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MassGIS Data: Places of Worship

July 2022

This point datalayer shows the locations of more than 2,000 churches, mosques and synagogues in Massachusetts.

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Overview

Places of worship appearing in this layer are those overseen by the governing councils in Massachusetts for the three major religions. Those that are not overseen by the organizations listed below do not appear in this layer.

The layer is stored in ArcSDE and distributed as PLACES_OF_WORSHIP_PT.

Production

MassGIS generated this dataset by address-matching (geocoding) lists of places of worship data to MassGIS Master Address Database (MAD) points. In cases where addresses did not immediately match to the MAD, development locations were manually refined using the most current Google imagery and other web sources.

The dataset is compiled from these sources:

Churches

Churches in this layer belong to a governing body that consolidates the information for all of their congregations.

Many of the churches in this layer were obtained from the Massachusetts Council of Churches for their 14 member denominations:

  • African Methodist Episcopal
  • American Baptist
  • Armenian Orthodox
  • Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  • Evangelical Covenant
  • Episcopal
  • Greek Orthodox
  • Presbyterian U.S.A.
  • Religious Society of Friends
  • Salvation Army
  • Swedenborgian Church
  • United Church of Christ
  • United Methodist Church
  • Unitarian Universalist

The council does not oversee Roman Catholic churches. For these, data was gathered from the websites of the Archdiocese of Boston, the Eparchy of Newton, the Diocese of Fall River, the Diocese of Springfield, and the Diocese of Worcester.

Anglican Churches were collected from the Anglican Diocese of New England, and Evangelical Churches from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Mosques

The Mosques in this layer were obtained from the website of the Islamic Council of New England.

Synagogues

The Synagogues in this layer were obtained from the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts.

Attributes

The Places of Worship datalayer's point attribute table has the following fields:

NAME Name of the place of worship
ADDRESS Place of worship's physical address
CITY Place of worship's city or town (postal)
GEOG_CITY Place of worship's city or town (geographical, based on MassGIS' TOWNS_POLY layer)
ZIPCODE Place of worship's zip code
TELEPHONE Place of worship's phone number
EMAIL Place of worship's email address
WEBSITE Place of worship's website URL
MAIL_ADDR Place of worship's mailing address
LEADERSHIP Name of place of worship's religious leader
YEAR_EST Year that the place of worship was established
DENOM Denomination; for churches, the sect of Christianity
ORG Local or regional organization for the denomination
TYPE Place of worship type
 Church
 Mosque
 Synagogue
SOURCE Source that provided the place of worship's data
MAD_ID Master Address ID from table MAD.MAD_MASTER_ADDRESS for linking to MassGIS' Master Address Database. (Not applicable to data in Boston.)

Maintenance

MassGIS maintains this datalayer and will make periodic updates based on information from the Councils.

In 2022, Anglican and Evangelical Lutheran churches were added, as well as one independent church (South Congregational Church - Church by the Lake in Braintree). One Synagogue was also moved, Congregation Dorshei Tzedek in West Newton.

Date published: July 1, 2022
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