All Saints Church
All Saints Church stands at the corner of Irving and Pleasant Streets in downtown Worcester. The City is located near the geographic center of Massachusetts, and is called, “The Heart of the Commonwealth”. All Saints Church draws parishioners from the neighborhood, other parts of the city, surrounding towns, and even nearby states.
The Church neighborhood
The immediate neighborhood of All Saints Church includes blocks of historic Greek Revival houses, modest apartment buildings, public housing and multi-family homes. Nearby is a mix of businesses, civic buildings, churches, restaurants, hospitals, cultural venues, and social services. One neighbor, the administration building for the Worcester Public Schools, shares its parking lot with us on Sundays. Beauty and recreation in the cityscape are offered by public parks such as Elm Park, a National Historic Landmark.
Residents include people of all ages, areas of employment and income levels, and ethnic/cultural backgrounds. Near the church are businesses and institutions that arise from the area’s Hispanic, African, and eastern Mediterranean communities.
All Saints Rectory neighborhood
The Rectory is located in a historic district 1.5 miles from the church on a quiet, tree-lined street of architecturally distinctive single-family homes. This residential neighborhood is convenient to public schools, shopping, and restaurants. Walking routes to All Saints Church pass by parks, churches, the Worcester Art Museum, colleges, and various small businesses. (See “Resources”)
The City of Worcester
Worcester (2020 population, 206,518), the second-largest city in Massachusetts, is known for its diversity. The city began on indigenous Nipmuc lands and was established as a town in 1722. Its growth has been fueled by trade, industry, and immigration. An iconic housing style, the “triple decker” appears in many neighborhoods, and was adopted to house those working in local factories and mills.
Worcester has been a transportation nexus since the early 19th century, with the Blackstone Canal giving way to railroads to supply the large factories here. Today the Massachusetts Turnpike, a major interstate route (I-290), and rail service (Amtrak and MBTA commuter lines) are transportation assets to the area. The Worcester Regional Airport is served by JetBlue and connects Worcester to JFK Airport in New York and locations in Florida. Today the “Canal District” is a venue for recreation, dining, and small businesses and many mill buildings have been converted to residential and business spaces.
Some families have lived here for generations, and successive waves of new immigrants have enriched the community. Today about 22% of Worcester’s population was born outside of the United States, and students in the Worcester Public Schools speak 74 different first languages. Resident Americans and international students at nearby colleges add to the diversity.
The largest employers in Worcester are the medical/health institutions followed by the colleges and universities. Worcester’s economy is diversifying, so biotechnology, high tech, fiber optics, electronics, and advanced ceramics constitute a growing proportion of the employment base. Small businesses and non-profit and private entities are employers and providers of goods and services. Downtown Worcester, itself, is undergoing an energetic economic revival. (See “Worcester as a Home Town”, below)
Local unemployment was slightly higher than the national average, even before the pandemic, and many residents were experiencing economic difficulties. People without housing, a secure source of food, or other necessities inspire us to reach out with our ministries. (See “Mission an Outreach”.)
Worcester’s central location places it within one hour of Boston, Providence, or Hartford. Suburbs and scenic countryside surround Worcester and offer pick-your-own orchards and farm markets, hiking, and other outdoor recreation. Cape Cod and the mountains of New England all offer day trip destinations.
Worcester as a Home Town
These are exciting times to be a part of the Worcester community! The city itself is undergoing a major downtown revitalization that involves investment by the city, its residents, businesses (such as major league baseball’s Woosox team at Polar Park), and institutions. These recent developments are maintaining Worcester’s own personality, while blending the old and the new, residential uses and commercial activities. Worcester’s proximity to Boston and its transportation links are strong attractions for new residents who are looking to locate to a lively community that offers varied and unique urban amenities, yet still has a hometown feeling. The city’s population is growing and the possibilities are expanding. We offer here a glimpse of a few of the major assets residents of Worcester know and love.
Medical education, research, and practice permeate the city. Worcester is home to The University of Massachusetts Medical School, its research facilities, and two hospitals (University and Memorial campuses). St. Vincent’s Medical Center, the AdCare Rehabilitation Hospital, and smaller medical centers add to the region’s high quality healthcare services. The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University is located nearby, and is linked to other local institutions for education and research.
Worcester benefits from the many local colleges and universities, their resources, programs, faculty, staff, and students. Their programs boost the city’s energy and diversity, and involve people of all ages, from high school students in dual enrollment courses to retired adults in life-enriching programs designed especially for them. Some All Saints outreach programs involve enthusiastic and talented students as volunteers. The colleges are linked via a higher education consortium (HECCMA). (Link: https://www.heccma.org)
The City’s public school system manages a network of diverse pre-K to 12 public schools (neighborhood, magnet, technical) to meet student needs. A variety of parochial and private schools also are available in Worcester and nearby towns and enroll local students. (Link: https://worcesterschools.org)
Worcester and the area are home to many outstanding art, science, and historical museums. Two local institutions with a national reputation are the Worcester Art Museum and the American Antiquarian Society. Other cultural institutions host performances and teach crafts, gardening, music, dance and art. There is always something interesting to do. The City has a mix of performance venues for music and theater. Parades and seasonal ethnic festivals offer outdoor music, food, and fun. The Worcester Cultural Coalition reports on the range of cultural options available.
Worcester has many parks, trails, nature and conservation areas, and other opportunities for outdoor recreation. Wachusett Mountain ski area is about 30 minutes away and offers lessons and skiing for all. A public outdoor skating rink appears seasonally on the Common behind City Hall. Lake Quinsigamond has both sailing and rowing, and hosts a major crew regatta. The new Polar Park in the Canal District is home to the WooSox, the AAA team of the Boston Red Sox. (Link: https://www.milb.com/worcester)
Other league and semi-professional teams, plus the colleges, offer spectator events in many sports.