COVID-19 and Spanish flu

True or False: Last Sunday, March 15,2020 was the first Sunday St. Mary’s did not have in-person worship in its 200+ years of history.

False! From our archives, so lovingly tended by Lynn and Bev, we can see that St. Mary’s closed for about four weeks in response what is commonly referred to as the Spanish flu. The service register (*in link below) shows a morning prayer service on Sunday, September 23, 1918 then nothing until Sunday, October 27, 1918. The note reads, “Epidemic of influenza. All churches in greater (?) Boston and Mass in general closed by the Board of Health.” More than 100 years later, we are proud to have taken steps, before any order or mandate was issued, to help “flatten the curve” in our community. We are also so grateful to have alternative ways to connect with one another in this day and age.

1847 Sermon by The Rev. Alfred Baury, Preached on his 25th Anniversary as Rector of St. Mary’s

This portrait of The Rev. Alfred Baury hangs to this day in our Chapter Room. It was painted during his 25th year as Rector of St. Mary’s. The Rev. Baury preached a remarkable sermon  on the occasion of his 25th Anniversary as Rector in which he told the story of the founding of St. Mary’s Church and expressed his “satisfaction of witnessing our scriptural Church advancing, from depression and feebleness, to comparative vigor and strength.” The Rev. Baury and his family our buried in our church yard.

You can read the text of the prepared sermon (PDF) by clicking HERE.


Pew Kneelers

Ever notice the kneelers in your pew at St. Mary’s? Did you know that, like everything else at our lovely historic church, each one has a story? The kneelers are the result of a thirteen-year recent project to redo our one hundred sixty kneelers that was part of the St. Mary’s bicentennial celebration in 2013. Every one of them was handmade by one of thirty-four stitchers.

For a booklet with a picture and information on each kneeler, click here.

 The St. Mary’s “Stitch and Chat” group continues to meet regularly, and welcomes newcomers.

A Gift from Germany After WWII

[Updated: February 21, 2019]


Following WWII, St. Mary’s made substantial financial donations to help rebuild St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Stuttgart, Germany, a parish of primarily Russian refugees.

In gratitude, St. Nicholas parish sent St. Mary’s two paintings, one of Saint Nicholas and one of Saint Mary’s. Both paintings are in our archives.


The back of the icon had a lengthy inscription in Russian, see below. One of our parishioners was able to have it translated, also below, explaining why this particular icon was so special.



A Plaque in the Attic

In June 2018, one of our youth member’s Eagle Scout project was to organize and clean our attic. While clearing out old cardboard boxes, this plaque was discovered on a shelf hidden from view.

We researched and discovered that this plaque was dedicated to the parents – who were born in the middle 1800’s – of two brothers, Julius and Charles Schweinfurth. Both were architects of some repute – one in Cleveland and one in Boston. Buildings in the two cities still stand that were designed by them; including the Episcopal Cathedral in Cleveland. (The present Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts was sometime Dean of that Cathedral.)

The plaque was dedicated to the youth of the parish in the room that was set aside for their use. It brings pleasure to the members of this parish to rediscover this valuable artifact, that has so much to do with St. Mary’s, Boston and Cleveland.

Memories of the 200th Anniversary

St. Mary’s cornerstone was laid on September 29, 1813. Less than a year later, the church was dedicated as the first Episcopal parish built west of Boston.

Two hundred years later, in 2013, our parish embarked on a year long celebration of this remarkable anniversary. Through special concerts, a ‘historic worship service’, a rededication of the cornerstone, and celebrations of many types and sizes we marked our ministry in this corner of Newton.

We captured the highlights of that historic year here.

Our “New” Historical Archive

Any church – or any other organization – that has not only survived but thrived for over two hundred years has many stories to tell. So we decided to create a place on our website where these stories, or moments from our history, can be saved for our current and future members, as well as the world at large.

We will try to update as we can.

– February 3, 2019