11 Highland Avenue, Newtonville, MA 02460



Pastor Emeritus: Rev. Gladys Wheaton



     Church of the Open Word is a member Church of the Massachusetts Association of the New Jerusalem, a constituent body of The Swedenborgian Church  ( ).

   The Swedenborgian Church, incorporated in 1861 as The General Convention of the New Jerusalem, is a Christian Church whose doctrines are taken from the Holy Bible as understood through the theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772).

    Swedenborg shared in his writings a view of God as infinitely loving and at the very center of our beings, who became as human as we are in the person of Jesus Christ to lead us toward becoming angelic citizens of God’s heaven. Ideally, “all are created for heaven, and, all are received into heaven who receive heaven in themselves” through their living. Our life, then, has purpose in our spiritual birthing. The Scriptures are a book about us and show the life the Lord would have us live. The Lord himself seeks to be present with us while we read and meditate on the Bible, the Word of God. We are essentially spiritual beings.

    We endeavor as a Church to encourage a spirit of inquiry and personal growth, to respect differences in views, and to accept others who may have different traditions.

Our Present Goals

    We currently maintain public worship in our Parish Hall, located in back of the Church Sanctuary, while developing plans for restoration of the Sanctuary Building that has suffered severe storm damage.

Who We Are


A Short History

     The first mention of a New Church Society in Newtonville was in the General Convention Journal of 1864 in which it was said that Rev. John Worcester “preaches regularly to a small congregation in Newtonville” as he had done for several years, although it was not yet an organized church.

     In 1869, a chapel building was erected and dedicated; and, in 1886 a Sunday school building was completed and dedicated. In 1892 a new building was planned with the architect Ralph Adams Cram in charge of the design. It was completed in 1893.

     The firm of Cram and Wentworth, formed in 1890, worked in a style of church architecture they referred to as “English Perpendicular Gothic.” 

      In 1916 the church was remodeled by adding a deeper chancel that housed a new Hutchings organ with choir, swell and echo, the latter including a remarkably beautiful set of chimes. At this time the chancel was enlarged and refurnished and two stained glass windows were installed: one of which represents “The Transfiguration.” The new windows were from the Charles Connick Studios.