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Church of the Covenant - National Fund For Sacred Places
2020 Cohort

Church of the Covenant

(United Church of Christ/Presbyterian)

Boston, Massachusetts

Church of the Covenant, originally Central Church, maintains the largest intact Tiffany-designed ecclesiastical interior in the United States.

Church of the Covenant by Patrick Guthrie

Church of the Covenant by Patrick Guthrie

2020 Cohort

Church of the Covenant

(United Church of Christ/Presbyterian)

Boston, Massachusetts

Church of the Covenant, originally Central Church, maintains the largest intact Tiffany-designed ecclesiastical interior in the United States.

Trinitarian Congregationalists founded the congregation in 1835 in Boston’s newly established Back Bay neighborhood. The congregation moved into its new Gothic Revival church designed by Richard M. Upjohn in 1865. Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company redecorated the church’s interior in 1894 with large lantern mosaics and 42 stained-glass windows illuminating core tenets of Christianity. The congregation merged with First Presbyterian Church of Boston in 1932.

Church of the Covenant has always been committed to activism and inclusion. Historically, ministers championed Irish immigration, and the church was a center of abolitionist activity during the Civil War. In the 1970s, Church of the Covenant became a critical advocate for the inclusion of LGBTQ individuals in the church and society. Casa Myrna, one of the first shelters for domestic violence survivors in the United States, opened in the church in 1977. The congregation maintains its commitment to this work, renting space to Women’s Lunch Place, a day shelter for women in need; Coro Allegro, Boston’s LGBTQ choir; and two other faith communities that use the sanctuary for services (Coptics and Buddhists). The space is also used by professional choral and orchestral groups, the annual Boston Book Festival, the Eco-Stewards Program, and various youth groups.

As a result of a $250,000 grant from the National Fund and over $500,000 in matching funds raised by the congregation, Church of the Covenant is restoring up to 20 Tiffany-designed stained-glass windows in the sanctuary. Many of these windows are in very fragile condition, posing a safety risk to visitors both inside and outside the building. The project requires removing, repairing, and reinstalling each window over the course of a year.

Church of the Covenant by Patrick Guthrie

Stories and Media Coverage

Read more about how the National Fund for Sacred Places is helping congregations around the country rehabilitate their sacred places.

Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church by Luis P. Gutierrez