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6 Of America’s Oldest Churches

Most of the very old remaining buildings in the United States are more utilitarian than they are attractive because when they were built, the object was to get them up as quickly as possible. However, many early colonial and pioneer builders took some extra time to add decorative aspects to their places of worship. Many early churches still stand, from simple country cabins in the west to elaborate antebellum structures in the south. Following are 6 of America’s oldest churches:

First Baptist Church In America

Located in Providence, Rhode Island, this church houses the oldest consecutive Baptist congregation in the country. The present church building was first erected in 1775 and is still in use today. Besides being used for regular church services, this historic landmark is also used as a community resource for hosting concerts, talks by artists and writers, and various academic activities.

The Church Of The Holy Ascension

Built in 1894, this Russian Orthodox Church is one of the oldest churches in the state of Alaska and the site of missionaries from Russia who came across the Bering Sea to bring the word of God to the native tribes living on the Aleutian Islands.

Old Indian Meeting House

The oldest Native American Christian house of worship is located in Mashpee, Massachusetts. Built in 1684, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. It is still used today for regular meetings, and the grounds include a sacred Native American burial ground.

Mission San Juan Capistrano

The oldest standing building in the state of California, the Mission in San Juan Capistrano was built by Spanish missionaries in 1782. A mission of the same name exists in the state of Texas. Several Hollywood movies have been filmed at the mission, including the original Zorro series. Although no services are currently held at the mission, it hosts a number of community events and is visited by over half a million people every year.

First Presbyterian Church In Jamaica

This church hosts the oldest continuous Presbyterian congregation in the world. This stone church has held regular services since it was first built in 1669. The church also runs “The Tree of Life” outreach center, which is an important social service organization that serves the people of Jamaica and serves as an all-purpose community center.

These are just six of the nation’s old churches — hundreds more exist throughout the land, and each one paints an important portrait of the local heritage of the areas in which they were built.

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