith in Christianity and a noted scholar of the arts and sciences, the church upholds Greek Orthodox tradition with its design principles and decorative program.

Trinity United Methodist Church, Springfield, Massachusetts

With roots dating back to 1791, Trinity United Methodist Church in Springfield, Massachusetts considers itself a “Community Cathedral” dedicated to worship, learning and recreation. Completed in 1929, its current structure is built in the Gothic Revival style, designed by Boston firm Allen and Collens. The Church takes great pride in its stained glass windows, which are designed by Wilbur Herbert Burnham (1887-1974) of Boston. Of particular note is the Rose Window, located at the rear of the nave, presenting Burnham’s interpretation of Psalm 150, which encourages people to rejoice in God with music and dance. At the center of the window, a cross and crown of Christ are depicted to symbolize victory through sacrifice. With this in mind, it is not surprising that the Church’s mission is to “celebrate God’s love, nurture relationships with God and one another, and serve our community and world as we share the light of Christ”.