The city of Newport is home to some pretty spectacular and decidedly historic houses of worship. On this July 4, a dozen will be on the “First Freedom Open House Tour,” offering the public a glimpse of some of America’s most significant religious buildings. The event is organized by Four Faiths, Four Landmarks Walking Tour of Newport, with support from Discover Newport, and is free and open to the public.
The 12 historic houses of worship, and early 18th-century Colony House, all around downtown Newport, will have guides on hand to tell about each, and the state’s role in implementation of this country’s first liberty – the freedom of worship.
Trinity Episcopal Church is on the tour, where Gen. George Washington worshipped, as well as Touro Synagogue, the country’s oldest Jewish house of worship. Washington returned to Newport as president, and famously proclaimed in a letter to the Jewish congregation that America would be a welcoming home for all faiths.
Other sites are the Great Friend’s Meeting House, Channing Memorial Church, Community Baptist Church, Emmanuel Church, First Presbyterian Church, Newport Congregational Church, Saint John the Evangelist, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, the 7th Day Baptist Meeting House, and United Baptist Church. In addition, the Old Colony House, believed to be the site of the first Roman Catholic mass in Rhode Island state history, will be open to visit.
Visitors will get a “passport” to guide them around, and hours vary at each site. Check the website for complete information, www.4faiths.org, or call 401-290-7535.