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.”

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.

Saylesville Meetinghouse, Lincoln, Rhode Island

Built in 1704 and expanded in 1745, the Saylesville Meetinghouse has been in continuous use as a gathering place for the Quakers for over 300 years. The modest design of the meetinghouse emulates the 18th century Quakers’ mandate for simplicity and plainness—allowing for clarity in purpose and desire so that one may “Walk cheerfully over the earth answering that of God in every person”.

Gosport Chapel, Star Island, Isles of Shoals, New Hampshire

Gosport Chapel is part of the non-profit Star Island Corporation retreat complex, founded on the spiritual ideals of Unitarian-Universalism and the United Church of Christ. The rustic island-based retreat located seven miles off the shores of New Hampshire offers a community-oriented, multi-generational environment for personal reflection and rejuvenation. Gosport Chapel, a modest stone structure built in 1800, sits on the highest point of the island and is at the heart of the complex. As part of a Star Island tradition at the end of each retreat day, participants gather at the foot of the hill and form a procession up a long winding path carrying candle lanterns to the chapel. Inside, the candle lanterns are hung on the wall, providing the only source of light for the evening service.