Exeter United Church, James Street Entrance EXETER


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Introduction to Exeter United Church

We are a congregation of members from the town of Exeter and surrounding rural area.   Our church services are based on the liturgy of the United Church of Canada and commonly follow the lectionary of the parent church.   Our minister, Rev. Harry Disher supplies our formal spiritual guidance that is supplemented by lay members and Designated Lay Minister June Hawtin who assist in special occasions.   The Sunday School that is held during the morning church service serves the younger children of the congregation.

Programs of Exeter United Church


Smorgasbord in May
Pre-Marriage Weekend in May
Friendship Tea for shut-ins in June
Worship Service in the Park in June
Congregational Dinner in October
Christmas Bazaar in November
Family Advent Event in late November
Outreach Chili Luncheon in late November
Christmas Cantata/Pageant in December

History of the Exeter United Church

The history of Exeter United Church is really the story of several congregations who have banded together over the years. In 1863, the Devonshire Circuit of Methodists met in a frame house one block west of the river bridge. As this congregation enlarged, the Main Street Weslyan Methodist Church was formed in 1869. A church was built on the corner of Main and Victoria Streets. On Sunday, March 24, 1895 the building was demolished by a fire. The windows had been opened for the Sunday Service and several gallons of coal oil that had been brought in from the shed for the lamps helped to make a fierce blaze. The majority of the families drew together and worked to rebuild on the same site. Immediately bees were organized and the mortar cleaned off the old bricks by young and old alike. The new building was named Main Street Methodist Church.

James Street had its early beginning in the home of James Pickard. It was known as the Bible Christian Church and in 1856 the first church building was erected where the Barber Shop and Real Estate office now stands on Main St. In 1862 a larger church was built on our present location and became known as James Street Church. High over the main entrance to the church is a stone in which has been carved B.C. Church, 1862. The Bible Christians were a sect that originated in Devonshire, England and were the same revival which produced Methodism and were similar to it in every way. It came to Exeter with the English settlers from Devon. A union of Bible Christians and Methodists in 1884 brought about a change of name to James Street Methodist Church.

The two congregations, Main Street and James Street continued to grow not because the village of Exeter was growing but because the small Bible Christian churches in Usborne, Stanley and Hay were amalgamating. The churches had originally been built so that no man would have to walk more than three miles to church. But the roads had improved considerably so the congregations came to Exeter.

In 1925 another union took place when the Congregational, Methodist, and part of the Presbyterian Churches merged to form the United Church of Canada. With the forming of the United Church in 1925, more families were brought together to form the Main Street United Church and James Street United Church.

In 1969 the two congregations joined under one roof to become the Exeter United Church. Main Street Church was sold to the Pentecostal congregation and the new United Church took over the James Street building. The first minister was Rev. Glen Wright.

May we celebrate the knowledge that we have accomplished something our predecessors were unable to do in 1884 or in 1910. Their attempts at union proved futile but we have brought together two fine churches to make one great church. As we look forward to the future, may we cherish our memories of the past.

1969-1978 Rev. Glen Wright 1992-2001 Rev. Cordell Parsons
1978-1984 Rev. James Forsythe 2001-2002 Rev. Robert McMullen
1985-1991 Rev. Rick Hawley 2002-2013 Rev. Paul Ross
1986-1992 Bev Robinson 2002-2005 Nancy Corrigan
1991-1994 Rev. John Hilborn 2005-2007 Wendy Noble
2007 - present June Hawtin, DLM 2013 - present Rev Harry Disher


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revised 2014 jan 15