Situated on a marginally raised plot at the intersection of Green and Chapel streets in Woodstock, the Saint James United Church is a notable Romanesque Revival style structure characterized by its red brick construction, sandstone ornamentation, twin grand stained glass windows, and distinctive square towers.
The Methodists established their roots in Woodstock around 1833, following the arrival of their first minister from England, Reverend Samuel Joll. The initial wooden church was erected during this year but tragically succumbed to fire in 1835. A replacement was promptly constructed, but by 1857 the congregation had outgrown it, prompting the building of a larger church. The construction began that year, with services commencing in the basement from 1859. The church was fully completed in 1869.
The fourth church for Woodstock’s Methodists, this red brick edifice with grey sandstone detailing, replaced the 1869 wood-framed church in 1907 and was officially dedicated in 1908. The red brick lends the building a unique ecclesiastical identity in Woodstock. It is likely that the red sandstone was sourced from the quarries near Mary’s Point, NB, the closest location known for quality red and grey sandstone.
There have been three significant transformations since 1907. The first was the Church Union in Canada, which resulted in a change of name from Woodstock Methodist to Saint James United. In 1956, the introduction of a balcony expanded the seating capacity from 450 to 700. Then, in 1957, the Christian Education Centre was added to cater to the needs of the younger members of the congregation.
The interior of the church is decorated with several large stained glass windows, including a prominent rose window on the front elevation, all dedicated to former ministers or members of the congregation. The choir area houses a pipe organ, though its maker and origin date remain unknown. It is a modest organ with only ten pipes visible.
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