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An eminently appropriate setting for Providence’s very-high-church Anglo Catholics, designed by Richard Upjohn, an English-born Tractarian churchman, St Stephen’s was, is, and probably will continue to be one of the few, if not the only, Catholic-apostolic church buildings in the city (and maybe the state) where architecture and liturgy remain felicitously in concert with each other without architectural re-accommodation. Upjohn was, of course, the master of small-scale late Gothic for ecclesiastical (almost always Anglican) churches, and the overall form and broadly scaled nave are particularly fine. Henry Vaughn, another English architect, from the generation after Upjohn, sequestered and apotheosized the chancel behind one of Rhode Island’s only remaining functional rood screens (compare Episcopal Cathedral of St John & Diocesan Office) in 1882-83. Stained-glass aficionados will appreciate many windows by New Jersey’s Owen Doremus, perhaps somewhat crude to early twentieth-first-century sensibilities but charming in setting, installed soon after the church’s completion: two Tiffany Studio windows, the Angel of Consolation as well as the Good Shepherd and the Guardian; and a circular window by Boston’s Connick Shop. With one of the city’s best music programs and redolent always of incense, this building exquisitely fulfills all five senses: God and humanity are here exceptionally well served. Martin & Hall designed the Parish House completed in the late 1890s at the same time they also designed one for St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, an unusual crossing of religious lines for that time.

– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture

The images below are taken from the PPS Gowdey Database.

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© 2023 Guide to Providence Architecture. All rights reserved. Design by J. Hogue at Highchair designhaus, with development & support by Kay Belardinelli.