United Methodist Church of the Hamptons

From the 75th Anniversary edition

Hampton Union

July 23, 1975

United Methodist Church of the Hamptons

Established 1835

Methodism was brought to America from England during the 1760’s before the American Revolution. It was introduced into Hampton in 1835 by the Rev. James M. Fuller, a Methodist preacher stationed at Lamprey River, Newmarket. Sometime in December of that year, he came to Hampton and preached one Saturday evening in the "North School House." On Sunday he preached in the "Old Meeting House" which was unoccupied at the time.

The Rev. Mr. Fuller was followed two weeks later by the Rev. James. H. Patterson of Newfield, Newmarket. There was, no further Methodist preaching in Hampton until July 1836 when the Rev. Mr. Fuller came again and spoke to the people about "the way of life and salvation."

From July until November there was regular preaching once every two weeks by "local preachers." In November of 1836 the friends of Methodism held a "protracted meeting" which resulted in a number of conversions. The formation of a "class" of nearly 20 members at this time may be called the beginning of the Methodist Church in Hampton.

During these months the Methodist Society held services in the "Old Meeting House" which had formerly been occupied by the Christian Society, but which was now owned by Messrs. Eben Fogg and Jonathan Lamprey of North Hampton. In the spring of 1837, the meeting house was given to the Methodists for as long as they occupied it as a place of worship. After due repairs, it was dedicated to the worship of God on May 22. The Rev. Mr. Fuller preached a sermon from Psalms 93:5: "Holiness becometh thine House, 0 Lord, forever."

At the session of the New Hampshire Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, held at Great Falls, July 4, 1837, Hampton was joined with the Seabrook station and received its first regularly appointed ministerial supply. The Rev. E . D Trickey and the Rev. John Brodhead were both stationed on the circuit, but the Rev. Mr. Brodhead served almost entirely in Hampton from the Conference appointment until he died at his home in South Newmarket, April 7, 1838. He may be said to be the first Methodist preacher stationed in Hampton.

In 1838 Hampton and Greenland were joined in a circuit and the Rev. Mr. Trickey and the Rev. William Padman were appointed, with the Rev. Mr. Padman serving most of the time in Hampton. During the year there was a revival of religious interest and a number of new members gained.

In 1839 Hampton and Rye were joined and the Rev. S.A. Cushing was appointed to the circuit. The Rev. A.M. Osgood was appointed by the Presiding Elder to assist and they served alternately in each place from week to week until January, 1840, when the Rev. Mr. Cushing was released from the circuit and the Rev. Mr. Osgood finished out the year at Hampton. Since 1840, Hampton has been an independent station.

In 1846, during the pastorate of the Rev. C.H. Chase, the society secured a parsonage for its preachers by buying a house standing on the line of the Eastern Railroad, then being built, and moving it to a location on the Portsmouth road, now Lafayette Road.

In 1848, when the Rev. Henry Nutter was pastor, a building lot was secured at the corner of Ann’s Lane and the Portsmouth road and a church erected. It was dedicated in November of that year, the Rev. Benjamin Hoyt preaching the sermon from Hebrews 13:16: "But to do good and to communicate forget not; for with such sacrifice God is well pleased."

This church cost $1,200 and served as a place of worship until the fall of 1881 when it was moved to its present location nearer the village on the Portsmouth road. It was remodeled and repaired at a cost of $3,100. On January 5, 1882, the Rev. Bradford K. Peirce of Boston preached the rededication sermon from Luke 2:7: "Because there was no room for them in the inn."

In 1926 a kitchen and two classrooms were added and a new pipe organ installed.

The Methodist Sunday School commenced in May 1837, when at the close of the dedication sermon, the Rev. 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 the Rev. Norman T. Allers, 1954-1961, membership of the church increased and the rapid growth of the Sunday School required two sessions. In January, 1957, a planning committee was constituted with Elton Smith as chairman.

Wayne Elliot headed the building committee which was established in January, 1958. Other members were: Mrs. Grace Burnham, Gladys Carter, Harry Carter, Philip Walker, Richard Worth and the Rev. Norman Allers. The building fund Program of Progress was successfully conducted in July and August.

On September 7, 1958, Irving Marston, oldest living member of the church turned the first shovel full of earth in a ground breaking ceremony at which District Superintendent Rev. Norman Barrett was the guest speaker.

The $44,000 church expansion was completed under the supervision of Harry Carter. The two new wings of the expansion 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. This could not have been completed without much donated work by the various contractors, the volunteer labor of many people and the faith and dedication of all those involved.

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. Gov. Charles M. Dale and Rep. Chester E. Merrow were present. The Rev. Richard H.L. Vanaman, Pastor, conducted the service assisted by the clergy of other Hampton churches. Bishop Lewis 0. Hartman of Boston, guest preacher, spoke on "The Gospel of Work.

William I. Elliot was chairman of the anniversary committee. On Sunday morning there was a broadcast over WHEB with Mr. Elliot as announcer. The male chorus of Hampton Academy and High School sang under the direction of Mrs. Esther Coombs.

On the previous Saturday night there was a gala anniversary supper with the Woman’s Society of Christian Service and Wesleyan Service Guild in charge. The District Superintendent, the Rev. Ray H. Cowen, extended greetings.

There was also a memorial service for members and former pastors who had died.

The 135th New Hampshire Annual Conference of the Methodist Church was held at Hampton May 20-24, 1964, with Bishop James K. Matthews presiding. Many noted clergymen of Methodism were present along with over 100 ministers and delegates from New Hampshire.

In preparation the sanctuary was refurbished by the men of the church who volunteered their efforts. Under the direction of Ruth Stone and Marguerite Fiske, committees were organized to serve four suppers during the four nights of Conference, two coffee hours each day, provide breakfast for some and housing. The planning, many donations, and hard work is an example of the traditional voluntary efforts of a dedicated people down through the history of Methodism in Hampton.

No church history would be complete without a tribute to the Sunday School superintendents and teachers who faithfully serve each week to provide religious education to the children, youth and adults; the ministry of music; and the women who work tirelessly to support the church and community projects. Bean suppers, fairs and rummage sales have provided funds for many needs as they arose.

The United Methodist Church of the Hamptons is not only a meetinghouse but a dynamic Christian fellowship which has grown tremendously under the leadership of the current pastor, the Rev. Herbert N. Lovemore.

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