Historical Information Saint James United Church

Saint James had its beginning in the 1830’s in the Woodstock Methodist Church and in the 1850’s in the Kirk Presbyterian Church, Northampton.

The first minister appointed to serve the Woodstock circuit drowned en route off the coast of Newfoundland.  His replacement, Reverend Samuel Joll, arrived from England in 1833, the year the first church was built.  When fire destroyed this building in 1835, immediate plans were made for construction of a new church on the same site.

In 1857 the congregation decided to move to a new location, the corner of Chapel and Green streets where Saint James United Church now stands. Although the church was not completed until 1869, the congregation began worshipping in the basement in 1859.

By 1907 the congregation felt that a new building was needed.  The present building has a corner stone marking located on the corner of Green and Chapel Streets dated 1907, with the completed church being dedicated in 1908. In 1925, Methodist, Congregationalists and many Presbyterian churches in Canada came together to form The United Church of Canada.  Woodstock Methodist Church became Woodstock United Church.  At a congregational meeting on January 25th, 1956 the name was officially changed to Saint James United Church after a unanimous vote.

In 1956 the addition of a balcony increased the seating capacity of Saint James from its original 450 to 700; and in 1957 the Christian Education Centre was added to address the needs of the youth in the congregation.

The history of Saint James United Church involves another Saint James—Saint James Presbyterian Church, also known as the Greenbank Church and the Kirk.  In 1854 the Reverend Peter Keay was sent by the Colonial Committee of the Church of Scotland to minister to those of the Presbyterian faith in both Northampton and the Woodstock areas.  In 1856 David and Wallace Gibson deeded to the  original trustee the land on which the Kirk stands.  It is believed that the church was built between 1856 and 1857.

At the time of union in 1925, the Kirk was transferred from the Jacksonville to the Woodstock charge of the United Church of Canada.  Beginning in 1959, services were held only during the summer and only every second Sunday.  By 1962 the congregation has become so small that Presbytery closed the Kirk as a preaching point.  The trustees who were in place at that time were added to the Trustee Board of Saint James United Woodstock and many of the Kirk families have become part of our congregation.

Our church is a cherished landmark to many people
who have passed our doors for friendship and fellowship.
I am your church; support me;
   I will serve you all your days
   on this earth and beyond.