A Walking Tour of Newport’s Historic Houses of Worship

First Freedom Open House

Thursday, July 4th, 2019

A celebration of America’s first freedom
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….”

Visit more than a dozen historic houses of worship. Learn how the building or congregation symbolize Newport’s commitment to freedom of religion and religious diversity.

Participants include: Channing Unitarian, First Presbyterian, Mt. Zion AME, Newport Congregational, St. John the Evangelist Episcopal, St. Joseph’s Catholic, St. Paul’s United Methodist, Touro Synagogue, Trinity Episcopal, and United Baptist. Newport Historical Society (NHS) is also opening two Colonial-era “meeting houses” – the Great Friends Meeting House (Quaker) and the 7th Day Baptist Meeting House.

The open house tour is free of charge. The event is sponsored by “Four Faiths, Four Landmarks,” an organization that offers a seasonal walking tour of four historic houses of worship, and is made possible by generous support from Discover Newport as well as the participating houses of worship.

Channing Memorial Unitarian Church
135 Pelham Street
Open 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Building honors William Ellery Channing and features stained glass by John LaFarge and others
First Presbyterian Church
4 Everett St. (Corner of Everett & Broadway)
Open 11:00 am to 3:00 pm
RI’s oldest Presbyterian church has 60 magnificent stained glass windows in a beautiful stone structure
Great Friends Meeting House
21 Farewell St.
Open 10:00 am to 12:00 noon
The oldest standing house of worship in Rhode Island, built in 1699
Mount Zion AME Church
101 Van Zandt Ave. (Corner of Tilley & Van Zandt)
Open 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
The oldest African American church in Newport with a specific denominational affiliation.
Newport Congregational Church
73 Pelham St.
Open 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Built in 1857 and featuring artwork by renowned painter/stained glass artist John LaFarge
St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church
61 Washington St.
Open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Beautiful stained glass windows adorn an impressive stone church founded by people of modest means

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church
5 Mann Ave. (Corner of Broadway & Mann)
Open 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Newport’s second Catholic parish moved to this stunning building on Broadway in 1912
St. Paul’s United Methodist Church
12 Marlborough St.
Open 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm
Believed to be the first Methodist church in the world with a steeple and a bell
Seventh Day Baptist Meeting House
82 Touro St. (enter on Barney St.)
Open 10:00 am to 12:00 noon
One of the first 7th Day Baptist meeting houses in America, built in 1730
Touro Synagogue
72 Touro St. (enter 52 Spring St.)
Open 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Oldest synagogue in America; designed by Peter Harrison, America’s first great architect
Trinity Episcopal Church
141 Spring St.
Open 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Oldest Episcopal parish in Rhode Island; current church built in 1726 by master builder Richard Munday
United Baptist Church
30 Spring St.
Open 10:00 am to 12:00 noon
The original settlers of Aquidneck Island established a church under the leadership of John Clarke.


Some of the historic buildings near Washington Square will be open during Newport’s annual 4th of July community celebration, while others will open or remain open after the community events end at noon. The annual 4th on the Square includes music, activities, the annual reading of the Declaration of Independence from the place it was read in July of 1776, and a 21-gun cannon salute by the Newport Artillery Company using four Paul Revere cannon

For Information Phone: (401) 871-0338    |    Tours: June 17, July 15, August 19, September 16, 2019