April 20, 2021 HBI Congratulates Covenant Church on National Fund for Sacred Places Award
Historic Boston offers our congratulations to Covenant Church, as it recently became one of 16 out of 150 applicants selected to receive a national award from the National Fund for Sacred Places, a program of Partners for Sacred Places. The church will receive a grant of up to $250,000 based on a successful campaign to raise $500,000 in matching funds through a capital campaign. Funds will be used to restore Tiffany ornamental windows that are in danger of disintegrating in the church’s sanctuary. See their announcement and Frequently Asked Questions about their fundraising efforts for the historic Covenant Church building below. See more information here: Renew the Light FAQ
Announcement: We’re delighted to share the magnificent spiritual resource of this building with the city and the world. The Central Congregational Church laid the cornerstone for its new building in 1865. It was one of the earliest of many extraordinary churches built after the landfill of the Back Bay was begun in the 1850s. In 1932 the congregation federated with the First Presbyterian Church to create Church of the Covenant.
As you look down Newbury St. from Boston’s Public Garden, you are drawn in by a beautiful Gothic Revival church a block away. The Church of the Covenant is an architectural and artistic gem on the corner of Newbury and Berkeley Streets in the Back Bay, an area of Boston known for beautiful historic landmarks.
View from the Public Garden
In the 1850s the Back Bay area was designated as the new cultural and educational center of the city by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, with 40% if the area set aside for parks. By the time the church was built, the Natural History Museum was being constructed across the street and Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology given parcels of land next to the Museum. Built as Central Congregational Church in 1865-67, the church was designed by R.M. Upjohn of Upjohn and Son, the best known Gothic Revival architectural firm in the country. In the mid-1890s, the entire sanctuary was redecorated by Tiffany Glass and Decorating Co., the leading ecclesiastical decorating firm in the United States.
The Building’s Mission
The building is central to the mission and vision of the Church of the Covenant by providing a continued presence with historic roots to maintain social justice witness in the heart of Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood.
Since 1867 the imposing edifice at the corner of Newbury and Berkeley Streets has been home of Central Church Congregational (first 88 years) and Church of the Covenant (in its last 65 years). The church has reached out to people from all walks of life, from all faiths, and even to those who profess no faith. This unique and historic Boston institution has inspired efforts in spiritual and social services, commitment to the arts, and an aesthetic contribution to the architectural and social landscape. The church has continually renewed its commitment to Boston and its people.
Ongoing Preservation Work
A multi-year Building Master Plan was completed and fundraising is on-going to preserve and restore the Tiffany Stained Glass Windows, Masonry, Sanctuary Lighting etc.
See more information here: Renew the Light FAQ