Hampton United Methodist Church

Chapter 22 -- Part 3

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According to a history published in 1882 and believed to have been written by Reverend Jacob Franklin Spalding, carver of the wooden dove still atop the church steeple, Methodism was introduced into Hampton in 1835. The history of the early years of the church is related in Joseph Dow's History of the Town of Hampton.

In 1848, when Reverend Henry Nutter was pastor, a building lot was secured at the corner of Ann's Lane and Lafayette Road and a church was dedicated in November of that year. It cost $1,200 and served as a place of worship until the fall of 1881, when it was moved to its present location closer to the center of Hampton. It was remodeled and repaired at a cost of $3,100 and rededicated on January 5, 1882. In 1926, a kitchen and two classrooms were added and a new pipe organ was installed.

The Methodist Sunday School commenced in May 1837, when Reverend Mr. Fuller called the people together and spoke to them about the importance of the study of God's Word. Some 20 or more came forward and divided themselves into classes, with Jonathan Towle as superintendent. During the pastorate of Reverend Norman T. Allers, 1954-61, membership of the church increased, and the rapid growth of the Sunday School necessitated two sessions. In January 1957, a planning committee was established with Elton B. Smith as chairman.

Wayne Elliot headed the building committee that was established in January 1958. Other members were Mrs. Grace Burnham, Gladys Carter, Harry Carter, Philip Crane, William Elliot, Mrs. Robert Hockenhull, Samuel Nelson, Jr., John Perkins, Elton Smith, Richard Stebbins, John Holman, Philip Walker, Richard Worth, and Reverend Norman Allers. The building-fund Program of Progress was successfully conducted in July and August of that year, and on September 7, 1958, Irving W. Marston, oldest member of the church, turned the first shovelful of earth in a groundbreaking ceremony.

The $44,000 church expansion was completed under the supervision of Harry Carter. The two new wings contained increased seating capacity for worship, a utility room, enlarged fellowship hall and kitchen, church parlor with fireplace, choir robing room, nine Sunday School classrooms, and office space. Consecration services were held on June 21, 1959, with Bishop John Wesley Lord as speaker.

A memorable 110th anniversary celebration was held on October 13, 1946. Governor Charles M. Dale and Representative Chester E. Merrow were present. Reverend Richard H. L. Vanaman, pastor, conducted the service, assisted by the clergy of other Hampton churches. William I. Elliot was chairman of the anniversary committee. That Sunday morning there was a broadcast over WHEB, with Elliot as an announcer. The male chorus of Hampton Academy and High School sang, under the direction of Mrs. Esther Coombs. On the previous Saturday night, a gala anniversary supper was organized by the Women's Society of Christian Service and the Wesleyan Service Guild. There was also a memorial service for deceased members and former pastors.

The 135th New Hampshire Annual Conference of the Methodist Church was held at Hampton from May 20 to 24, 1964, with Bishop James K. Matthews presiding and more than 100 clergy and lay delegates from New Hampshire in attendance. In preparation for the conference, the sanctuary was refurbished by the men of the church, who volunteered their efforts. Committees, under the direction of Ruth Stone and Marguerite Fiske, served breakfast, four suppers, and two coffee hours each day, and also provided housing.

During the pastorate of Reverend Herbert N. Lovemore, the sanctuary was filled to ovefflowing for worship services, requiring extra chairs in the center aisle. He was popular as a speaker in the community, and the Lovemore scholarship was established in his memory. He often said he felt his ministry was to the unchurched and nontraditional.

On February 2, 1986, during the pastorate of Reverend C. Edward Claus, the 150th anniversary of the Hampton United Methodist Church was celebrated, with Dr. Harrell F. Beck of Boston Theological School as guest preacher. On April 13, a homecoming celebration was held with a potluck supper and an historical sketch presented by many members and guests.

The original stained-glass windows in the sanctuary were given in memory of the "Willing Workers," Warren Lane, Oliver Towle, Thomas Chase, Simon Fogg and family, and deceased members of the Sunday School. On Sunday, May 15, 1987, a special service of rededication of refurbished windows was conducted by District Superintendent Philip Crane, a former lay member of the Hampton church. These windows were dedicated to the memory of George K Conner, Simon Fogg, Harry J. Trees, Eva Batchelder, Jack Ford, and deceased Sunday School members.

No church history would be complete without a tribute to the Sunday School teachers and superintendents who faithfully serve each week to provide Christian education to the children, youth, and adults. Sunday School superintendents include Jonathan Towle, George W. Lane, H. B. Beede, Harry Carter, Gladys Carter (who served from 1935 to 1973), Barbara Donaldson, John and Connie Holman, and Richard and Joanne Eddinger. Miss Carter was also recording steward for the church from 1938 to 1986.

Replacing a small reed organ, a Tellers-Kent pipe organ was given in 1926 by Mrs. Mabel Blake in memory of her daughter, Laura Blake Cannon. An electronic organ was purchased in 1968. In 1986, an Emmons Howard pipe organ, built around 1900 and formerly used in a church in Lee, Massachusetts, was purchased. Donations and fund-raisers, under the direction of Sheryl Niswender, made possible the installation of the organ in the Hampton church. A recital featuring the refurbished organ was held as part of Hampton's 350th anniversary celebration in 1988.

The Ladies' Sewing Circle, formed in 1849, and the Women's Foreign Missionary Society, organized in 1885, eventually became United Methodist Women. The women of the church have worked tirelessly to support church, community, and mission projects with bean suppers, rummage sales, and the annual fair, beginning with the Ladies' Harvest Supper in 1912.

  --Marianne H. Jewell


G. H. Clark
William A. Prosser
David Webster Downs
John N. Bradford
Charles Monroe Tibbetts
Joseph Leander Felt
Herbert Francis Quimby
Wesley Jerome Wilkins
Charles Eugene Clough
Roscoc Sanderson
Roger Everett Thompson
Robert Storer Barker
William Magwood
Norman Jason Langmaid
Walter Raymond Pierce
Calvin Warburton
Jack Boozer
Harold B. Ieir
Richard H. L. Vanaman
Jack Boozer
Calvin J. Sutherlin
John M. Harnish (June15)
John G. Strain (August 1)
Norman T. Allers
Manning E. Van Nostrand III
Edward A. Milley
Franklin P. Frye
Herbert N. Lovemore (June 15)
Joseph B. Holliday
C. Edward Claus
Carroll C. Moore
Steven M. Notis
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