First Unitarian Church, New Bedford, Massachusetts

Established in 1708, the First Unitarian Church has maintained a history of tolerance, social responsibility, and spiritual exploration despite shifting ideologies since its inception. The Church’s granite Gothic style structure, built in 1838, was designed by architects Alexander Jackson Davis and Russell Warren. A highlight within the sanctuary is a large 1911 Favrile glass mural by Frederick Wilson prominently displayed behind the pulpit depicting a pilgrim traveling along a narrow treacherous mountain path. Behind him is an angel guiding him on his journey through the increasingly difficult terrain. Perhaps the mural serves as a gentle reminder that guidance, support, and understanding are necessary for all journeying through life regardless of disposition.

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.

Dover Friends Meetinghouse, Dover, New Hampshire

Built in 1768, the Dover Friends Meetinghouse is the oldest surviving 18th century Quaker meetinghouse in the state of New Hampshire. The Quaker movement in Dover began with the arrival of three Quaker English women missionaries in 1662. Met with strong resistance from Puritan officials, they persevered establishing a congregation in 1680. The Dover Religious Society of Friends’ current meetinghouse and their two previous meetinghouses, have not only been used for religious gatherings, but have served as a meeting place for such social and political activities as the plight against slavery. The congregation aspires to continue this practice “on behalf of peace and nonviolence, social, racial, and sexual equality; simplicity and honesty; and, in recent years, environmental awareness.”

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.

The First Church, Nashua, New Hampshire

Gathered in 1685 with Thomas Weld as minister, The First Church was first known as The Church of Christ in Dunstable. It is the fifth oldest church in New Hamphsire. First Church’s current Romanesque-style structure, built in 1894, is the congregtion’s 10th building, which is constructed of granite from nearby quarries in Marlboro, New Hampshire. An approachable statement on the church bulletin proclaims, “No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here”—affirming the church’s mission to welcome, unite and serve.

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.

First Parish Church Congregational, Dover, New Hampshire


Founded in 1633, First Parish Church is the oldest congregation in the state of New Hampshire. The church’s fifth home, is a Federal style brick structure, with steeple modeled after that of The First Religious Society of Newburyport, Massachusetts, was designed and built by Captain James Davis in 1829. The interior has undergone extensive changes since the building’s construction, the first in 1878 when the organ was moved to the front of the sanctuary, the box-style pews were removed, and the current arced slip pews were installed. In 1945, the side galleries were removed, a colonial-style chancel area built, and the pews and walls painted white. The exterior has undergone few changes since its construction. Donald Bryant, the author of The History of the First Parish Church, wrote that with all of the significant changes to the city of Dover since the church’s founding, “no buildings and no institutions [remain] except the First Parish Church. In the fabric of Dover’s history it continues as the single living thread that runs from the beginning to the present and will run unbroken into the future.”

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.

Conanicut Friends Meetinghouse, Jamestown, Rhode Island

The Conanicut Friends Meeting was established in 1684 due to the growing Quaker population in Jamestown. Built in 1786, the simple rectangular shingled meetinghouse was constructed after the original one was destroyed by the British in 1776. According to traditional practice, the Quakers worship in silence together. Though there may be elders in the facing benches to manage the service, there is no preacher, as members reach for “that of God” within them individually and only speak when they have something to share with the others. The meetinghouse provides physical remnants of past practices with its two separate entrances and two hinged wide-board partitions that could be lowered so that men and women would have the ability to have separate business meetings. In all of its simplicity, the intentionally plain and purposeful building acts as a testament to the philosophy and principles of the Quakers.