Celebrate the role of Newport’s historic religious communities in developing America’s commitment to Freedom of Religion.

In a special celebration of freedom of religion, thirteen of Newport’s historic houses of worship are offering a unique open house tour on the Fourth of July, 2017. The “First Freedom Open House Tour” offers the public an opportunity to visit some of America’s most significant houses of worship and historic congregations that have played an important role in the nation’s religious history.

Guides will be on hand to describe the building and the role the house of worship and its members played in Newport’s religious history. The event is free and open to the public.

The following houses of worship and historic buildings are participating in the Open House:

Channing Memorial Unitarian Church
135 Pelham Street
Open 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm
Building honors William Ellery Channing and features stained glass by John LaFarge and others
Community Baptist Church
50 Dr. Marcus Wheatland Blvd
Open 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm
1983 church building hosts one of America’s first black congregations, worshipping since 1780
Emmanuel Episcopal Church
42 Dearborn St
Open 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm
Known as “Church of the people,” where “rich and poor, high and low, great and humble” worshipped.
First Presbyterian Church
4 Everett St.
Open 12:00 noon to 4:00 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
Newport Congregational Church
73 Pelham St.
Open 10:00 am to 4:00 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 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm
Beautiful stained glass windows adorn an impressive stone church founded by people of modest means
St. Joseph’s Catholic Church
5 Mann Ave.
Open 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm
Newport’s second Catholic parish moved to this stunning building on Broadway in 1912
7th 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 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm
Congregation dates from Newport’s first Baptist church, founded by John Clarke in 1644
Colony House
Washington Square
Open 10:00 am to 12:00 noon
Believed to be the site of first Catholic mass in Rhode Island in 1780
Some of the historic buildings near Washington Square such as the Colony House 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 around the Square for children and adults, the annual reading of the Declaration of Independence from the place it was read in July of 1776, and ending with a 21-gun cannon salute by the Newport Artillery Company using four cannon forged by Paul Revere.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp, LLC. Belmore has led What's Up Newp since December 2012. Belmore also serves as the Sr. Editor - North America for Mountain News - publisher of OnTheSnow. In his spare time, Belmore serves as the Vice President for the Board of Directors at Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors at Lucy's Hearth. Belmore is also a member and supporter of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.