St. John’s Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain, Boston, is a sprawling Victorian church dramatically sited on the crest of Sumner Hill, looking over the amazing neighborhood. The church was a local affair as it was designed by local architect Harris M. Stephenson and constructed in 1882 of rough-faced rubble Roxbury puddingstone (a locally harvested stone) with tan sandstone trim. Not all about the church is local though, some national players left their mark on the design. The church contains a collection of significant 19th century stained glass windows, including works by the studios of John LaFarge, MacDonald/McPerson, and Louis Comfort Tiffany. Additionally, there are two murals by nationally known artist George Willoughby Maynard. This church building is the second house of worship for the Episcopal congregation in Jamaica Plain. It was built on land bequeathed to the church by General William H. Sumner, lawyer, legislator, adjutant general, historian and developer of East Boston. The amazing Victorian Gothic building underwent a full restoration about a decade ago, thanks to preservation grants. The church remains an active congregation and advocates for both spirituality and social justice.
The Unity Church of North Easton, Massachusetts looks like it could stand toe-to-toe architecturally with the large churches in major American cities. The church was a gift to the Unitarian Society in town, by Oliver Ames II, who hired renowned Gothic architect Henry Vaughan to design a chapel, worthy of the town’s wealth. The church contains various tablets and memorials to the Ames Family, with stunning stained glass windows by John LaFarge, recently restored by the church! Behind the grounds is the cemetery where many of the Ames family members are buried.