St. George’s Episcopal Church, Durham, New Hampshire

While Episcopalians had met in homes to worship in the town of Durham since the 1880s, St. George’s Episcopal Church was not formally organized until 1948. Members of the community and the diocese contributed and gathered funds to build its current structure, which was dedicated in 1954. Combining modesty with elegance, architect John Carter merges Gothic elements and the Episcopal tradition with modernist design, winning the Church Architectural Guild of America “Best Small Church” design award in 1955.

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. 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.”

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.

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.”

Trinity Church, Newport, Rhode Island

Founded in about 1698, Trinity Church is the oldest Episcopal parish in Rhode Island. Inspired by Sir Christopher Wren’s London church designs of the late 17th century, Trinity’s structure was designed by local builder Richard Munday and constructed between the years 1725 and 1726. Built entirely of wood, this Georgian style church is believed to have the only remaining freestanding three-tiered, center-aisle chalice-shaped pulpit in America today. The placement of the pulpit confirms the significance of the sermon during Colonial times and it is where it continues to be held at Trinity. With this in mind, it is not surprising that Trinity Church’s mission states in-part that, “Our historic church is a living beacon calling all for worship, fellowship, and growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord.”

Emmanuel Church, Newport, Rhode Island

Formed in 1841 by three women who wanted to make the Episcopalian faith available to all who wished to attend, Emmanuel Church began with humble “cottage meetings” in local homes, which had quickly grown to eighty-eight parishioners by 1849. In 1855, the first structure was built to house the Emmanuel Church, and as the parish grew, a new and more permanent building was erected in 1901 and completed in 1902. Designed by Ralph Adams Cram of the architectural firm, Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson, its current stone structure is built in the Gothic Revival style referencing the shape of a Latin cross. At the front of the church above the choir seats are oak carvings of faces that represent people of all ages, means and abilities—symbolizing the entire community the church wishes to serve. Through its fervent mission of being accessible to all, Emmanuel Church has become known as “the Church of the people” where the “rich and poor, high and low, great and humble—all worship and work together as friends.”

All Saints Memorial Church, Providence, Rhode Island

Founded in 1846, All Saints Memorial Church is the largest Episcopal church building in the state of Rhode Island. Designed by architect Edward Tuckerman Potter, the Gothic style structure was completed in 1872 as a memorial to the Right Reverend John P.K. Henshaw, who was the fourth bishop of Rhode Island. The eighteen lancet windows on the sides and rear of the 135 foot long sanctuary are a mixture of memorial windows and series depicting the life of Christ. At the front of the church above the altar is the 38 foot tall stained glass window, which portrays the resurrected Christ. The inscription at the bottom of the window reads, “Behold He Cometh!”

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.

The Cathedral of St. John, Providence, Rhode Island

Sunday worship services at The Cathedral of St. John were suspended in spring 2012 due to surmounting repairs and a decreasing parishioner base. Protective plastic now wraps its windows, pews and lectern where sermons had been delivered since the Federal style structure with Gothic details was built over 200 years ago in 1810. Silence now replaces the voices of the choir. The Waterford chandelier no longer shines upon the congregation. Named the official seat for the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island in 1929, The Cathedral of St. John has deep roots in Providence. Originally organized in 1722 as King’s Church, nearly three centuries ago, its future is now uncertain.