On December 8, 1899, parishioners of St. Stephen’s church, along with Bishop William Lawrence, laid the cornerstone of the building atop Bourne’s Rock in Cohasset. The parish had begun three years earlier when twenty-one people met in the G.A.R. Hall (at the same location as the future church) and voted a Constitution and by-laws for a new Episcopal place of worship, which they voted unanimously to name St. Stephen’s. With a design by renowned neo-Gothic architect Ralph Adams Cram, the church was completed in 1900 and the distinctive tower in 1907. The installation of the 51 bell carillon happened in two waves between 1924 and 1928, leading to an unbroken line of summer concert series that stretches to the present.
In its early years, St. Stephen’s functioned as a church away from home for summer residents of the South Shore, who fled the heat of Boston every year. But as a more stable population moved out to the South Shore, St. Stephen’s began to have greater continuity among its congregation. St. Stephen’s has had seven rectors, preceded in the early years by two vicars and a priest in charge. The current rector, the Rev. Margot Critchfield, began her ministry here in 2008.
The building of St. Stephen’s is a literal church on the hill, overlooking Cohasset Common from atop the rock. The members who make up the church, however, endeavor to take their faith off the hill and out into the community, serving God in many and various ways. We invite you to join us in making the second hundred years of St. Stephen’s parish as wonderful as the first.
(Much of this short history is adapted from So Worship We God,
edited by David H. Pottenger)