The Baptist Church in Warren
The Opening Session is hosted by The Opening Session is hosted by the Baptist Church in Warren. Called to the ministry by the people of Warren, Rev. James Manning organized the church and a college (then called Rhode Island College) here on November 15, 1764. The church’s first home was a wood-frame meetinghouse topped by a small belfry. The parsonage served as both Rev. Manning’s home and the college building until the college relocated to Providence in 1770 (taking the name Brown University in 1804). The first church was burned by British troops in 1778 and replaced in 1784.
The present church edifice rose at the corner of Main and Miller streets in 1844. Designed by architect Russell Warren, the Gothic Revival-style church was built of rough-faced granite ashlar from a nearby quarry. The bell that hangs in the entry tower is a 1906 recasting of the original bell which had been made by Paul Revere. Tall lancet-arch windows with colored diamond-pane glass line the sides of the church. Inside, 146 oak pews with black walnut railings are arranged in three double rows, and the distinctive gold-leaf and grape vine decorative painting scheme is the work of Warren artist Max Mueller.
Architect Arthur Eaton Hill designed the chancel, which was constructed in 1913 to feature the opalescent stained glass window made by the Gorham Company. Between 1963 and 1965, the sanctuary was refurbished, the Hook and Hastings organ was completely rebuilt, and the Giura Memorial Church House erected. In 2014, the Baptist Church in Warren celebrates its 250th anniversary with a year-long schedule of special lectures and concerts, culminating in a 250th anniversary banquet on November 9.
The conference gets underway with remarks from Rev. Esther Irish, Warren Town Council President Christopher Stanley, Maia Farish of Roger Williams University, and RIHPHC Executive Director Ted Sanderson.