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About Us

The Seamen’s Church Institute, located in the harbor district at 18 Market Square, has been a vital resource on the waterfront for over 90 years. The primary and original mission is to serve those connected to the Sea, which remains as the ongoing focus of our mission. However, as times have changed, the range of our programs and services now includes individuals and families from Newport County in need of compassionate financial, referral, or listening assistance. Our doors are open to the public 365 days a year, whether, seamen, residents or tourists. As a non-profit organization, Seamen’s Church Institute relies on the good will and support of the community through donations and patronage at the Aloha Cafe.


Seamen’s Church Institute of Newport
18 Market Square
Newport, RI 02840
Tel – 401-847-4260
Fax – 401- 847-4284

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Our History

Founded in 1919 by a group of Newport residents and several parishoners of Trinity Church, who saw a need to provide services and assistance to servicemen, or those who worked and traveled the sea, the Seamen’s Church Institute moved to its existing location in January 1930. Thanks to the generosity of Maude and Edith Wetmore, the Institute was the recipient of a newly constructed, completely furnished and equipped three-story Georgian revival building. Given in memory of the Wetmore’s parents, the building was designed by Frederick Rhinelander King, who also designed the Wetmore’s garden house at “Chateau sur Mer”. The Seamen’s building was listed on The National Registry of Historic Places in 1985.

Two significant features of this historic building are the six-foot square mural of Narragansett Bay, painted by William H. Drury in 1930, and the Chapel of the Sea, a gift from Mrs. Hamilton Fish Webster as a memorial to her mother, Mrs. Marie Post. Portrait artist and muralist Durr Freedley was commissioned to design and execute the frescoed Chapel that was dedicated in June 1933.