The First Universalist Church in Providence

Welcome to The First Universalist Church
in Providence

A warm, traditional congregation of believers in the heart of historic Downtown Providence, Rhode Island. Whether you are visiting the area, looking for a church home, or simply interested in what we do, we invite you to join us for Sunday worship (weekly at 10:30 a.m.) and our special seasonal services throughout the year.


Memorials, Symbolism, and Church History

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 16 August A.D. 1977
featuring some of the oldest American-made stained glass windows in the United States

Edwin L. Howland (Architect).  Henry B. Sharpe Studios, of 147 East 22nd Street, New York City (windows).
        +   +   +


(underlining and citations added)


THE CHANCEL ARCH:  “Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell them, and they shall be his people,a nd God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”  (Revelation 21:3)

THE ALTAR:  “Sanctus  Sanctus   Sanctus”   [Holy, Holy, Holy]   (Isaiah 6:3)    (Originally atop the Altar wall): “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  (Matthew 11:28)

THE ALTAR CROSS: “ + To the Glory of God and in loving memory of Hatie F. Richardson 1857-1883 with tender affection by her mother Mrs. Amelia S. Richardson

ALTAR VASES: 1. “In Memory of Ellen T. Gladding 1939”   2. In Memory of John R. Gladding 1931”  3. (bowl:)  To the glory of God and in memory of Emma Frances McCormick Died, February A.D. 1900.  This vase and pedestal are erected according to her request. January A.D. 1901”

THE CHANCEL WINDOWS: “The illumination of this Chancel Window is installed to the GLORY OF GOD and in memory of Mary E. I. Russell”    (bottom panels:)
    [Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men] (Luke 2:14)

THE CHANCEL TABLETS: (over each Deacons’ seat:) “Chi-Rio” (first Greek letters in “Christ”: X p  /  “LEX” [Law]
       (Lectern side:) [Ten] Commandments I-IV  (Exodus 20:3-8) & Great Commandment I:
       “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy soul.” (Matthew 22:37)
       (Pulpit side:) Commandments V-X  (Exodus 20:12-17) & Great Commandment II:
          “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”  (Matthew 22:39)

CHANCEL LIGHTS: “The Chancel Lights were presented to the Church March 29, 1931 by
                           the Greene Street Chapter of Universalist Comrades No. 1

PRIOR [FIRST] CHANCEL CARPET (1937-2009): “In memory of Catherine Durfee Pike.  The chancel carpet was Presented to the Church December 19, 1937 by the Ladies Humane Society and Perserving Circle of King’s Daughters” (Psalm 45:9,13)
      Re-upholstered in the mid-1990s by the Ladies Humane Society.

PRESENT FULL-SANCTUARY CARPET: “The new Sanctuary carpet was made possible by a Liquidation Grant from  /  The First Universalist Church in Woonsocket / 78 Earle Street Woonsocket Rhode Island / Gathered April A.D. 1834 + Dissolved June A.D. 2008 /
Dedicated Easter V  A.D. 2009”

PEW CUSHIONS (except off central gangway): “The new Sanctuary pew cushions were provided by the proceeds from: / The Memorial Fund / The Edith M. Collins Fund / The Women’s Association / Palm Sunday A.D. MMVIII”

RIGHT NAVE WALL: “This tablet is erected in honor of MILDRED ALDRICH Teacher, Journalist, Author  Born in Providence, November 18, 1853. Died in Paris, Febraury 19, 1928.  She dedicated her “Hilltop on the Marne” to her Grandmother Judith Trask Baker that staunch New Englander and Pioneer Universalist. /  [about the plague itself:] Begun in 1931, and . first . three lines . finished . by . R. E. Connet . who died Feb 9 1932 . Finished by F. Forcier”

  “to the Glory of God and in loving memory of his parents Charles Andrews Peirce 1814-1889 -----  Rachel Brown Hill Peirce 1814-1901 -----  and his sister Lucy Martin Peirce 1848-1917 Clerk of this church for thirty years.  / This tablet was erected by Charles A. Peirce 1929”

NAVE DISPLAY CASE: “In memory of Rev. William Couden, D.D. Pastor 1926-1944 ----- Presented by Albert I. Russell December 1950”

NAVE OFFERING BOXES (2):  “Remember the poor”    (Galatians 2:10)

SANCTUARY FLAGS (U.S.A. & R.I.): (narthex & balcony:)  “These Flags Presented by Rhode Island Independence Chapter D.A.R. are in Honor of Susan S. Carrique, a faithful Member of this Church.”     
               “These flags given in loving memory of Rose White Richardson (Mrs. Louis D. Sr.) by the Rhode Island Independence Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution September 19, 1965”

REAR NAVE: “1968 The modernization of the sanctuary lights was made possible by gifts in memory of Dorothy Sampson Follis and The King’s Daughters” (cf. Psalm 45:9,13)
       “ in tribute to Sgt. Alan Wentworth who served his Country in Vietnam with honor and Distinction”
       “These members of the First Universalist Church served in the Armed Forces of our country during the Second World War / Charles E. Bailey / Ruth I. Ettlinger / Charles Hanna / Joseph T. Hanna / Philip J. Hanna / John Kaya Janian / Earl M. Langley Jr. / Kenneth E. Langley / Thurston Mathewson / Alva C. Nievels / Walter A. Oatley / Albert J. Paquin / Ernest D. Sheffield / Frederick S. Sheffield / Arthur G. Ray / Alden G. Sampson /
Clinton G. Simmons  / Earl F. Simmons / Howard M. Simmons / William D. Skinner / Thomas W. Spooner / William H. Spooner / Ernest D. Smith / Marshall B. Thornton / Melkon Torkomian / Frank E. Westerberg, Jr. / John A. Underhill / Everett M. Cunnings /  And you shall look upon it and remember” (Number 15:39)

RIGHT NARTHEX: “First chapel erected, A. D. 1821.  First chapel destroyed by fire, A. D. 1825. Second chapel erected, A. D. 1825.   Second chapel sold for secular uses A. D. 1870.   This Church erected, A. D. 1871-72” (stone from second building:) “Destroyed by fire May 24, A. D. 1825.  Rebuilt A. D. 1825”

LEFT NARTHEX: “1917 + 1921 / In honor of the men of the First Universalist Church who offered their lives in the military and naval forces of our country in the World War / John H. Almy / Henry F. Anthony / Ralph S. Anthony / Iving P. Babcock / Lynwood M. Beebe / Freeman W. Cook / Paul W. Cook / Irving E. Darline / Charles Dietz /Charles F. Goodspeed / Howard G. Hageman / Lloyd W. Harris / O. A. Mason / Howard W. Niven / Fred B. Perkins / Frederick M. Ralton / Albert I. Russell / Frederick J. H. Stang / Henry C. Such / Henry E. Thayer / Augustus VanLeuven / Halford N. Walker / Charles H. Whipple / Howard B. White / Frank S. Wiliston /

"I  have fought a good fight, I have kept the faith” [II Timothy 4:7] /                  Presented by Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. Russell 1928”

WASHINGTON STREET DOORS (outside): (over the Providence Preservation Society seal:)  "First Universalist Church  /  Edwin L. Howland  –  Arch. 1871” 

(under Universalist Church logo:) FIRST UNIVERSALIST CHURCH /     
Established 10 April 1821 at Westminster and Union Streets. / Third Sanctuary dedicated, 20 November 1872. / Founding member, Rhode Island State Council of Churches, 1937. / Organizing member, Providence Intown Churches Association, 1974. / Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, 16 August 1977.”

HOLY COMMUNION SERVICE (2):  “  +  This Individual Communion Service is presented to the First Universalist Church, Providence, R. I.  by Dea. Ephriam Goff, February, 1904”

PORTABLE COMMUNION SET:  “In Memory of William Couden D.D.  Minister of the First Universalist Church 1926 - 1944 

Gift of the Clara Barton Guild”   (Gold Wafer Holder:) given by Mr. & Mrs. John R. Curtin in celebration of the 19th Pastor’s Installation, All Souls’ Sunday afternoon A.D. 1995          [November 5, 4:00 p.m.; The Rev. W. Scott Axford, M. Div.]

(Red/Green & Blue/Black:) Made and given by Mrs. Jean Karen Axford Dunning of The First Congregational Church in Cromwell, Connecticut, 1993.

REAR BAPTISMAL FONT:  “Presented by M. S.  Fenner to the Church of the Mediator.  June 1, 1874”
  “… from the Second Universalist Church gathered in Providence Anno Domini 1849 /  
  Reclaimed from the world after a period of secular use & rededicated to the Lord’s service
  and to His Sacrament in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. /
 The Day of Pentecost 4 June A. D.  1995”

BLACK HYMNALS: (The New Church Hymnal, 1937;  inside bookplates:)  “A gift from the First Baptist Church [in America {Providence}]  October A.D. 1995 / one Faith one Lord one Baptism (Ephesians]. 4:5)”

MAROON Hymns of the Spirit (1937):  Given by The First Universalist Church in Woonsocket, R.I.; c. 1970s.

PEW BIBLES:   King James Version; dedicated Trinity Sunday (& Memorial Day Weekend) A. D. 1999; various donors & memorialees.

PICA FOOD PANTRY: The Providence Intown Church Association’s Food Pantry Room, located in our downstairs Church Hall as part of their new (October 2009) offices (which the Church built for PICA that Summer), was made possible by a 2008 Grant from the Champlin Foundations.  Dedicated with prayer and ribbon cutting, Saint Andrew’s Day, 30 November, A.D. 2009

Copyright © 2012 The First Universalist Church in Providence
250 Washington St., Providence, Rhode Island 02903-3615 Telephone (401) 751-1821