The founders of this parish named their congregation in honor of the Holy Saviour, Jesus, and in recognition of the first Christian mission, St. Sauveur, on the island by French Jesuits in 1613.
The Heartbeat of Life
God gives love and grace to all, calling each community to embody love, truth, and justice for all as signs of God's self-emptying love. We invite you to participate fully as together we worship God, care for creation, and respect the dignity of every human being.
Responding to the need for a place to gather and worship, the Episcopal Diocese of Maine purchased land on which to build a church in 1871, and the congregation completed the church building seven years later. By 1885 the congregation had outgrown the original sanctuary, which was reformed into transepts for a greatly enlarged church with rounded apse, Italian marble altar, and 90-foot central tower. Mrs. William Vanderbilt gave the Parish Hall for the Sunday school in 1888. At the turn of the 20th century, the congregation took the high altar and placed it in a grand sanctuary and chancel that provided room for a mixed-voice choir. In 1902 Mrs. John Harrison donated a small gatehouse to which C. Livingston added a large hall to create the Parish House. Mrs. Charles C. Jackson gave the Chapel of St. Mary, the Rectory, and the Cloister that connects them as memorials to her husband. In 2003 the congregation redesigned the grand Rectory and so opened the Rectory Commons to the congregation and the entire community while still providing housing for the parish clergy family. Today St. Saviour's is the oldest public building on Mount Desert Island.
Grateful for its historical foundation, the people of St. Saviour's Parish face each day in hope. With God's help, we seek to grow with others in compassion, joy, and justice.
The people of St. Saviour's have experienced the rise and collapse of several summer colonies and a disastrous 1947 fire; and they have had a hand in the founding of institutions like the Jackson Laboratory, the College of the Atlantic and some that no longer exist. Throughout the years, week in and week out, they have worshiped God and served their neighbors.
Ten of our windows are by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Interested in trying to reproduce the type of glass used in medieval windows, Tiffany developed new ways to use glass in art. He is well known for Favrile glass, which has an iridescent character. He achieved a quality of realism in his windows by molding or overlapping layers of glass.
Forty-two memorial windows display a century of work by British, German, and American artists and commemorate saints and current events, such as the loss of a child at sea, a wife's recovery from cancer, and the founding of the Jackson Laboratory. The Russell Memorial depicts Jesus, a fisherman in a double ender, wearing a No'theaster and yellow slicker.
The sound and rhythm of voices, organ, instruments, drums, and bells, are an integral part of worshiping God. In 1937 a peal of ten bells was cast with an inscription by William Pierson Hamilton, "Let the voice of the ringing of these bells be the voice of my gratitude for the recovery of my wife." The bells have rung out thanksgiving for peaceful accords, and alarm during conflict and strife. They inspire each day and call people to worship, weddings, and funerals.
The congregation installed a twenty-seven rank Visser-Rowland tracker organ in 1976 to provide support for a wide range of choral and instrumental music in Sunday worship and community concerts. The Parish Hall is a hub for public gatherings, 12-step programs and support groups.
Please come in. This House is for all.
Please care for this building and these stained glass windows by contributing to the Historic Preservation Fund, St. Saviour's Episcopal Parish, 41 Mt. Desert Street, Bar Harbor, ME 04609. All gifts are tax deductable.
St. Saviour's Church, Bar Harbor
has been placed on the
of Historic Places
by the United States
Department of the Interior