The History of St. James Episcopal Church
On May 13, 1859, the parish of St. James church was organized. Four years later, on May 14, 1863, ground was broken at the present site. The first service was held in the church on August 21, 1864. The founders named the church for James the Greater, one of Jesus` first disciples and the first of the apostles to be martyred.
The Bell tower and steeple were added in 1869. At that time, a steeple bell was given to the church by Mrs. Henshaw Ward. It hangs there still and is rung weekly. The Parish House (attached to the rear of the church) was the gift of Miss Julia Hall in 1899 with the dual purpose of serving the parish and as a community kindergarten. The cornerstone of the Parish House contains a box with information pertaining to St. James in 1899, i.e., Vestry, Wardens, a list of parishioners, etc.
Almost exactly a hundred years after the founding, the church was renovated and a new organ, donated by the Farina family, was installed. In 1971 a needlepoint kneeler project began and continued for the next 12 years. Clerestory windows, created by a parishioner, a new altar and a hand-carved canopy completed the changes to the granite-faced wall which make the sanctuary we worship in today.
In 1965 we mourned the death of Jonathan Daniels, a St. James divinity student who died serving the civil rights movement in Alabama. A memorial to Jonathan was dedicated in August, 2009.
Today, our congregation consists of more than 200 families-over 400 individuals-seeking to live out their commitment to education, liturgy, and social action. Learn more about the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire.
An Act of Courage, An Act of Faith, An Act of Sacrifice
These words describe the faithful witness of Jonathan Myrick Daniels, Keene native, Episcopal seminarian, and civil rights worker, who was murdered on August 20, 1965 in Hayneville, Alabama while protecting a young black woman named Ruby Sales. + Read More