It’s futile to attempt to accurately look back and pinpoint the exact five first churches built on US soil because research points to many previous structures that were used for religious services. The churches listed below are somewhat more recent and point to those definitely designed for worship in the Western world, and yet not exclusively of the US states.
Cathedral of San Juan Boutista
This church was built in 1521 in Puerto Rico and is the burial place of Ponce De Leon, the first governor of Puerto Rico; Carlos Manuel Rodriguez Santiago, the first Puerto Rican to be beatified in the Catholic Church. This little church is where history and modernity meet: The beatification ceremony was at the request of Pope John Paul II in 2001. Locals who had asked his intervention in praying to God for deliverance from diseases had their prayers answered.
Saint Luke’s Church
First known as the Old Brick Church, it then was named after the apostle Luke in 1820. Saint Luke’s Church is the oldest existing English church denomination in the US. The style is gothic and is this country’s only surviving building representative of that style. That means the church is a true relic of medieval England and their architecture. Completed in 1632, it “closely related to the Tower Church at Jamestown” finished in 1639. It has long since been demolished, and a new church with a much later date was built with only the tower standing.
Old Ship’s Church
Old Ship’s Church, “the oldest meeting house in continuous ecclesiastical use in the United States,” is a church where “diverse points of view prevail.” Its label today is Unitarianism. Individual religious development is important at this church, and people who desire a liberal interpretation of the scriptures and who emphasize social problems find comfort here. Churchgoers who for one reason or another feel uncomfortable or unwelcome in traditional churches are made welcome here.
Third Haven Meeting House
Third Have Meeting House is a Quaker denomination. In 1682, planners bought three acres of land and started building. It took two years to completely erect the building since there were no saw mills to hew the timbers and all had to be done by hand. Later, in 1797, the original structure was enlarged by extending the rafter on one side of the “ridgepole.” Then, later on, a gabled porch entrance was added. George Fox, who founded the Religious Society of Friends, collected books, and this started what is supposed to be the first public library in Talbot County, Maryland.
San Miguel Chapel
San Miguel Chapel is thought to be the oldest church in the US. Yet that all depends on who is talking. It’s located “one block south of Loretto Chapel on Old Santa Fe Trail.” It was “built by Tlaxcalan Indians from Mexico in the early 1600s.” A new roof has been added, and other construction upkeep has been done according to need.
Tracing old churches and trying to ascertain which is older and attempting to get them in logical order is impossible. You no sooner find number one than another web site will alert you to that one being second. In order to get past that confusion, the five listed above are somewhat in order, but actually, what difference does it make? The people themselves are actually the churches and none of them are most likely older than at least 120 years! The fondness for putting things in order is a curse of mankind, and their desire to put things, thoughts, and all effort in logical order cannot be done accurately.