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”.

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”.

Saint George Cathedral, Boston, Massachusetts

Organized in 1908, Saint George Cathedral is the first Albanian Orthodox Church in the United States and the largest Orthodox Christian house of worship in the state of Massachusetts. First established in response to the growing local Albanian community who began immigrating to the Boston area in 1886, its current structure was built in 1872 and designed by Boston architect Samuel J.F. Thayer in the Gothic Revival style to originally house the Second Hawes Congregational Church. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building was obtained in 1949 by the Albanian Orthodox Archdiocese of the Orthodox Church in America. Now comprised of worshippers from diverse origins and backgrounds, the parish continues its mission to “address contemporary issues at home and in society to find personal salvation in the Living God”.