The Heart of Our Faith Community

Our Story

On November 27, 1966, Reverend Franklin Frye gathered approximately ten families for worship at the Wheeler Chapel in Merrimack, forming the Wesley Christian Fellowship. United by a shared vision of Christian unity and friendship, they sought an alternative to the conservative teachings prevalent elsewhere, which they found disheartening due to their “ultra-conservative faith and extreme literal interpretation of the Bible.” Reverend Charles Nowlen led the Fellowship initially, before Reverend C. Edward Claus was appointed as the first permanent pastor in June 1967.


Securing a 5.5-acre parcel of land and a farmhouse from the Smith Farm in spring 1967, the community established its foundations. The farmhouse served as the parsonage for eight years until a new one on Edgewood Avenue was acquired. On November 19, 1967, the church was chartered as St. James Methodist Church with 112 members, inspired by scripture and chosen by majority vote at the Annual Conference.


In May 1968, an opportunity arose with the availability of the Grenier Field Chapel and Educational Building in Manchester, New Hampshire. This historic site, with roots dating back over 25 years, held significance as a place of worship for many during World War II. Through the congregation’s dedication and a bid of $1,968, the building was acquired, relocated, and rebuilt, marking a pivotal moment in the church’s journey.


Under the guidance and leadership of our pastors, from Rev. Claus to Rev. Dr. David Kerr and Associate Pastor Rev. John Torosian, Sr., Rev. William R. Keeffe, Rev. Dr. Phil Polhemus and Associate Pastor Rev. Susan Hoffman, Rev. D.S. Dharmapalan, Rev. Ralph Bruce, Rev. Dr. Marguerite Gage, and Rev. Sharon Lovejoy, Rev. Lynne Menzter, and our current pastor, Rev. Annie Baker-Streevy, St. James has been and continues to be a vital part of the Christian community in Merrimack and the New England Methodist Conference. We owe all of this to a small group of courageous families who answered God’s call.

What We Believe

It Is St. James’ Mission to build Christian Community Within and Beyond the Church

We are a United Methodist Church that believes everyone is made in the image of God and is beloved by God. We follow Christ’s teachings and example to love God and our neighbors (which means everyone). We believe in the power of the Holy Spirit who is still moving among us and empowering us to love and serve.

Our Core Values


Everyone is welcomed in compassion, love, and grace.


To be the hands and feet of Christ in the world and our community as we humbly serve all.


We love one another as Christ loves us.


We use our resources (prayers, presence, gifts, service, witness) responsibly to practice faithful care of God’s creation and human need.


When we grow in our faith we find peace within giving us strength to go out and share God’s love.


Many members with different gifts, we are stronger together than alone. When we work as one for a common good we help make change.